Now that we are at the 60th Anniversary of James Bond and Daniel has completed his portrayal of Bond, I wanted to write down my feelings about Daniel Craig’s tenure playing James Bond.
Like most people, I first saw Daniel had been selected as the new Bond when I saw the introduction PR announcement on the Thames in October 2005. I was sitting in an office with a new Client, and he mentioned a news slot he had on the screen over my left shoulder that he was watching as we waited for other team members to join us.
He said, ” Whoops, look at that, they have him in a life jacket; what a PR mistake. I explained to him that it was likely the military who had insisted; we talked and bonded about our mutual military experiences and made friends by discussing Bond, Spies and cars.
That was that, and I did not think of the Bond franchise because I tended to steer clear of it. I had worked in the so-called secret world for what was called a Joint Venture and always had to take care not to be broadcasting as some wannabe James Bond.
A while later, in late November 2006, I was on holiday in Ambleside in the Lake District with my wife; we planned to walk the hills and spend time in the friendly local pubs and restaurants. On Saturday, we drove into the holiday home drive, it started raining, and it rained none stop until we drove out a week later. Not a problem, we would switch to a week in the lovely local pubs and restaurants and have a foodie experience, except that Sophia found out she was pregnant. No more booze or even rich food.
The car park location in Ambleside meant that we had to walk past the local cinema to get into town. We were walking past one evening when the people who had been watching Casino Royale tumbled out. They all looked delighted, despite the torrential train. We made a joint mental note to check out the film to fill the time.
That’s how we came to be sitting in the small cinema with the ever-present rain beating down outside, watching the excellent trade mark MGM lion roar on the screen the next night. The film opened in black and white, suggesting going backwards in time. A fantastic scene in an office of someone being shot for selling secrets intermixed with a great fight in a toilet. Outstanding opening credits and awesome Chris Cornell song “You know my name”, and we were hooked.
Casino Royale is a beautiful, brilliant film with so much to like. The chase scene set in Madagascar, culminating in the embassy shootout, with Bond dressed in a casual “bone” shirt, which is something of a tradition for military nights out, set the tone. A super-talented cast sold the story as we were shown how Bond became the One we all know. Such a great film; we watched it twice that week, and it is one of my favourite films.
Back in London, I had to attend a series of work-related black tie Christmas dinners and made sure to pick up some Bond-like cufflinks and select a nice bow tie to go with the dinner jacket. Not quote Daniel but at least influenced by his look and on the way.
In 2008 Quantum of Solace, the follow-up film, came out, and I was probably the first in the queue to see it. Fantastic film, hampered by a writer’s strike, gives the dialogue in almost brutal short bursts. Probably Daniel at his most Fleming Bond-like, with just a great look. The opening car scene is incredible. Something said at the end of that scene, “time to get out”, and Daniel delivered the way it gave us a good think about my own vocal delivery. I realised I had got very London broker common in my speech patterns, and I needed to reclaim how I used to speak.
We had the long winter of four years where we had to make do with the Jason Bourne series until the wait was over in 2012, and Skyfall landed. Skyfall, a film that just about the whole world likes, introduced us to Moneypenny, a new Q and one of the most extraordinary villain introduction scenes ever shot. Simply brilliant.
Spectre followed in 2015, after a lot of will he, won’t he do another speculation, a fascinating film that appeared to seal off Daniel’s time as Bond. We got introduced to the stepbrother and a great cast, a mixture of old friends and newcomers such as Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, and Monica Bellucci. Really love this film; just brilliant.
That was that.
Then Bond 25 was announced, and after getting past a pandemic and waiting until 2021 -2022, we got No Time to Die finely. A super-looking film, with a soundtrack to match. I recommend watching the Sound of Bond documentary to see how the soundtrack came together. Han’s Zimmer is a genius. NTtD is a challenge for obvious reasons, but the more I watch it, the more I love it. A great way to naturally end a super run.
So now Daniel has finished and can move on to other projects, knives out is excellent; for instance, we can review his tenure. Right from the start in that opening scene set in Prague but really Canary Wharf, Daniel’s acting ability led the way, the interaction with cast members and the way he worked with all the teams was brilliant. He had the look and the often-overlooked movement down, nice touches being the walk and the way he throws things over his shoulder when he discards stuff like car keys at the Ocean Club. He looks like he could kill someone and seems to have been trained to do so. Great fight scenes, chases, cast interaction scenes and great voice. He also has that Connery ability to make bras pop open everywhere. Despite his reservations, Daniel teed up and knocked this role into outer orbit, much like Le Chiffre with a knotted rope.
My favourite Bond and set of films. A shout-out to the Producers, Writers, Directors and all the crews; brilliant work. Also, a shout-out to the team on Layer Cake; they knew!