Being cast as James Bond is a job that many actors only dream of, wistfully wondering what could be were they to become the face of one of the most successful film franchises of all time. The gig comes with a lot of perks to be sure, but like any high profile role there can be drawbacks to the fame: hounded by the press, type-casting, and so forth.
For his part, Daniel Craig has weathered his tenure as James Bond quite well, remaining cool and collected through success (Casino Royale, Skyfall) and failure (Quantum of Solace). His latest Bond film, Spectre, may be the most anticipated yet, but it also may be the film that's absolutely destroyed any enthusiasm Craig ever had for the character. To be honest, judging by the string of interviews Craig's given in the lead-up to Spectre's release, he straight up hates playing the quintessential British spy.
Already, Craig has delivered some unbelievably honest responses when grilled by press about returning for another Bond film (something he's contractually obligated to do - at least for now). When interviewed by Time Out earlier this month, Craig said he would rather "slash his wrists" than imagine doing another Bond film. Harsh.
To be fair, the question was posed in a way to suggest had he thought about it after having just finished work on Spectre, so it's understandable he may want to take a few months off before diving into the next film. But that outburst isn't an isolated incident. The more press Daniel Craig does for Spectre, the more he tells us how he really feels about James Bond.
Speaking with The Red Bulletin, Craig gave this exchange:
What could we learn from James Bond that would help us in our day-to-day lives?
[Thinks for a short while.]
*spit take* - Or how I imagine those from Sony whose job it is to promote Spectre likely reacted to that little quip.
By now, Sony's PR team must be losing their minds. All they want is to give Spectre its best chance at the box office (which based off the early reviews, it'll manage to triumph regardless), but their star isn't playing by the rules. Instead of placating the press with talk of how exciting it was working on Spectre or how much he's enjoying playing the iconic character, he's giving interviews like this:
Speaking of women, many men admire Bond for his way with the ladies …
But let’s not forget that he’s actually a misogynist. A lot of women are drawn to him chiefly because he embodies a certain kind of danger and never sticks around for too long.
Wow. Dropping the m-word, that's definitely not how many actors would openly describe their characters, and especially not one as popular as Bond. But criticizing Bond, the character and the franchise, for its blatant misogyny (and racism for that matter) isn't a new criticism. In fact it's something the series has grappled with throughout its more modern installments. And again, talking with The Red Bulletin, Craig comments on what Spectre is doing differently:
Bond has actually become a bit more chivalrous in the most recent films, hasn’t he?
That’s because we’ve surrounded him with very strong women who have no problem putting him in his place.
And this time you’ve gone one better, showing 007 succumbing to the charms of an older woman.
I think you mean the charms of a woman his own age. We’re talking about Monica Bellucci, for heaven’s sake. When someone like that wants to be a Bond girl, you just count yourself lucky!
Hollywood has made such a habit of pairing older actors with pretty, young actresses that the practice is so ingrained no one bats an eye when some 50-year-old man woos a 20 or 30-something woman. But cast an actress of a similar age to play opposite James Bond - that's progressive. And maybe it'll be those small signs of progress that will keep Craig around for another Bond film, just don't ask him about that yet. As of now, all Craig wants to focus on is going home, something he finds "more exciting than Bond at the moment."
In the meantime, we'll continue enjoying Craig's blunt responses and honest opinion of the character he's portraying. After all, perhaps it's been his awareness of Bond's true character that's made him such a great fit for today's James Bond.
Spectre opens in U.S. theaters on November 6th, 2015.