Daniel Craig Reveals He Suggested James Bond’s Death After His First Performance as Secret Agent in 2006’s Casino Royale

Daniel Craig Reveals He Suggested James Bond’s Death After His First Performance as Secret Agent in 2006’s Casino Royale

Daniel Craig knew within days of the release of his first film in the James Bond franchise, 2006’s Casino Royale, that he wanted his iteration of the famous secret agent to die. The Golden Globe-nominated actor shared the news during a recent interview with Sunday Times Culture magazine.

Craig’s debut as Bond in Casino Royale served as a reinvention of the long-running franchise. However, he hadn’t expected his tenure to last more than one movie.

But after the film received a universally positive reception, the actor asked series producer Barbara Broccoli to create a long-term plan for his iteration of the character.

During his interview with Sunday Times Culture, Craig said: “I was driving away from the Berlin premiere of Casino Royale with Barbara Broccoli. I had genuinely thought I would do one Bond movie, then it would be over. But by then we knew we had a hit on our hands.

“I realized the enormity of it, so I said to Barbara, ‘How many more? Three? Four?’ She said, ‘Four!’ I said, ‘OK. Then can I kill him off?’ She said, ‘Yes,'” the actor added.

Despite his initial agreement with the producer, Craig returned for a fifth installment in the franchise, No Time to Die, which was released last year after an 18-month-long delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the extra sequel, planning for Bond’s death had to be kept secret for an even longer time than the duo initially agreed on.

The actor said while playing Bond in No Time to Die: “This is it. I don’t want to do any more. If we kill Bond, we can begin again. I think Barbara thought that too.”

While Craig knew he didn’t initially intend on reprising the role for a sixth movie, he still wanted to give the spy a noble death. So he asked Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who worked as one of the writers on the drama’s screenplay, to create an ending that showed Bond’s humanity.

But the studio executives weren’t happy with the actor’s suggestion of killing off such an iconic character. “The studio, MGM, were, like, ‘What are you talking about? Are you out of your minds?’ There was reluctance. So we had to do it in secret, really,” he shared.

The follow-up ended with Bond being killed in an explosion after he decided to stay on an island after he was deliberately infected by a biological weapon. If he stayed alive, he could never again touch his lover, Dr. Madeleine Swann, who was played by Lea Seydoux, or their daughter.

Of the decision to kill Bond during No Time to Die, Craig said: “Real tragedy is when you have absolutely no choice. We had to find a way to make his death no choice.

“It was the happiest Bond had ever been because he’d found exactly what he was looking for. Like everyone on Earth, he was just looking for love,” the actor added.

Craig had previously addressed the outdated plotlines of previous films in the series, including the idea of glamorous disposable so-called Bond girls.

The actor said: “Certainly a lot of what went on in the earlier movies is sort of questionable now… different times, but we didn’t want to lose the essence [in the new film]. It’s still a Bond movie.

“I’ve been given free range to put my influence on it, but I’ve never forgotten that. We can have all key elements and things people have loved over the years, but you adapt,” Craig continued.

“One of my biggest things is all the characters, especially the women, have to be brilliant and believable,” the actor added.

While Craig was certain that he wanted to leave the James Bond franchise after last year’s follow-up, he was also overcome with emotion when he shot his final scene as the iconic character.

“Everybody turned up – all the heads of department came down, and I thought, Oh God, I have to make a speech, this is my worst nightmare. It all just came out, I tried to keep it together,” the actor recalled.

“All of those people I go to work with every day, particularly on this movie, the collective effort was so huge and meant so much to me that everyone put that hard work in – that’s what I’ll miss so much,” Craig added.

While MGM hasn’t yet decided when and how the Bond series will be rebooted, Craig — who’s currently starring in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery seems happy with his ability to revive the 60-year-old series.

“I came in guns blazing and everyone got angry,” the actor says of his controversial casting, which he admitted being bothered by in an interview with Yahoo Entertainment last year. “I’m hardly the tall, dark stranger Fleming wrote, but I thought, We have to make it new. We can’t just go, ‘Here, audience, here’s the same old stuff we always did.’

“I know that sounds massively arrogant,” Craig continued. “But it was a creative disruption. I felt Bond was big and tough enough to take just about anything. If I’d ended up doing more [Bond], I really would have pushed it.

“But Bond can take it! It is not fragile. It’s robust. Sean Connery personified that character in a way that will never go away, so I thought, ‘What do I do to it?,'” the actor added.

Check out more of Karen Benardello’s articles.

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