The M Interview: Daniel Craig 'in a very good place' with Spectre
English actor Daniel Craig recently said he would not do another Bond movie, but at the press junket for latest 007 film Spectre, he appeared grateful for the role that shot him to fame
There was stormy weather outside, with the threat of a hurricane.
But inside the ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Cancun in June, the international press was gathered for a Skype press conference with Daniel Craig and English director Sam Mendes to chat about their new 007 movie Spectre.
Back then, there wasn't a hint of turbulence coming from the 47-year-old English actor, though his notorious grouchiness has been revealing itself in interviews leading up to the release of Spectre, which opens here on Nov 5.
Craig infamously told TimeOut London this month that he'd "rather break this glass and slash (his) wrists" than do another Bond movie.
"No, not at the moment. Not at all. I'm over it at the moment. We're done," he had stressed. "All I want to do is move on."
But four months ago, Craig was singing a different, happier, more grateful tune - because he wasn't done with 007 just yet.
It was day 113 of shooting and the set that Craig and Mendes were sitting on at Pinewood Studios in London was from 2012's Skyfall, which 50-year-old Mendes also helmed, now redesigned to complete some scenes that were already shot.
Actor Daniel Craig and director Sam Mendes. PHOTO: REUTERS/STEFAN WERMUTH
Craig, naturally taciturn if not press-shy, let Mendes take the lead. It was clear the two men have rapport and seem like friends. That could also explain why Craig was in a good mood...
What life is like for Craig since Bond
Craig: I really genuinely try not to think about it at all just so I can live as normal a life as possible. I try to go to the shop to buy a pint of milk without looking over my shoulder because otherwise, life would be terrible.
It's been extraordinary. It's taken me to the most incredible places that I never would have gone to and (I've) worked with brilliant people.
When I started shooting these movies, it was a huge eye-opener for me. I'd never been involved with anything like this. I'm in a very good place. I'm working with a friend (Mendes) who's come back and done this movie and that makes me very happy.
On using minimal special effects
Craig: We just have to be better than everybody else. There's a tradition in James Bond movies everybody knows - we try and do everything for real and where we can't, we're very sparing of CGI.
Mendes: The audience knows the difference between something that has the real physical weight and the slight weightlessness of CGI. And we've built on the Bond tradition of doing that.
The thing that's a potential trap with action sequences is that you go for bigger. You just go for new. You just go for different because you haven't seen it before. And the key to any action sequence is to be rooted in character and story as they're being told.
ON SET: Director Sam Mendes (R) with Monica Bellucci (L) in Rome. PHOTO: SONY PICTURES
On the Bond girls
Mendes: I feel there has always been a tradition of discovering Bond girls. We went a different route, slightly... because I felt that both roles needed actresses with power, experience, skill and sensitivity. We're incredibly fortunate that Monica (Bellucci) and Lea (Seydoux) pulled these roles off because they're not easy.
Why Mendes initially didn't want to direct Spectre after Skyfall
Mendes: I felt like I didn't have time to regenerate. I was working in the theatre... A lot of it had to do with taking the time to get my head into a place where I felt there was something else I could do with the franchise.
I think it's fair to say that this movie has been more difficult that the last movie and more fun for probably both of us. There were moments in prep when we (felt) like we were racing to get the movie together and I thought, this is crazy.
But like any big movie, it's a wave and when you're riding the wave, it is exhilarating. And when you get knocked down by it, it bloody hurts... The bigger the movie, the bigger the wave, the bigger the highs, and I hope, the bigger the excitement...when you see it.
BOND BY THE NUMBERS
Production budget for Spectre
Worldwide box-office grosses for Skyfall (2012)
Age of Monica Bellucci when she joined Spectre to play Lucia Sciarra, making her the oldest actress to be cast as a Bond girl
Value of cars destroyed in Spectre, including seven specially designed Aston Martin DB10 sports cars
Number of Bond films, including Spectre
Number of kills by Pierce Brosnan's 007, making him the Bond with the most kills in the film series
Units of alcohol James Bond has consumed so far in the Bond films - this includes 27 martinis