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Daniel Craig’s final James Bond film, No Time to Die, is set for release in October 2021. But there was a time that his role as 007 was in question. Here’s how Craig almost missed the movie role of a lifetime. 

Daniel Craig said he thought he wouldn’t like the script for ‘Casino Royale’ 

James Bond star Daniel Craig in a tux on a red carpet.
Daniel Craig | David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

In the Apple TV Plus documentary Being James Bond: The Daniel Craig Story, the blonde Bond admitted that he felt he wouldn’t like the script for Casino Royale

Pierce Brosnan had already exited the 007 role, having completed Die Another Day in 2002. As a result, the position was open. 

Per Cinemablend, by October of 2005, Daniel Craig was officially the next James Bond. That announcement came with its own set of problems — we’ll get to that later. Suffice it to say that before he gave in and took the role, Daniel Craig was unconvinced. 

“I suppose all of these are a little like hurdles, is what I was saying to myself,” Craig said in the documentary. “It’s all right. What’s going to happen is, I’m gonna get the script, I’m gonna read it, I’m gonna go, ‘No, thanks very much, it’s really not…,’ ‘cause it’s like… I mean, ultimately, that’s all the actor can really do is, be kind of like, you know, you read the script, and you go, ‘I don’t like the script. Sorry.’ Little did I know.” 

The James Bond actor marveled at ‘the scope’ of the movie

Craig finally got his hands on the screenplay, and his reaction surprised even himself. Where Craig said he thought he’d dislike the material and pass on it, he found himself lingering. Consequently, the franchise got a new James Bond. 

“The story was solid, the script was really solid,” Craig said in the documentary. “And it was just like, I didn’t imagine the scope of it. I didn’t imagine, like, the crane sequence, or all of those sequences. I had no idea about any of that. But I knew the story stuck together. You know, it just… it flew.” 

Ultimately, the movie saved itself for Craig with a great screenplay. Written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade with Paul Haggis, Casino Royale kicked off a 16-year Bond blitz for Daniel Craig. Leading up to No Time to Die, Craig starred in three other Bond films. 

Having cleared that hurdle, however, there was still trouble on the horizon. 

At first, people didn’t like Daniel Craig as James Bond 


‘James Bond’ Casting Director Recalls ‘Unbelievably Negative’ Reaction To Daniel Craig

The script convinced Craig that 007 would be suitable for his career. But that didn’t save him from the trouble ahead. Following the 2005 announcement, Craig endured a glut of negative pushback on his casting.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly ahead of No Time to Die, Bond casting director Debbie McWilliams recalled how the media responded to the news. 

“It was unbelievably negative, I have to say,” McWilliams told EW. “The press response was awful and I felt so sorry for him, but in a funny kind of a way I think it almost spurred him on to do his damndest to prove everybody wrong.” 

Daniel Craig did prove them wrong, and his decade and a half as 007 proves it. 

No Time to Die has a wide release on October 8, 2021. Being James Bond: The Daniel Craig Story is currently available on Apple TV Plus.