Daniel Craig Once Felt He’d Never Be as Good as Previous Actors Who Played James Bond

As far as James Bond goes, Daniel Craig is widely regarded as one of the best interpretations of the character. Of course opinions vary on the matter, and even Craig questioned if he was as good as his predecessors. But his uncertainty helped shape his performance.

Daniel Craig felt his James Bond had to be less polished and more ruthless than previous versions

Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Craig wanted the modern MI6 agent to stand out from previous versions. In Casino Royale, Bond was just beginning his career as 007, and Craig wanted to reflect that inexperience with his character.

“For that movie my feeling was he should look like the man who had yet to make his first kill. I wanted to play around with the flaws in his character. It was much more interesting than having him be perfect and polished and so suave as to be flawless. I got most of my inspiration from Ian Fleming’s books. I reread them,” Craig once said in an interview with Playboy.

He felt this created an important distinction between his Bond’s and, for instance, a Bond like the one Sean Connery played.

“In the books Bond is suave and sophisticated, yesSean Connery really nailed itbut there’s also a flawed aspect of Bond. In the novels he is quite a depressive character. When he’s not working, he’s at his worst,” he said.

Daniel Craig once felt his work as James Bond was affected by feeling he’d never be as good as prior James Bonds

Over the years, Craig succeeded in making a memorable James Bond that’s left a lasting impression. Some have even ranked him at the top when comparing Craig’s Bond to his predecessors. When he first donned the suit in the beginning, however, many were willing to write off the Knives Out star. A sentiment that really got to him temporarily.

“I got pissed off for 24 hours. We were away from home in the Bahamas, and I hadn’t read the newspapers. I got wind that the press was negative and did that stupid thing of going online and reading it all. I’d prepared myself for the worst because I knew the risk in doing a movie as large as Bond; there was always going to be a backlash. I had to be ready for it, but it smarted for a minute,” he said.

After Casino Royale’s performance, however, reviews and box-office accomplishments showed he might have both matched and surpassed expectations. Even after his success, however, Craig still had lingering reservations about being as good as prior James Bonds. The occasional self-doubt would influence his performance in a good way.

“I’ve always felt that I could never be as good as the guys who’ve gone before, or even like them in any way, shape or form, so I have to kind of try to create something,” he once said in an interview with The Aquarian. “I always had a grand plan that if I ever had the chance to make a few of these that something would emerge, and I’m really sort of pleased with how things have worked out because it gave us an opportunity to get into Bond’s head a little bit.”

Pierce Brosnan helped convince Daniel Craig to be the new James Bond

One of his predecessors in Pierce Brosnan actually played a brief part in convincing Craig to take the role. Before officially signing on to be the next Bond, Craig had concerns about what this meant for his future.

“I made pro and con lists. Every time the pros outdid the cons,” Craig once opened up to The Guardian. “The cons were like: you’re going to get typecast. Which is a high-class problem to have.”

Craig was also concerned being Bond might prevent him from doing other movies. He even turned to some of his peers for help. Steven Spielberg, who he worked with on Munich, told him to do the film if the script was right. Brosnan had similar advice.

“He said, ‘Go for it. It’s a ride,'” Craig remembered Brosnan telling him.

Craig eventually decided the pros outweighed the cons and went on to inhabit James Bond for 15 years. The length of time Craig spent in the role is the longest an actor has played James Bond to date.

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