The role of James Bond is an iconic one, occupied by a handful of men over the last the last half-century. Each actor has brought something personal to the role, from Sean Connery’s rugged gentleman appeal, to Pierce Brosnan’s smooth and suave approach. What Daniel Craig has given us during his run though is something entirely different: honesty. There’s this unspoken rule among fans and the film industry that says Bond is a man to be admired and emulated, and for the entirety of 007’s existence, we’ve all bought into that. Craig on the other hand has turned this on its head.
The British actor’s disdain for the role has been well-documented, noting, “I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists” than return for another film after Spectre. Given the fact that most actors speak highly of their characters in the promotion cycle, it’s a candidness and honesty that’s decidedly refreshing. This was compounded even further in an interview with The Red Bulletin, in which Craig took the fandom to task for idolizing James Bond.
THE RED BULLETIN: What could we learn from James Bond that would help us in our day-to-day lives?
DANIEL CRAIG: [Thinks for a short while.] Nothing.
After further prompting, Craig goes on to caution us against reading to much into the 007 narrative, telling us to “not talk these films up as some kind of life-changing experience.” At first glance, it seems odd that a film’s lead actor would talk his own movie down to this extent. But then he continues to expound on his reasoning, and it’s hard to disagree with him in the end. In perhaps the most enlightening point in the whole interview, Craig correctly points out the elephant in the room: 007’s latent misogyny.
“Let’s not forget that he’s actually a misogynist,” Craig aptly points out. It wasn’t long before the interviewer revealed the groupthink that’s pulled the wool over our eyes for years in this regard, asking the actor about Bond “succumbing to the charms of an older woman” in Spectre. The fact of the matter is that Craig is 47, and the “older woman” referred to here is 51-year-old Monica Bellucci. A four-year age difference is hardly enough to qualify as an unlikely pairing, and Craig was quick to shut down any preconceptions: “I think you mean the charms of a woman his own age.”
The headline a lot of people are taking from this interview is something along the lines of “Daniel Craig thinks Bond is a sexist!” It’s certainly not an incorrect angle to take, and it’s the easiest story to tell here. More than this though, the real story is that for first time in Hollywood history, an actor is speaking honestly about James Bond. 007 is painted as a man’s man to be idolized and honored, and Craig is telling us a harsh truth: that we’ve been wrong about Bond for years now.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t see Spectre, or even that you’re a bad person for enjoying Bond movies. The point here is more that we should see 007 for what he is, and have no illusions about what he isn’t. A realistic look at the character is one that provides us with a rare moment of honesty in an industry that lacks in that department. And while we’ll be sad to see Craig inevitably leave the role, his time as James Bond was a valuable exercise for us all.
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