There is something about being in the presence of James Bond. Maybe it’s because we all grew up watching the character. Or maybe it’s because we wish we could be him—bedding beautiful women and killing bad guys with ease and style. And although we all know Daniel Craig is not really James Bond, when he walks into a room filled with reporters from around the world to answer questions about Skyfall, the atmosphere changes. It’s like everyone just had a few cups of coffee and they’re wide awake and ready to ask a lot of questions. Trust me: not every actor gets that kind of response from entertainment journalists.
On Sunday afternoon, in Istanbul, Turkey, I got to participate in a roundtable interview with Daniel Craig and producer Barbara Broccoli. Since Craig had to get back to set to film part of an action sequence on Skyfall, we had limited time. However, even though Craig and Broccoli were guarded about giving away any of the twists and turns, they still talked about the strength of the script, the humor, how the upcoming teaser trailer only scratches the surface of what Skyfall is about, the stunts, invoking the wit of Ian Fleming, Easter eggs, if Bond 24 is really coming in 2014, and a lot more. Hit the jump to listen or read the interview.
As usual, I’m offering you two ways to get this interview: you can either click here for the audio, or the full transcript is below. Skyfall opens October 26 in the UK and November 9 in the US.
Daniel Craig: The teaser’s just that, a teaser. It represents a very, very small part of the movie. I mean you know the score, when you’re making a teaser you want to show part of the movie and leave a lot to be desired, and I personally think we have. I think what the teaser’s done incredibly well is show that there’s an awful lot of content in the movie, but [the footage shown in the teaser] is nothing.
Barbara Broccoli: It’s a lot of fun, too. A lot of fun.
Given that this is the James Bond anniversary, and because you’re shooting the film in Istanbul where two Bond films have been done before—From Russia With Love and The World Is Not Enough—I was wondering whether any part of it’s an homage to the past Bond movies?
Craig: It’s not directly that, but certainly there were conversations with all of us, especially with Sam [Mendes]. Sam felt very strongly that, by making the best Bond movie we can, we’re gonna look back a little. You kind of have to do that. But this has an individual look to it, something that I don’t think you’ve seen in any other Bond movie.
Craig: I think so, yes.
Broccoli: It feels like we’re making a very classic Bond, and it’s great to be back here in Istanbul. 49 years ago today, actually, they were shooting here. So it’s a wonderful way to celebrate it.
In Casino Royale you gave Bond a very different personality. Where will you take him now?
Craig: Go-go dancer.
Craig: It’s something I’ve not done myself before, and I thought it’s about time that I showed that part of myself to the world (laughs). Um, wait and see. I mean, really. I’m not going to say that we’ve done something incredibly different here; we’ve done something I think which has quality about it and, like I said, we’ve got a teaser that has a great story that we want to tell. But it is a kind of wait-and-see situation.
There has been some talk a bit about austerity and there was something about Bognor Regis—
Broccoli: Oh come on, we’re here in Istanbul!
Craig: No, let’s talk about Bognor Regis, please. There’s nothing wrong with Bognor Regis, by the way.
Well I was wondering where you sort of cut back and where you splashed out?
Broccoli: It’s all on the screen. All the money’s on the screen.
Craig: It’s all on the screen. There’s nothing tight about what we’ve done, it’s just that we’ve spent the money in the right places. We’re very fortunate to be able to make movies like this, I mean not a lot of people get the chance to do it. We want to give an audience as much value for money as we possibly can, and that’s been sort of the key here for all of us.
Sam Mendes has said he would have advised you against taking the Bond role back in the day.
Craig: He regrets saying that (laughs).
Broccoli: How the worm has turned.
Craig: Well not even that, it’s just as soon as he said it in the interview, I said, “You really wanna get involved with this?” Sorry, please go on.
I was finished.
Craig: Oh that was it? He still does! He still regrets it (laughs).
Are you happy to work with him on this?
Craig: Very much, very much. It’s been a great relief for me to work with someone like Sam on a movie like this, because there’s an awful lot of pressures from the outside world on a movie like this, but we just crack on with making the best film we can. It’s a joy to do.
Can you talk a bit about the humor of the movie?
Craig: The humor’s not something that we’ve tried to do, it’s just that we’ve got a great script. Humor comes out, I think, more of situation than it does out of gag lines. We’ve got some very funny lines in the movie, but who knows how an audience may find them? I remember with Casino, one of the lines we didn’t think was particularly funny, the audience really got a hold of. So I’m just excited about showing it to an audience and showing the dialogue we have and the situations we have, and to see how they react to it. I think there’s some very funny moments. I have a very dark humor though.
Broccoli: Well so did Fleming. It’s very Fleming-y. It has the wit of Ian Fleming. The acerbic wit.
Could you do slapstick stuff?
Broccoli: Not slapstick, no. But Bond isn’t slapstick.
No I was just asking, would you be the kind of guy that could do stuff like that?
Craig: Me? No.
One of the things I’ve loved about the Bond movies as opposed to other Hollywood action movies is that it’s all about style. Is there a specific stunt from Skyfall that you’re looking forward to realize?
Craig: Yes. There’s a lot, there’s a ton of stuff that we’ve done and style has been the key. Not only just how stunts are created and how they’re designed—we have Gary Powell again, who’s designing the stunts and Alexander Wit who’s shooting second-unit on this, who’s an incredibly skilled director but has a real eye for what’s exciting—but style has been really a key through design; production design, costume design, some of the casting.
Broccoli: Oh absolutely, and Roger Deakins who’s the greatest [director of photography] ever.
Does it feel different than the last two films?
Craig: Yeah, definitely.
In what way?
Craig: In every way, really. We’ve got a different team together; some old faces are still here. Again, talking about how it’s such a rare thing to make movies like this, and to be given the chance you have to give it all you’ve got. Now I’m at the stage where all I want to do is start showing this to an audience to get that reaction, to see how they react to it. I think it’s quite special, what we’ve got. Here’s hoping, who knows?
Craig: Did I? Take it back! (laughs) I’m still learning.
Are you in a comfort zone now?
Craig: No, not at all. I’d hate to feel in a comfort zone while I was working. That’s not the way I like to do things. You want to be pressurized and you want to be challenged every day, and we are for sure on this movie challenged every day with something. It’s just a relief for us, we’ve been filming at Pinewood in sort of fairly dark locations for the past however long it’s been, so it’s great to come to Turkey and film in some amazing, beautiful locations. It feels like an old fashioned Bond movie.
Last week Rory, the president of distribution of Sony, announced Bond 24 for I guess late 2014…
Broccoli: He was getting a little overexcited (laughs). We’re just actually focusing on this movie. One hopes that in the future we’ll be announcing other films, but no one’s officially announced it.
A lot of people enjoy little Easter eggs, are you guys already thinking about planting seeds of things?
Craig: As in chocolate Easter eggs?
Craig: What is an Easter egg? Explain to me what an Easter egg is.
Broccoli: You mean little things in this movie, or in the future?
Yeah, like connective tissue.
Broccoli: Homages and things like that. Well I think being here in Istanbul is reminiscent, it echoes From Russia With Love.
There’s been a lot of talk about how this has personal stakes for Bond. What does that require from you in your performance that maybe makes it more personal than the previous things we’ve seen?
Craig: I don’t think personally, it’s about the character and how he lives the experience. Again, just harkening back to the script, through a lot of hard work I think we’ve kind of got together a script that has a really strong bed rock of a story and something for all the characters—of which there are a lot in this movie—to sort of experience. There are very personal stories in it and hopefully the audience will get affected by them and moved by them. It’s just a good acting job to do.
For more coverage from our set visit:
- 20 Things to Know About Skyfall From Our Istanbul, Turkey Set Visit; Plus Video Blog Recap
- Director Sam Mendes Talks Skyfall, How to Craft a Bond Film, the Franchise’s Similarity to Doctor Who, and More
- Berenice Marlohe Talks Skyfall, Playing a Femme Fatale/Bond Girl, How She Was Cast, and More
- Naomie Harris Talks Skyfall, Her Favorite Bond and Bond Girl, the Moneypenny Rumors and More