‘James Bond’: A Shirtless Daniel Craig Gets Candid on Wanting to Quit After ‘Spectre’

     March 9, 2020

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Nearly five years ago, James Bond himself Daniel Craig was making the publicity rounds for Spectre, but journalists and fans alike were already wondering if he would be returning to the role for a future film. His response was, shall we say, colorful:

Now? I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists. No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.

Clearly that comment didn’t stick because not only is Craig still with us but he’s back as Bond for his final (?) go at the role in No Time to Die. But just as Bond 25 has been delayed more than six months by a viral pandemic sweeping the globe, the history of Bond filmmaking has never been an easy one. And that’s part of the reason Craig almost quit the part for good five years back.

In a long-ranging chat with GQ (which also features plenty of spreads of a nearly nude Craig, if you’re into that sort of thing), Craig talked about his Hollywood career before, during, and after Bond. There’s a lot there to enjoy for Bond fans and Craig fans alike. However, in this candid chat, Craig also talked about his much-publicized decision, temporary though it was, to step away from Bond after Spectre and why he wanted to separate himself from the role. Those highlights from the conversation follow below:

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Image via MGM and EON

Craig, who has been at the Bond business for 15 years now, has felt the physical toll of the films and the years between them:

“You get tighter and tighter. And then you just don’t bounce.”

During Quantum of Solace, Craig injured his arm not once but twice:

“I was just nervous and overcooked it. At that point, my arm was kind of useless.”

Then on Skyfall, he injured his calves, necessitating therapy during the shoot:

“It’s not about recovery, because you know you can recover. It’s about psychologically thinking that you’re going to do it again.”

Spectre may have pushed things a bit too far. Craig injured his ACL in a train-top battle against Dave Bautista:

 “I was like, ‘Dave, throw me, for Christ’s sake.…’ Because he was being light with me. So he threw me, and God bless him, he just left my knee over there.”

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Image via EON/MGM/Sony

That injury resulted in Craig wearing a bulky knee brace, even during what would have been his final scenes as Bond:

“That was a drag. There was smoke, and it was like, ‘Bye. See you.… I’m checking out.’ ”

It’s no wonder Craig’s first reaction to immediately being asked if he’d be back for more Bond was to go hyperbolic with his response. But in the chaos that ensues between filming a Bond movie and promoting one, he was also voicing his own particularly brusque bit of truth:

“I was never going to do one again. I was like, ‘Is this work really genuinely worth this, to go through this, this whole thing?’ And I didn’t feel… I felt physically really low. So the prospect of doing another movie was just like, it was off the cards. And that’s why it has been five years.”

That hiatus, between Spectre and No Time to Die, has been the second-longest between Bond movies. And quite a bit has happened in that time. Danny Boyle stepped away from the director’s chair, citing creative differences, with Cary Fukunaga coming on board just three months before production was scheduled to start. Then Craig dealt with another injury; his ankle this time. Follow that with two release date delays and a Pinewood Studios explosion that injured a crew member, and it’s no wonder the locals started to call the picture “cursed”:

“It pisses me off, because I’m just like, ‘Don’t curse our movie.’ And also, we’re doing our best here.”

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Image via MGM/EON

Craig also reflected on the behind-the-scenes drama of not just No Time to Die, but all the Bond films he’s made:

“It feels like, ‘How the fuck are we going to do this?’ And somehow you do.”

But he did, they did, and when the film eventually arrives this fall, we’ll know just how Craig’s final performance as Bond will shape his legacy:

“This is my last movie. I’ve kept my mouth shut before and I’ve stayed out of it and I’ve respected it and I’ve regretted that I did … I’m really…I’m okay. I don’t think I would have been if I’d done the last film and that had been it. But this, I’m like… Let’s go. Let’s get on with it. I’m fine.”

As for the future for Craig after Bond–which may include a continuation of his crowd-pleasing Knives Out character–he’s up for whatever’s next:

“I’m pretty sure I can play just about anything. Yeah. I’m pretty sure I can, or at least I can make a fucking good fist of it.”

No Time to Die opens November 25, 2020.

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