Bond is still in safe hands
Danny Boyle may have left, but Daniel Craig cares more about 007 than we give him credit for,
WHEN IT WAS announced in August, via a very carefully worded statement, that Danny Boyle had “decided to no longer direct Bond 25”, the immediate perception was that this was a bad thing for the future of the longest-running franchise in movie history. That with Boyle the risk-taker gone, it would be the same old Bond. Dependable and formulaic.
I’m not so sure that’s the case. As those “creative differences” (for all we know, Boyle might have been advocating a scene where Bond laser beams off his own testes while high on horse steroids) began to manifest themselves during the film’s pre-production, it’s possible producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were faced with a decision. They could have cast a different actor (insert Idris Elba here), and entrust Boyle to reboot a franchise that will need rebooting regardless. In a way, this would have been the easier option. But it looks likely they went the other way. The harder way.
Let’s make one thing clear: Daniel Craig doesn’t need to make Bond 25. And while there may be several million reasons why he came back for one last crack at the role, I don’t think he did this for the money. At a certain point, you’ve got enough. I think he’s coming back because he’s haunted by a spectre. Namely, Spectre. There’s a perception — there’s that word again — that Craig doesn’t have a lot of affection for Bond. After all, he’s the guy who once glibly said that he’d “rather slash my wrists” than pick up a Walther PPK again.
But Craig is passionate about Bond. The character, and the franchise. He’s not the first Bond to wield power behind the scenes, but there’s a reason why he is the first to bag a producing credit on these movies. He’s intensely, deeply involved in shaping the story of these movies. Which is why I think he’s determined to atone for Spectre. Sam Mendes’ movie is still liked by many, and for me has a cracking first hour before falling off a cliff, but over time its reputation has faded. It felt bloated, misguided, overly dour. It did well at the box office (second only to Skyfall in the series’ history), but is largely seen now as a step back. And it takes Craig’s success ratio in the role to 50 per cent. Two crackers — Casino Royale and Skyfall — and two slackers, in Quantum Of Solace and the 24th Bond.
So I believe Craig wants to have one more bite at the cherry. He wants to tip the scales in favour of the crackers, so whenever people discuss their favourite Bond actors years from now, they don’t wrinkle their noses when his name comes up. “Yeah, Casino Royale was good, but…” He wants to go out on an all-time high.
It’s a gamble. Get this film wrong, and history won’t be kind to Craig’s Bond. Get it right, and he’ll be forever mentioned in the same breath as Connery. No pressure.
Above: Daniel Craig as 007, a role he wants to continue. For now. Below: Danny Boyle is no longer directing Bond 25.