Quantum of Solace does not have Daniel Craig coming out of the ocean like a male Ursula Andress, rippling muscles and six pack abs glistening in the sun. That was a one-time only shot for Casino Royale. This time, he bares his chest after a series of brutal fights, with purple bruises blemishing his frame.
Those bruises were only makeup, but Craig is sporting a sling for his right arm in real life. He has six pins in it that should help the arm heal by Christmas. The battle wounds of a James Bond movie linger after filming wraps, but back to his muscular chest.
"I keep fit," Craig said. "I don’t at the moment because of this [arm sling] which makes it hard but I am going to the gym every day because I’m in physi[cal therapy] every day to get this working. I just try and get normal because I think too much working out is bad for you."
The mass scrutiny of his body in the James Bond films has not given Craig any new vanity. Even before he was cast, he expressed his distaste for the gym. Even with the injury, he still oozed class in a black suit with black shirt and tie, which covered up his smooth, hairless pecs. Those are also courtesy of nature, as Craig avoids male pampering too.
"I don’t wax, no," he blushed.
After the success of Casino Royale, Bond fans accepted Craig as their new 007. Even new fans took to his dark, brooding secret agent and no one objected to his golden blonde hair. "I was never going to be in the situation where I was going to dye my hair. I never took that on."
Now that he's a movie star, Craig struggles to protect his private life from prying fans and cameras. "I have a normal life. I can’t do all the things I’d like to do but I have a normal life as much as I can possibly make it. I struggle to do it but that’s what I do."
As much as I could get out of him, Craig's real life alter-ego seems to be more of a homebody than a world class jet setter. "[My life is] like everybody else’s, having family, friends, cooking occasionally. I could make a list but it would be very boring."
Somehow dinner at the Craig house doesn’t sound boring. "Well, I can cook big things and lots of it, but I don’t know whether it’s particularly subtle."
Modesty may prevent Craig from bragging, but he need only introduce himself as "Craig, Daniel Craig" to open social doors. He wouldn't want that kind of attention though.
"Again, there’s that thing. I go home and the only place that matters to me is my private life, if we’re talking about those things and I get no respect at home. My family and my friends treat me as they’ve always treated me and I would want that to always remain the same. But what happens at work and this crazy world that I’m living in at the moment with my movie coming out, is showbiz and it’s part of the deal. I love it and hate it and all the things that go along with it, but I want people to treat me as normally as they can possibly do it, and anybody who doesn’t, I feel awkward with. I kind of like, cut the bullsh*t, let’s talk. I want to remain like that."
If Craig's real life is really as boring as he says, he has no fear on the job. While the bruises in the film were fake, he did risk real ones by performing as many of his own stunts as the filmmakers would allow.
"[I'm] never scared because we rehearse and rehearse. I don't just go stand on the roof and jump off it. We rehearse it. Hard to believe, I know, but it is the truth. We rehearsed it. [I may be] worried that I might get it wrong and worried that I'm going to have to do it more than once. So some of them I only did once. The bus jump was weird. The bus jump was a strange one. I jumped out of a window, but the impact is somebody else I think, although I did an impact. Then I do the stop, and then I jump off and climb up the thing. That's all me."
Slung arm notwithstanding, Craig considers it a blessing to be asked to perform physically. "Beats working for a living I suppose, jumping out of a window into an oncoming bus. I kept standing there, because we didn't have the bus in rehearsals. We had an idea of where the bus would be in rehearsals. So your mind goes but actually the fourth time I did it actually, I was putting in a flourish at the end as I was jumping out. Ha-ha!"
Bond is a lover as well as a fighter. That's why the ladies love him, even though he frequently uses them for information or gets them killed. Casino Royale explained how he got so detached, falling for Vesper Lynd only to find her working for the bad guys. Quantum of Solace picks up with Bond on the trail of her evil boyfriend.
"When we came down to it, and we all agreed that to my mind, at the end of Casino Royale, it was sort of the beginning of the story as opposed to the end of a story. He'd fallen in love, he'd had his heart broken, this organization that they'd discovered, they'd just sort of started peeling back the onion skins of. To do another movie and just sort of go, 'Oh, there was this chick once,' seemed to be the wrong thing to do. So it just fit."
The fans agree that Craig's is a unique Bond, not just because of his physical attributes. The actor strove to distinguish himself from the previous icons.
"I'd never copy somebody else. I would never do an impression of anybody else or try and improve on what they did. That would be a pointless exercise for me. I had to find out how I was going to do this and these two movies have tied that in for me. I'm now in a sort of situation, where I think we've wrapped up all the loose ends. We've solidified the relationship with M. We've solidified the relationship with Felix Leiter and we can do anything now. I think he's going to be probably a little more relaxed in the next movie but he had a deal to do, business to do."
Bond doesn't cry, but the stories of Craig's films have been his most emotional, at least since George Lazenby married Theresa in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Perhaps it is something about Craig's intense blue eyes, or just his steamy gravitas that gets his fans so fired up.
"Again, that's that thing of saying I would be doing an impression of something that had been done before. I'm just applying what I know and with working with someone like [director] Marc [Forster]. We know about making movies, but it's a Bond movie and I think all the subtleties are there which you see; the music, the style, the whole thing, they're classically Bond. It's just we're f*cking around with it. It's enjoyable to do, but I feel now we're in a situation where I do genuinely believe we can have a submarine base in the next one. I'd love it."
Jokes like that have gotten Craig into trouble before. Before production began on Quantum, he told reporters that the new Bond would have more comedy. He was being sarcastic, but his deadpan was so convincing that reporters seriously printed that the series was going in the direction of the Roger Moore films.
"I think that's the same for everybody. The thing is, I'm not that complicated I don't think. I'm a pretty open book. I make gags and if people don't get them, I can't please everybody. I'm sorry. I probably say stupid things in interviews sometimes but I'm not nailing anything down. People kind of want to know exactly what's going to happen in the next movie and I don't know. Is there room for more comedy. Yes, there's room for more comedy."
Craig is signed for two more Bond movies, and in between he continues to diversify. His next film is the historical drama Defiance, in which he plays a Polish Jew escaping to join Russian resistance fighters. He's open to everything.
"I don't consciously try to choose un-Bond-like projects. I mean, I certainly wouldn't go and choose another spy. That would just seem to me [redundant] because I could go away and say, 'Okay, I'm going to do something completely the opposite of that.' That seems to me to be counterproductive. That just means that I'm just going to be, 'Oh look, it's a response.' I'm not a reactionary person so I wouldn't go, 'Oh Christ, I've done that. I must do something to counterbalance that.' That's not my job."
All Craig is looking for, he says, are good scripts. When his time is up as Bond, he will be happy to pass the torch. "Look, I will do them as long as I can. I can't see beyond another movie. If they ask me back to do another movie, I would be thrilled. I would be thrilled."