Daniel Craig Interview For ‘Skyfall’
Daniel Craig is back as James Bond 007 in ’Skyfall,’ the 23rd installment of the longest-running film franchise in history. In ’Skyfall,’ Bond’s loyalty to M (Judi Dench) is tested as her past returns to haunt her. 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost. When Bond’s latest assignment goes gravely wrong and several undercover agents around the world are exposed, MI6 is attacked, forcing M to relocate the agency. These events cause her authority and position to be challenged by Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), the new Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee. With MI6 now compromised from both inside and out, M is left with one ally she can trust: Bond. 007 takes to the shadows – aided only by field agent, Eve (Naomie Harris) – following a trail to the mysterious Silva (Javier Bardem), whose lethal and hidden motives have yet to reveal themselves. Directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road, Road to Perdition), ’Skyfall’ also stars Bérénice Marlohe, Ben Whishaw, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Albert Finney and Ola Rapace. ‘Skyfall’ will begin its worldwide roll-out in the UK and Ireland on October 26th, with a North American release following on November 9th. My other interviews for ‘Skyfall’ can be found here (more to come): Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Javier Bardem, Bérénice Marlohe and Judi Dench.
‘Skyfall’ explores the complex relationship between Bond and M. M is the only person who represents authority to Bond, and there’s a mutual respect there….
Daniel Craig: Yeah. I think it was a good chance to get more screen time for Judi Dench, which is always a good thing (laughs). With Bond and M’s relationship, there’s a professional relationship, which is very much about the fact that Bond would sacrifice himself for her, for country, whatever you want to call it. But also there’s a very, very deep love that’s there that’s built up over time, even through long rough patches – which conflicts with the professional relationship. I think that’s fascinating, I get a big kick out of working with Judi. Like you said, their relationship is based on mutual respect. They both know that every time the chips are down, one of them will have to make a sacrifice – it’s difficult to have a touchy-feely relationship with someone under those circumstances. But at the same time – and Sam Mendes was very keen on this – Bond’s always had in the back of his mind that there’s a bit more. It’s something he never shows, but the connection is there – and I get a kick out of that as an actor, to play a life you can’t show.
Without giving too much of the plot away, Bond and M’s relationship displays a fundamental difference between Bond and Silva?
Daniel Craig: Yeah. The big difference between mine and Javier Bardem’s character Silva is that there’s being able to understand the reasons for some of M’s decisions, from Bond‘s side of things. He’s accepting of the fact that, “Ok, you had to do that, there was no choice. I’m here, so lets get on with it.” I think that’s kind of what makes Bond, Bond.
I know you did much of your own stunts on ’Skyfall.’ What was it like filming the fight/action sequence on the train?
Daniel Craig: I think it was like 300ft over the canyon, which makes no sense whatsoever, because 100ft seems like a lot to me (laughs). But it was kind of bad enough on the train at 20ft, when you go past a siding and the drop would go, I’d be like, “Oh, that’s quite high.” But when we went over that certain part, they say, “Don’t look down,” and don’t (laughs). But we really had time to plan it out, so I had lots of rehearsal time. If there was anything I felt insecure about we stopped filming and I would go off and rehearse it. It really is about making it look as easy as possible. I think there’s been times when I’ve been standing on top of buildings on other movies and wondering, “What the hell am I doing!” But on ‘Skyfall’ it felt real good. We really wanted to push ‘Skyfall’ as far as we could. We’ve always relied on the fact that we do things for real on Bond movies. The CGI is just to help out, as opposed to creating the scene. Standing on top of a train travelling at 50km/h, while fighting Ola Rapace over a 300ft drop, that’s a standout moment for me (laughs).
How was it working with Sam Mendes on ‘Skyfall,‘ a director you’d had a great working relationship previously? How collaborative was he?
Daniel Craig: He’s totally collaborative, and also the team he put together was extraordinary. And someone has to guide those people along, Sam did an amazing job. I knew that Sam would put everything behind it. He would put all of his knowledge of movie making behind it, but also his knowledge and love of Fleming and Bond. I felt an immediate connection with Sam talking about Bond. I felt a connection with someone who had exactly the same enthusiasm and respect for the Bond films that I did. And, of course, I deeply respect Sam as a director. I said to him, “This is going to be a new experience for you – trust me,” because I made two of them and it was a very new experience for me. Nothing can quite prepare you.
The locations are stunning in ’Skyfall,’ as a Londoner myself it was great to see the city play a big role in this film….
Daniel Craig: The opportunity to shoot in London was like a red rag to a bull with Sam (laughs). We wanted to see parts of London that we hadn’t seen before, to use the city in ways that would be impossible in most movies – but Bond’s name opens a few doors (laughs)! London has a real character and that excites me because I love this city and I think it is so rarely represented well on film. We were aiming to capture the madness, the mystery, the danger, and the glamour of London. I think it’s a brave and wonderful thing to focus very tightly on the city.
There’s a distinctive look and style to the film throughout….
Daniel Craig: There is a style, there’s a style we were going for that the costume designer Jany Temime and the set designer Dennis Gassner put together. There’s definitely a colour pallet, that our cinematographer Roger Deakins had been using. It’s a richness that is there that I think probably reminds us more of the 60s. It certainly reminds me of something like ‘Goldfinger,’ that’s a good touching point if you look at ‘Goldfinger’ – the style of that and the locations for that film. It does feed into that.
How was it on set working with the fantastic cast of ‘Skyfall’?
Daniel Craig: You have to take the time and the effort to find the right people, the right people who are enthusiastic, who are not here to just do a turn and leave. We’ve just been blessed with every actor, whether it’s Rory, Ola, Ben, or Fiennes, or Bardem, or Finney, or of course Judi Dench. And then the casting of the girls, with Naomie and Bérénice – finding two exceptionally beautiful women who are very serious actresses and who are intelligent and work hard, they bring so much to ‘Skyfall,’ so much. For me, it was a joy.
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