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): Daniel CraigNaomie HarrisBen WhishawJavier BardemBérénice Marlohe and Judi Dench.

What aspect of Daniel Craig’s interpretation of Bond do you particularly enjoy?

Ralph Fiennes: Since they made ‘Casino Royale,’ Daniel Craig’s entrance with the character of James Bond, since then – and particularly with that film – that carried his interpretation, to my mind, closer to a sense of ruthlessness. There’s a hardness there in the Fleming stories, and I think Daniel brings that to Bond.

Albert Finney: I think he’s brought a great precision and a great expertise, he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. He’s very precise in his decisions and actions, in the way he moves in a scene. I think Daniel’s brought that to the role of James Bond. I think he’s incredibly good at that.

Ralph, your character Gareth Mallory, the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, he attempts to somewhat manipulate M in ‘Skyfall’….?

Ralph Fiennes: Yes. Mallory would argue that for all of M’s brilliance and toughness, she’s allowed some vital information – that she should actually have had on any record at all – to be stolen. So he’s giving her a chance to redeem herself, but he does it by needling her, as it were,  to get her anger up in order for her to reclaim her territory, if you like. The scenes with me and Judi should have real tension, and she’s extraordinary as M. She has his flinty hard look that can come into her eye which is quite formidable (laughs).

What was your initial reaction to the screenplay of ‘Skyfall’ and your character?

Ralph Fiennes: First of all, Sam Mendes, who’s directing it, I admire his work and I worked with him years ago. I was thrilled to be asked to work with him on this, and the ‘Skyfall’ screenplay by John Logan, I thought it was excellent. As I read it and imagined the film, it seemed to be of a calibre and complexity that I don’t think I’ve seen in a Bond film before. I’ve admired Daniel Craig’s performance in the role very much. The ‘Skyfall’ screenplay and the part of Mallory, this steely civil servant who’s there to oversee the running of MI6, that had an appeal. On the surface, Mallory has a charm, an old-world courtesy, but underneath, there’s a steel there. He is absolutely able to stand up to M and go head-to-head with her.

Albert, your character Kincade is one of the few people Bond can trust….

Albert Finney: Yeah. I play somebody who turns out to have been an old retainer for James Bond’s family, I was the gamekeeper on his father’s estate. And when his parents died, which James would have been about 13 or 14, I would have taught him how to shoot as a kid. To some extent I have become a substitute father when his father went. There’s an interesting relationship there between James and Kincade.

How did you find it finally getting to work with Judi Dench on ‘Skyfall’?

Albert Finney: It’s ridiculous that I’ve been in the business for 50-odd years and Judi Dench has also been in it for some time, and we’d never even met before (laughs) – I think we may have met once at an actors gathering somewhere. But Judi, she’s very pleasant, she’s a great lady and it was lovely to be in her presence on ‘Skyfall.’