Daniel Craig Interview JAMES BOND Quantum of Solace

     November 12, 2008

Written by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub

As I said in the intros of my Olga Kurylenko and director Marc Forster interviews, with the latest Bond movie set to open this weekend, it’s time to post the interviews I recently did for the movie.

Since almost everyone on planet Earth knows who James Bond is, this intro is going to be very brief.

All you really need to know about “Quantum of Solace” is….the movie starts about an hour after “Casino Royale” ended and it’s a Bond movie where he’s looking for revenge.

And out of all the Bond movies that have been made…this is the first legitimate sequel. If you saw Casino Royale, this is a must see movie.

Anyway, during my roundtable interview with Daniel Craig, he talked about the challenges of making this movie and we of course talked about what he’d like to see in the next Bond movie.

As always, you can either read the transcript below or listen to the audio by clicking here. Finally, if you’d like to watch some clips from Quantum of Solace click here, and here’s a link to 5 featurette’s about making the movie.

Q. So can we ask actually what happened? (he had walked in with a sling on his arm)

Daniel Craig: No! (laughs) It’s, I’ve had a tear in the shoulder, and I think two Bond movies have just aggravated it and doing this one, it started aching really badly halfway through. I sort of thought you know, we would, because you know, the potential actors strike, so we had a deadline, if we didn’t finish, we were screwed, so I went to see a surgeon and he just said, ‘Fine, you might damage it more but you’re fine and come and see me when you’ve had a rest.’ So I’ve had it, six weeks ago I’ve had surgery, at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and well on the way, I’ve just got to keep it in this way for awhile.

Q. Is Bond chipping away at you piece by piece?

Daniel: No. (laughs)

Q. There seems to be, to me in this film though more things to identify you as doing the stunts yourself and I just, did you feel you did a lot more physically in this?

Daniel: You know, we did, we learned a huge amount when we did Casino Royale, certainly I did, and the stunt team that I worked with did, about how much I can do and what’s the limit. I think we’re getting better, at just, you know, making it look like it’s me. And the guys I work with, I’ve got four or five guys, who work really closely with me, who have got incredible skills, fighting skills, gymnasts, acrobats. And luckily, they’re all kind of quite similar to me, and we just… I try to get as fit as they are, cause they’re seriously fit, and then, you know, I get my face in there and if I can get my face in there in that key moment, and not sort of pull the audience out, that’s all I want. I don’t want the audience to be watching an action sequence and then suddenly to go, ‘Oh it’s not him.’ And there are moments, if you play it really slowly, you’ll be able to find it, but hopefully they’re few and far between.

Q. The stunts in this scene seemed even more dangerous than the other one, especially all the fire, at the end. Was there anything that scared you?

Daniel: No, no, not scared, I mean, trepidation but genuinely it’s about getting it right. Cause I only want to do it once. And so if you’re standing on a roof and you’re going to jump over and I’m like, I don’t want to do this more than once if I can help it, so that’s all you got going through your head. I mean, there were moments where suddenly we were, cause we rehearsed it, so with the fire sequence, we went to a fire testing facility, and we basically went in there with fire suits on, and just got as close as we could. Just to sort of get us used to the heat. And then your covered in this like flame retardant which is like gel, which is just plastered all over your body. At some point I had plastic hands on cause I’m smashing through sort of things, and there’s guys with fire extinguishers, you hope for the best. (laughs) No I mean, there’s more to it than that, we would plot it out really, really carefully, and all I cared about when we go for the takes is that we’re not doing, you know, the jumping out of windows is actually, I didn’t want to do that more than once, but after the third time, it’s actually getting quite fun, so (laughs), sick way that that happens.

Q. When you were a kid and you saw Bond movies, I assume you saw them when you were young, when you became Bond did you think there’s something about this I want to preserve, like there’s something about it that should change?

Daniel: Not when I was a child, certainly when we, Mark and I had a long conversation when we came to do this, many long conversations, which we’re still doing. We’re big fans of the early Bonds, but also the movies that they spawned in the 60s, because they had a direct effect on movies all over. One of the biggest things that the Bond movies did, the early Bond movies is go on location. I mean and that, that was unusual at the time, I mean if it was Hollywood movies, they were shot in the backlot, and they were created sets and beautifully done, but it was, Bond went, he went to Japan, he was in Japan, and that’s what we wanted to make happen in this movie, the feel, that you were transported to these places. And plus, trying to add some of the style that they developed back then and trying to get some of that back in the movies and the feel because the mood of them is, they’re stylized, I mean, even though there’s reality in this and everybody will be saying, oh it’s grittier and harder, I think it’s a very stylized Bond and I like the fact that it has a look back to that.

Q. I’m imagining that you are going to have a little more pull perhaps the next Bond film, is there a certain place in the world that you want to go to that you haven’t been, that you can work into the Bond franchise.

Daniel: A beach (laughs). For about an hour and a half in the movie and then about ten minutes of action that would really, really thrill me. (laughs) There’s a look out and explosions could be happening everywhere, occasionally sipping my cocktail. (laughs)

Q. But being serious, there are so many amazing places on the planet, and I’m just if there’s places in the world that you would love to…

Daniel: I mean, the problem always is is because of you know, travel is so much easier than it has been, there are fewer places to go that people haven’t been. What we were trying to achieve in this is that we went to places which are unusual to visit and then sort of double like Panama we doubled for Haiti. And for lots of South America. It’s to try and photograph them in the most, the best way you can, and I don’t know, there’s plenty, I can’t think of, I can think of ten places I’d like to go, personally. Ten places to film a Bond movie, that’s a different thing, because it’s, the logistics of that are so great, but anywhere, you know, anywhere, as long as it’s anywhere, if we were in Africa it would be great, Asia would be wonderful, I’d love to go to China, or Hong Kong, that would be somewhere fantastic.

Q. You talked before about how this movie’s a book end to the first movie, but you know, the first BBC review that came out of it, actually whoever wrote that review, felt that it sort of felt more like a second in a trilogy. Is it possible that the themes of these first two movies will carry on to the third one, or you guys think the third one will be something completely different?

Daniel: Personally I think that we’ve wrapped up all the loose ends that I wanted to wrap up, which is just the Vespa story and also solidifying the relationships, which is so important, you know, with Felix and with M, and sort of where their place in the world is, and now I think we’ve got a very kind of stable Bond world now that we can just do whatever the hell we want, and that I find exciting. To my mind, there’s no trilogy. Because, we’ve got to do something different now. I mean we hit a submarine base. Let’s be honest. (laughs) It was a small one, but we now, we need to explore, you know, there’s Moneypenny, there’s Q, there’s all the other characters that we could conceivably bring in. My instinct has always been with those sort of things and people have asked and said, well why is there no Q, why is there no Moneypenny, I’m like, because you need to give them to good actors, and you don’t give a good actor and say remember how Moneypenny was played, can you do that? So I think they’d go, God, no I want to reinvent this character, and so that’s what I’d love, if we’d get another chance to make another one of these movies and who knows whatever happens and that’s where I’d like to go with it. I’d like to sort of hand it on to some people with talent, that’s all.

Q. How did you like working with Marc Forster?

Daniel: It was fun, it was great. I’m a fan of his, I’ve always been a fan of his, and the idea, when he came up, when he was asked to do it, and I said, I’ve got absolutely no problem with that, cause he’s a fantastic storyteller, so.

Q. How was it different from the last film?

Daniel: He’s a lover of films, he’s a cinefile through and through, and you look at how complex his films are but how different his films are, and to me that sort of strikes me as a very brave person who can sort of say, you know what, I’m not going to stick with it, you know, I’m going to take subject matters completely at either ends of the spectrum. And when he came to do this I met him and within five minutes, because one of the things I knew having done one, is, this is twice the length of any other movie, three months to normally shoot one movie, I mean a movie of fairly regular size, this is six months, I mean it’s six months on every location, and as soon as I met him, I knew he was a brave man and that he was up for doing it, and so I’ve had a great time with him.

Q. A personal question, when somebody hurts you can you let it go? Bond cannot let it go, can you?

Daniel: He can, I think he can. I think actually, because the mistake in this movie is that he’s on a vendetta, he’s not. I kind of keep this whole thing about the title, Quantum Of Solace, it’s actually what he’s looking for, it’s all he’s looking for. He just does his job. He’s not out to take revenge, he might be a little angrier than he was in the first one (laughs), but I mean that’s kind of, you know, that’s the actual point, the point at the end is he gets the chance to do the guy, the one guy who’s actually the person that’s responsible, not the bosses, not anyone, the actual guy that twisted the love of his life. And he says no.

Q. I just mean, do you have to get even?

Daniel: No.

Q. That’s not you, okay.

Daniel: I don’t believe in it, if I can help it, I don’t believe in it.

Q. Did you go into this one with more confidence, cause obviously with the first one, you know, all the eyes of the world were on you…

Daniel: Kind of. (laughs) Sorry, go on.

Q. …I know you said back when you were doing press for the first film, that you know, you kind of blocked all that out when you went to work, but I mean, there’s going to be obviously some pressure. The fact that the first one was a success, did you, were you able to start this one from a point of being more confident, and not even having to worry about…

Daniel: I wasn’t, I mean, this is going to sound like hindsight, like I’m just making this up, but, I got over that a long time ago, all of that sort of pressure of doing it, was something that happened in the Bahamas about three weeks of shooting of Casino Royale. We had a good film, I mean we had a good crew, we had good actors, we had a good director, it’s like, there’s nothing else we can do, to make this a better situation, so all the pressure that was on, I’d put to bed, just completely put to bed. By the time we’d got to the premiere in London, people were going, don’t you feel vindicated now, and I’m like, I don’t feel anything, (laughs) I feel like we’ve got a great movie, I have no reason to turn around, I never wanted to get into a dialogue about it, so come to this one, all the same pressures, were there, but in a very, very different way, I mean we’re on the back of success, which is, I mean thank goodness, we could have been on the back of a dud which would have just been (laughter) I can’t imagine. So obviously there’s different pressures and but there always is, it’s a 200 million dollar movie, I don’t know how you could do that without thinking there’s a little bit of pressure.

Q. I’m curious if you could talk about the first time they gave you the script, and how did they present to you, I’m just curious about behind the scenes, like did somebody deliver it to you and what was your reaction the first time you were reading it, were you a super fan?

Daniel: You’re talking about the script?

Q. Yeah.

Daniel: Was I a superfan? (laughter)

Q. Yeah, were you just like reading the pages like, okay, I cannot, you know?

Daniel: No, I mean, it’s always, it’s a much longer process than that because the whole thing, it took about, I mean I’ve been working on this for nearly two years now, and so the ideas that we were putting together and the ideas we were putting toward for Paul and the whole thing were coming back and forth, so no one ever presented me with ahhhhh (laughs) I mean it was like I got drafts and I read drafts and we read ideas and we looked at things and it’s very, it’s not, it’s a kind of continual process. It was not like that with the first one, that was really a kind of you know, security guards and trying to inaudible. (laughs) but, in metaphorically speaking it was like that, yeah.

Q. So this was much more, for you a collaborative process?

Daniel: Yeah, very much, yeah.

Q. I was just curious, when you’re on set with a film like this, are you, is there a lot of room for any sort of improv, or is it really a very structured environment?

Daniel: There’s a lot of improv. There’s a lot of improv. I mean it’s like, I mean obviously, the jumps are not improvised (laughs), I’ll go this way, you know, ahhhh! (laughter) That would really screw things up, but there’s stuff, you know, you kind of, there’s takes and you change lines and I don’t kind of, I mean, I’m not Robert DeNiro, believe me, I don’t kind of go on and on, you know, take after take, but I do do three or four takes and change the lines around and sort of just screw around with it as much as I possibly can. Just to loosen it up, you know?

Q. And how was Mark with coverage, was he a one camera guy, did he have a lot of cameras and a lot of stuff?

Daniel: Jesus, you should ask him about this. (laughter) No, no, no, we had, we would have, I mean, he likes sticking to very classically with one camera, but we’d bring two cameras in, we could fit it in, you know there’s always the thing with two cameras, if you’re shooting quick and you’re trying to shoot quickly is that there’s a thing about pushing yourself around the room, is that the camera kind of starts getting in the way or something if you stick two cameras in, but with that set up it’s good to shoot it like that sometimes because then you’ll get both, you’ll get a very continual flow. But, it’s not that strict. I mean, I don’t know a director that is. That sticks with one camera, unless there’s a financial issue involved.

Q. How was working with Olga?

Daniel: She’s great, I mean, you know, we kind of cast her as a, I was involved with the casting process, and she came in and she just had this kind of sort of quiet kind of I don’t know, toughness about her and also something going on, you know, this sort of like secret that she’s carrying with her, and you know, she was kind of thrust into this, and we started training and we started sort of getting into it, and sometimes I’m going, this is kind of what it’s like (laughter), and she just did a great job and I think that her story kind of ties in so nicely with it and no they don’t, they don’t get into bed, but they kiss you know. (laughter)

Q. This is an incredible role, but it’s also very all consuming cause it takes so much of your time now, are you able to do other things that you really want to do?

Daniel: I mean I’ve done three movies since I’ve done the last one, a little movie called Flashbacks that came out a couple of days ago, kind of very quietly because it’s a small movie and then Defiance which is coming out at the end of the year, so I’m just looking at scripts, I mean you know, good scripts are hard to find, you have to go looking for them, so I’ll keep doing that if I can.

Q. What is your relationship like with Judy Dench?

Daniel: It’s good. It’s very good, I mean I have a, it’s a joy to work with her, you know, I mean I’m a very selfish actor, if I could work with really good actors, my job is sliced in half, at the very least sliced in half. I mean she just comes on, she comes on and she could literally speak the phonebook and I’d listen to it.

Q. You mentioned Defiance, which I believe is getting an Academy Award run at the end of the year.

Daniel: It’s getting a quick limited release on something like the 31st of December.

Q. For the people who don’t know, could you talk a little bit about your role in that film and what was it like working with Ed?

Daniel: Great, Ed sort of presented me the script, he said it’s a story, a very little known story set in Belarus during the second world war about four brothers who organize a resistance really but, against the German army but also against the sort of, the local population who are siding with the German army, and they, there’s a forest which is around Belarus Lithuania which just goes on for miles and miles and miles and it’s still impenetrable today. And they went in there, and they sort of committed acts of revenge, and then, formed a society and survived four years and got 1500 people out of the forest, created schools, synagogues, factories, organized with the Russian partisans and it’s just a good story, he showed it to me, I said yes, thank you, I’ll get involved with that.

Q. So who are you though?

Daniel: One of the brothers.

Q. And with a subject like that did you, was there a lot of research that you did, getting ready for that, and when you’re doing subject matter like that, do you treat it a little bit, you know, your process, a little different?

Daniel: Not really, no. I treat everything just about the same. If there’s research to be done, I’ll do it, but if there’s not research to be done, then you know, I’m off to the pub.

Q. What do you think Tom Ford’s suits brought to the look of Bond?

Daniel: He’s a very classical modern tailor, you know, I mean I can’t talk about tailoring, I don’t know a great deal about it, but I know when you put on a good suit, that it feels good. And there was something about the line he created, that I think sort of just, I think it fits with this Bond, I just personally do. And you know, he works in a very classical way, that there’s always a twist and it’s kind of nice, a nice subtle twist.

Q. And it’s fun to destroy all of them?

Daniel: It’s a shame, it’s a sadness really.

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