Sony have made a large offer to keep a reluctant Daniel Craig in the Bond Franchise. But is it worth it?
The James Bond movies have been big hits for Sony Pictures in the past few years. It’s possibly the company’s biggest and most recognised franchise. Beginning with Casino Royale in 2006 (oh, that makes me feel old), through to 2015’s Spectre, the franchise has stabilised Sony through some tough years.
Daniel Craig has been a large part of that success, but while promoting Spectre, he was not too enthusiastic about future films. In fact, he stated that he would rather ‘slash his wrists’ and that he would only be doing it for the money. And I think that’s fine, really. He did great, made a tone of money for Sony and MGM (and himself). With Craig, they brought 007 into the 21st century. Job done. Nice work. Let’s move on.
And move on they did. With some great dudes lined up to take on the role such as, Tom Hardy, Tom Hiddleston and Idris Elba attached to take up the tux, Bond seemed in safe hands.
So when news broke that Craig would return for a fifth Bond film, I had to wonder why he would bother. Had he fallen back in love with the role? Did he need more ivory back scratchers?
As James Bond, you only live once
Daniel caused quite a commotion with his thoughts on a future film in 2015. Though, when you read all of these comments in context, they do seem like fair points. He’d played Bond in four movies, sustained a serious knee injury filming Spectre and he just sounded tired. It was a candid interview, and Daniel was interacting honestly with a reporter that he was comfortable with. It was refreshing!
But it didn’t sit well with studio execs, who felt that Daniel wasn’t giving his all when promoting the movie. And people have been speculating since if he would go on. He was (and is) still contracted for a fifth film, but it seemed like it would suit both parties to separate.
One of Craig’s biggest gripes about being Bond was that it was such a large commitment. It tied him into playing one character for too long. Limiting his freedom to do other things with his career.
Reluctantly Daniel Craig is still on Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Since expressing his reluctance to return as Bond in 2015, Daniel Craig has backtracked a little. Speaking about the issue in 2016, Craig stated that he’d ‘keep doing it as long as I still get a kick out of it’. Stressing that the physical demands of the job, along with the long time away from home had him feeling fatigued. But are these the true feelings of the man? Or is it a conciliatory statement from a man contractually obligated to be Bond again?
I’m inclined to think the former, as he seems like someone who often speaks his mind often. But since his 2015 comments, people had gotten used to the idea of the franchise moving on. When we also heard that Sam Mendes would not be returning to direct the next instalment, that just further cemented the idea that times were changing for the British Spy.
Why I think they should move on from Craig
I loved Daniel Craig as James Bond. In fact, he’s actually my favourite. The man looks more dangerous than anyone that’s played the role. Casino Royale is my favourite of all the Bond movies, a sort of soft reboot for the films, it made us all take the character seriously again. It was a great modern reset of a series that many thought wouldn’t survive into the modern age of Jason Bourne and Johnny English (I’m not serious about that last one).
As for the movies that followed, they were of varying quality. Quantum Of Solace was pretty average, but so were most things that were made during the writers strikes around 2007 and 2008. Skyfall received a lot of well deserved praise, but Spectre was a little disappointing. Just a bit too many ideas in that film. And, if I’m honest, the three of these films kind of blur into one for me.
Now would be a good time to really shake it up again. If they leave Daniel Craig in the role, I feel like they’ll just try to recapture the magic of Skyfall, a strategy that failed for them in Spectre (critically, that is. Obviously it was still a commercial success). With director Sam Mendes also leaving the party, I think they’ll find that the Skyfall magic might be a bit out of reach.
The Possibilities of a New James Bond
With a new director coming on board, would come new ideas and maybe even a new style. It’s what made Casino Royale great after some average 1990’s Bond films. When there was talk a few months ago that Christopher Nolan might take on directing the film, some assumed that he would bring frequent collaborator, Tom Hardy on to star.
Nolan proved to us in his Batman trilogy that he knows how to take a character, with a long screen history like Batman, and produce a film that respectful of it’s source material while still moving the character forward. I think he could do this with Bond.
But what if Nolan had to cast George Clooney in Batman Begins instead of Christian Bale? Nolan will be able move the character forward much better if he can recast the role. And as I’ve already stated, there’s no shortage of great actors lined up. Imagine a slightly sly and cheeky Tom Hiddleston? Imagine a stern and imposing Idris Elba? Daniel Craig is great, but I really do think we need another refresh.
I’m never one to write off a movie before I’ve seen it and despite all I just said, I’ll buy my ticket to the next Bond movie with or without Daniel Craig. But it seems to me that with all his initial reluctance to be Bond again, and with the winning formula of Craig / Mendes being split up, perhaps it’s in everyone’s interest to move on.