‘Spectre’: Why Daniel Craig Would Be Stupid to Give Up James Bond

Spectre James Bond
Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures

In a 1971 interview with the BBC to promote the release of “Diamonds Are Forever,” his sixth stint as James Bond, Sean Connery compared the experience of starring in the franchise to being a pawn.

He swore off any future sequels, telling his interrogator, “I’ve got other things I want to do. I have no desire to have 100 million pounds.”

Twelve years later, having suffered a series of film flops like “Meteor” and “Cuba,” he was back enjoying his martinis shaken, not stirred in the aptly named “Never Say Never Again.”

Daniel Craig, routinely described as the best Bond since Connery, is at a similar impasse. His stint as 007 has been among the most financially successful in series history — 2012’s “Skyfall” became the first Bond picture to pass $1 billion worldwide and his latest installment, “Spectre,” has racked up $300 million in two weeks of release.

Yet Craig has hinted in interviews that he is ready to hang up Bond’s Walther PPK and explore new challenges.

If that’s true, he should seriously reconsider.

Outside of Bond, Craig’s films have done only marginal business. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” made $232 million globally, but its $100 million budget meant that it lost money after exhibitors got their stake. Now Sony is reportedly rebooting the series without the actor.

And films like “Cowboys and Aliens,” “Dream House” and “The Invasion” struck out with audiences and critics, losing millions of dollars in the process. As Bond, Craig is gold, but that popularity hasn’t translated to other projects despite his considerable talent.

“He’s not going to be getting offered a lot of starring roles in great films,” said Jeff Bock, a box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “He’ll be able to attend 007 conventions until he dies, but the Bond role hasn’t usually done wonders for people’s careers. You step outside of the tuxedo and some of the magic goes away.”

Aside from Connery, who was eventually able to put Bond behind him, winning an Oscar for “The Untouchables” and scoring commercial successes with “Hunt for Red October” and “The Rock,” the four other men who have played the suave spy have struggled to remain relevant after leaving the franchise.

Roger Moore’s post-Bond work includes such gems as “Boat Trip” and “Spice World.” Pierce Brosnan scored good reviews for “The Matador” and “The Ghostwriter,” but those were overshadowed by duds like “The November Man” and “No Escape.” Timothy Dalton flirted with Razzie glory with “The Beautician and the Beast,” swapping Bond girls for the dulcet tones of Fran Drescher. And George Lazenby is probably signing autographs at a comic book store near you.

Yes, Bond is a physically demanding role, one that’s cost Craig an ACL and a fingertip and resulted in countless scrapes and bruises. And, yes, he’s probably done as much as he can do plumbing the emotional depths of cinema’s most famous misogynistic alcoholic. But remaining in her majesty’s secret service also gives him leverage to get plays produced on Broadway and to headline more personal films.

“Spectre” does take pains to tie all of the previous Craig films together, so it could be seen as a perfect send-off for the actor. After likening returning to the series to slitting his wrists, there are hints that Craig’s views have softened. Producer Michael G. Wilson, for instance, seems confident that the actor will return and the film’s backers, Eon Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, have an incentive to get him to stay on board. The companies are looking for a new distribution partner and the prospect of relaunching the franchise without Craig and the global goodwill he commands might not be as appealing to studios who have grown accustomed to seeing the Bond films perform at “Skyfall”-like levels.

If he does exit the series, Craig deserves credit for keeping the Bond franchise relevant in the 21st century. When his casting was announced, fans were apoplectic, objecting to everything from his hair color (“Bond can’t be blond”) to his inability to drive stick.

“Initially no one can live up to Bond,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “As an actor you have to prove it to the world that you’re worthy.”

Prove it he did. Craig brought a danger to Bond. He looked like he could crush a man’s skull with his hands, and might enjoy himself while he did. He deviated from tradition in other ways. Whereas Moore and Brosnan emphasized the character’s wit and urbanity, Craig spit out his punchlines like broken glass. He was the first Bond who looked like he might enjoy an Heineken more than a vodka martini.

“He lends a bit of mystery to the character,” said Rory Bruer, distribution chief at Sony, the studio overseeing the rollout of “Spectre.”

It was a brutality and a nihilism that dovetailed perfectly with the aftermath of 9/11, in which the threat of terrorism was ever present and global powers seemed willing to sacrifice their moral compass in order to safeguard their people.

But times change and perhaps the series would benefit from a new attitude and face of the franchise.

“As long as they find someone else to replace him that fans respond to, the property will stay strong,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “People liked a darker Bond, but if he leaves, they may go back to more of the tongue-in-cheek not overly serious approach.”

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  1. Alan C says:

    To Whom it May Concern… 

    I am simply submitting an idea for the next Bond film… 

    create a new storyline around Agent 009 

    This way you may still opt to leave in the 007 character and Daniel Craig as a side character. 

    Yes Henry Caville would work, perhaps as a CIA or NSA export to England 

    thank you 

    Alan 

    McCuff Industries, Inc. 
    Beverly Hills, CA 90212

  2. RJ Pina says:

    At this point in time, I give Daniel Craig a whole lot of applause for taking on such dynamic and highly dangerous roles like Mr. Bond. But, all good things must change and the end is only another new beginning for Mr. Craig now that he may not be returning to do anymore crazy scenes writers are inspired to write.

    I grew up with Mr. Connery; and I still enjoy seeing him on the big screen. However, an actor has their own choice to bow out gracefully and do other things that may matter to them and their family members. After all, how much money does anyone ever really need in a life time? It is the love and sharing of special times with people we cherish which is above all, more valuable than earning millions of dollars or pounds.

    I remember seeing Daniel Craig early on with the Laura Croft series. I knew right away that he was someone to take note of. Not only is he dashing, strong looking and able-bodied; he is also generous and kind hearted, not to mention down-to-earth. Just ask his wife.

    I saw him perform in a note worthy film many years ago about a man who was trying to help a woman who lived in a foreign land regarding the rebirth of a tyrant who was the off spring of someone humanity could do without. It was intriguing and a great story too.

    It helps if you have the “looks” that Hollywood wants when they seek to replace someone like Craig and Connery—but, I doubt anyone will ever actually hold a candle to these two dynamic and talented great actors ever again.

    Sorry. That’s how I see it and I’ve watched more than my share of shabby movies and can pick out the best ones. How? The writing; the music (should be timeless), and the actors must and always are very, very believable.

    Thank you Mr. Connery and Mr. Craig whatever you choose to do now, and best of luck to the person who will try to walk in Bond’s footsteps now.

    ps an aside: one of the best actors I’ve seen today is Mr. Kit Harrington from Game of Thrones; However, it wouldn’t be a fair assessment never to mention all the actors in this epic series because casting has outdone themselves. Each major and minor character is an asset to great story telling and bringing these characters true to real life. Much gratitude to all of you for your talent, your craft and your dedication so viewers like me can enjoy the real pleasures of this life.

  3. Karen Ryan says:

    Please have Daniel Craig come back as 007. I think he’s the best 007 yet. I think he brings a somewhat different appeal, that is very sexy, and acts as he really does care about his occupation, and whom ever he is trying to save. He is a great actor. I have seen him in other movies and think he has great talent. Please Daniel come back, and save our world. thank you for giving me an opportunity to say my part.

  4. Joyce Barnes says:

    I think he is not James Bond, he just seems like a spy or action actor. He has no sex appeal, and almost seems uncomfortable around women except in the last movie he made..I would be happy to see him go..as far as I’m concerned James Bond died when he took the role..

  5. What really saved BOND films is that they reduced the comedy in it.
    So by the time Craig got it, it was serious biz in Casino Royal.

    After Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan is next.

  6. Hotzpacho says:

    I don’t think Daniel Craig has had a great career outside of the series and since the franchise is looking for a new distribution company it might be wise for Craig to use that leverage for a new Bond contract.

    Personally i think he’s the best Bond since Connery, but to each his own. I think he could parlay this opportunity into a contract negotiation where it sees and increase in pay, an increase in stunt doubles, and promises for lead role casting in non Bond films.

  7. SW357 says:

    WORST. BOND. EVER. Daniel Craig never had the mojo to begin with. Pull the plug, Babs Broccoli…it’s over…

  8. mickrussom says:

    The bond movies are starting to STINK again. They need to be more gritty and less impossible and stupid like the books were. The broccoli dictatorship is boring.

  9. Max says:

    No But I Love JAMESBOND

  10. 007 Fan says:

    Daniel Craig made Bond more like a realistic agent – get tortured, bleeds, hospitalized, fall in love, depressed and obsessed, i think he made this character alive, and keep up on the viewers demand of realistic action just like Bourne series and Batman, this movies was made a little more realistic than sci-fi comics. All and all he is the what the youngster is looking for.

  11. Noyourname says:

    Daniel Craig as James Bond … Really? That was the first failure. He’s out of any woman’s league in any of the movies cmon now. Seriously who in their right mind thought he was fit as a 007 agent.. I really don’t get it.

  12. Lell says:

    Maybe because it was such a god awful film, pathetic story line, dreadful dialogue when there was any and a total waste of 2 hours of my life!

  13. Bring him on, I’ll be watching if I’m still living. 72 this year and never missed a BOND Movie. Thanks.

  14. Steven says:

    The edgy, raw spin on on the series was something that I feel, Craig portrayed superbly as a bond in development.
    However, just as his contribution began as an agent in the rough and then on to a well established, more ruthless version in comparison to the traditional one. We’ve also witnessed a similar beginning with the characters supporting cast.
    That said, and with the way this latest release was put together, it would almost feel strange if he were to do another one.
    While Mr.Craig would fully have my backing, should he choose to continue, I’d also fully understand if he were to venture elsewhere or, if the producers were to look at someone else for to continue on with.

  15. Daniel Craig Has Brought New Life To The Role Of James Bond The Movies Keep Me At The Edge Of My Seat Every Time!!! A New Actor Will Have Big Shoes To Follow As Sean Connery Did !!! Roger Moore Is Just One Of The Actors That Didn’t Cut The Role With Many Film Viewers Daniel Craig Made The Role His!!!

  16. Well…I hv seen all the #Bond Movies portrayed by @Daniel Craig and he really deserves loads of respect n appreciation 4 portraying the Bond..James Bond. But it is so, we want to know him as Bond not as a Actor who has a talent to make alive any role which he wants. Yesterday I had watched his movie #Cowboys&TheAliens but i couldn’t admire his work though he did splendid work in the movie.
    My point is that he has done enough for his bond movies. It is a high time, we need to give him some scope so that he works in some other movie of different genre and we as an audience gets an opportunity to appreciate him not as bond but as Daniel Craig.

  17. Mark Sieve says:

    What an excellent article about the Bond franchise, and SPECTRE. One of the better ones I’ve read in a long time! Mr. Wilson(Bond producer) said several years ago that every actor hired to play Bond was well cast to play the character during a certain time period. And…..as the article pointed out, Daniel Craig was very well cast after the “seriousness” of the years after 911. After seeing SPECTRE two times now there’s no doubt that Daniel Craig owns the role now. And, it would be most unfortunate if he would turn down a fifth Bond film. But….does Ms. Broccoli and Mr. Wilson feel that Craig’s more “serious” portrayal of Bond has run it’s course? As a Bond fan of over forty years, I say if Craig’s body holds out…..hire him for TWO more Bond films! He really is an EXCELLENT Bond. Right up there with Connery. Go for it!

  18. Devin Lee says:

    We hope Daniel Craig is not leaving, and I think they’ll find a new, not famous British actor as the next bond 007. So, now just let him relax, rest and enjoy his life.

  19. Linz callow says:

    As I remember from reading the books he had blond hair and blue eyes and Daniel Craig fits that bill

  20. I LOVE Daniel Craig as Bond ♡♡♡!! I never thought anyone could play with the caliber of Sean Connery….but he is right up there.
    I could watch one more, but if he has had enough…then so be it. I would be very disappointed but would understand his choice.
    Would like to see Idras Alba take on the role and run with it ♡♡ Quite interesting and with a new spin on it!!!

  21. tony says:

    craig has done great work for the series but time will come for him to leave soon.

    i think he has one more movie in him before they have to recast.
    rather that then him staying too long and aging in the role like moore.

    he should have left after ‘octopussy’.

  22. Anthony Thompson says:

    Daniel Craig has been the best Bond since Connery and Lazenby. He’ll be very difficult to replace; he brought a depth, credibility and gravitas to the character.

  23. Matt says:

    I have followed Daniel Craig as Bond ever since “Casino Royale,” and I love him. I think that he’s great as Bond. My favorite scene in any Bond film is when he meets Q for the first time in “SKYFALL.” In “SPECTRE,” we see them together even more. The chemistry developes so very amazing. Why would they now just end it. Right when him and Q are at there best. There both perfect together. Really lol, does anyone disagree???!!! Allow atleast 1 more film. We would all love a few more. But give us atleast 1 more. If they end it now…. I will be disappointed in the whole flippin franchise. Just when it starts getting good. “Casino Royal” was great at not only introducing a new Bond. But it was great at getting new comers. I wasn’t a fan till that one. “Quantum Of Solace” i have to say was my least favorite. But “SKYFALL?” It introduced the new Q and even Ralph Fiennes as the new M which I thought was amazing. Which I think Ralph Fiennes is one of the best actors of all time, especially before I knew who he was when I saw “Schindlers List.” But after “SKYFALL,” I said to my girlfriend at the time, “Now James Bond can begin.” I really hope that they don’t just end it 1 movie later.

  24. Steve Shaw says:

    I hope Daniel Craig stays in the roll. He actually made it believable he had the licence to kill. He looked realistic in the roll not some buffoon.

  25. Diane in Michigan says:

    James Bond in the Fleming books IS blonde! Craig’s portrayal is physically the most like the book but his characterization is a little too… intense. But I still think he’s a great updated Bond. Brosnin was the best Bond in the Broccoli franchise.

  26. Daniel Craig’s version of the real Ian Fleming’s assassin. James Bond is really the secret service agent of our times. the world in which we live-in now is serious and a new Generation of Bond Fans are looking for serious characters to defend the world against Evil people who have stepped-up their Game. one more bond movie Daniel, where waiting.

  27. Bill B. says:

    He now is filthy rich. He can do what he wants and make the films that he wants. He’s a talented guy & I am sure he is tired of playing the same role over and over again. Personally, I think he’s the best Bond ever, but they all had their charms with the exception of the terrible Roger Moore days.

  28. Heather says:

    I grew up watching Roger Moore and Sean Connery as James Bond and Daniel Craig is my favorite. Partly because he looks so different than the traditional Bond. If he declines future films, I think it would be a wonderfully bold move for the franchise to do something even more daring…a black or ethnic, (Indian?), Bond or better yet, a woman! Jane Bond…Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry..?:)

  29. Cooper says:

    “~an~ Heineken” Don’t you mean ‘an ‘eineken’?

  30. ana maria ferrari says:

    Concordo em que depois do Sean Connery, Daniel Craig desponta como o melhor no papel do James Bond… pena se deixar o personagem, atualmente não vejo nenhum ator passível do desempenho.

  31. Mark says:

    What an awful article statistics pulled out to suit the purpose. Both Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan have gone on to do other good work both critically and commercially successful. George Lazenby was not in the same league in terms of talent so he cannot be included to illustrate the point the writer is trying to emphasize. I am certain that Daniel Craig will go on to other good projects when he finally decides to leave Bond, he’s very watchable and varied as an actor and people respond to him. To say that he won’t get the offers is very misguided.

    • Je vizzusi says:

      Sean Connery has always worked before, in-between and after Bond. He even concocted his own JB brand with Never Say Never Again which was a disaster. And his oscar came in a hollywood production, The Untouchables. He is overwhelming so a incredible actor and in my eyes, the charismatic nature of this man made him the Bond figure I will never forget. Craig cannot and should not be compared with the other actors and he should be acknowledged for solid work and the fine actor he is as well.

  32. Dropzone says:

    Strike Back man. No ones better right now then one of those two.

  33. James says:

    Dragon Tattoo barely lost money and, from what I’d heard, was only $10 million dollars short of Sony’s projections. Which wouldn’t be as bad considering that the movie was a remake of a well known property that everyone loved and had a lot to prove. But because Sony is pretty famous for making bad decisions (including recently deciding to REBOOT the Dragon Tattoo series by adapting the new fourth book in the series and then going back to doing the second and third books), they decided not to continue with Fincher’s vision for the series. As for Cowboys and Aliens, Dream House and The Invasion, all three movies were either poorly conceived and had bad scripts but had directors of note and stars appearing in those films to warrant Craig’s involvement. Franchises like Bond always steal attention or overshadow other work. And that other work will probably never achieve the heights and attention of the Bond franchise. But, hopefully, an actor like Craig can sign on to work because he now doesn’t need to sign on for a paycheck and he can settle into the next stage of his career.

  34. Dropzone says:

    Either one of the guys who play in STRIKE BACK? Now seen in The Player ,and Blind Spot” both thos cats are totally coooooo

  35. NobodyofConsequence says:

    “if he leaves, they may go back to more of the tongue-in-cheek not overly serious approach.”

    This article just convinced me that Craig leaving would actually be fantastic for the series. So cheers for that Brent!

  36. Je vizzusi says:

    Craig is doing solid work and deserves that credit. And few of us will ever get close to such a huge production and franchise. Its built in stardom. Even if they hate you such as early Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton. Craig has never fullfilled that incredible charisma of Sean Connery. The edge Mendes give him saves him from his average looks. The toll on him is showing… or just wanting to retire in the French Riviera is not a bad idea.I think they need to find a new face and get away from the overwhelming action.. maybe that would give the next James Bond a little more leg.

  37. Bond will always belong in the 1960s, he is not an enduring character like Sherlocke Holmes. Even the entire premise of saving the world is open to question in this day and age. That they have kept churning out profitable movies for 40+ years long past their relevance is remarkable in itself but for me the real Bond should have died in OHMSS in 1969.

    • Stella says:

      That’s exactly what Lazenby thought when he turned down a second Bond film. He later considered that to be the worst decision of his life. Bond is *the* most enduring character in cinema.. save perhaps for Godzilla or something. The old formula kept him alive and well for over forty years. It’d be nice to have it back and dispence with the pretence that the films are ‘super serious’ now…

  38. Ben Affleck would make a great James Bond He’s going to do wonders for the upcoming Batman movie …..LOL

  39. So he’d be “stupid” to give up a franchise? Why? If he’s not happy making the movie, it’s not like he’s hard up for cash. He has more money than I could even imagine spending. He has had a great film career and has many great roles ahead of him. Some nobody who writes for Variety is going to give Daniel Craig advice on a career that he built and has made literally MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of dollars from?

  40. Ken says:

    You mention filmography clunkers like COWBOYS AND ALIENS and DREAM HOUSE…but you didn’t mention his awesome perfs in movies like LOVE IS THE DEVIL, LAYER CAKE or INFAMOUS. Mr. Craig is a damn fine actor. While I would miss him as “Bond” (he’s great), the man obviously has more than enough $$$ now, and just would prefer to do stage work or film roles that may be more meaningful and artistically challenging. Why chastize him? Let him do his thing. Thanks.

  41. Carlton Kent says:

    People have talked about the lack of humor with Daniel’s 007. I think that’s really a decision of the writers. Craig is a talented actor and could do humor well. He just needs a script that has him do that.

  42. I am ready for a new actor to play James Bond 007. I did not like Daniel Craig’s performance in SPECTRE and through-out the entire movie I kept thinking how Clive Owen would have been in the secret agent role. A handsome lead actor is everything to a James Bond movie, one that can convey emotion and show facial expression. The body, the chest, the face, the smile, the voice, the hair or toupee, a sense of humor, has a lot to do with a James Bond role these days. Let the search begin.

  43. Nicolas Martin says:

    I’d be delighted for Craig to go, and even more delighted if he were replaced by Jack Davenport.

  44. Roy says:

    I definitely think they’ve established a solid foundation for Bond of the 21st century. I do agree that in the next film they need to let go of the past and have fun Bond outing reminiscent of Casino Royale maybe go after some remnants of Spectre/Quantum if Craig returns for one last outing. The next film should be all about the transition to the new Bond, Craig’s Bond “dies” at the end, 007 program decides to keep his cover name as a tribute for his work and re-use it for the new actor. Craig’s Bond sets sail with Moneypenny and they do a modern reboot with new actor and new take on Bond in Bond 26.

  45. bambam says:

    But anyways, how about, if he really wants to go out, do it this way: The end of the next film, James Bond dies. Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny picks up the mantle and becomes the new 007 for at least one film. If it works out, then we have a run of 007 movies without James Bond — Naomie Harris is Agent 007 Moneypenny. They could run with that for one or more movies, and then she goes back to being Moneypenny when they find a new 007 (or when/if a female 007 doesn’t go over well). The new 007 will of course have to change his name and identity to James Bond from whatever it was. Maybe *that* James Bond can be some former enemy spy that turns — former Russian maybe? That could set up a whole raft of new plot ideas.

    • MissAnthropy says:

      That is a pretty bad idea. Having a women as 007 would pretty damn awful. James Bond is a man, that’s the point. Certain roles are meant for men and certain roles are meant for women. Evergreen Katniss would not work with a young boy in the role. I am a woman and I would never ever ever watch it.

    • That is maybe the worst idea I’ve ever heard.

  46. bambam says:

    OH NO YOU DID NOT JUST DISS SPICE WORLD!!! Don’t make me set my baby down.

  47. I hope he does quit…I haven’t watched a Bond film since he started doing them…and will never watch any of the ones he is in…

    • Jules Bonaka says:

      I will agree here, have never watched a DC Bond movie and i will not ever because he does not look the bond role! Bond does not look like an alcoholic, Daniel does.

    • Honesty says:

      And there is proof that you’re an idiot.

    • JOE S HILL says:

      I Thought i was the only one who also disliked the Daniel Craig Bonds-there’s hope in the world,afterall!!
      now,if MGM can return the Bond Franchise back to United Artists,then that would make a HUGE difference!

  48. Robin says:

    No! I love him as Bond. Please dont go we love you as an actor.

  49. Island Planet says:

    I enjoyed Spectre, but I don’t think I can handle another Bond film where a psychopath is bent on world domination. Everything works in cycles including Bond so maybe they need a re-cast and new attitude for Bond next time.

    Maybe a ‘pre-bond’. Where all the characters are in College being recruited by brand new MI5 in WWI. Cast them all super young. Hell this is writing itself!

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