Even after 15 years as the head of one of the biggest franchises ever, Daniel Craig can still find himself surprised. As his final bow as Bond approaches, with “No Time to Die” hitting U.S. theaters on Oct. 8 after nearly two years of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Craig will also be receiving another iconic honor: a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 6.
“The idea that my name will be alongside those of so many actors who have inspired me during my life is really quite incomprehensible and not something I could have ever imagined,” Craig tells Variety. “So all I can really say is that it is an enormous, mind-boggling privilege to have been invited to join the road.”
A recent clip from the Apple TV Plus documentary “Being James Bond” shows the actor in 2019, on his final day on set as 007, emotionally addressing the cast and crew — many of whom, he says, have worked on all five films. He tells those assembled: “I’ve loved every single second.”
It’s the end of an era for Craig, who saw himself catapulted from a respected stage and screen actor — one who had already worked with the likes of Steven Spielberg twice — into an international superstar. When “Casino Royale” hit theaters in 2006, it marked the dawn of a new kind of James Bond: a grittier, more realistic, even fallible version of the spy.
Though Bond is as cool as it comes, Craig recently admitted to being a nervous wreck for that first film. In a conversation for Variety with Mads Mikkelsen, who played Bond’s nemesis Le Chiffre, Craig recalled, “I can’t imagine the person I was that you saw back then, because I was so uptight — not uptight — you know, jangling nerves about everything. Because everything was just so important.”
Mikkelsen reminded Craig of the first time they met — they were doing costume fittings and Craig was already cast but Mikkelsen thought he would be auditioning. Director Martin Campbell walked past them and told Mikkelsen he could go home, he had the part. Recalled Mikkelsen: “You took a drag of your cigarette and you said the famous words, ‘Who did you fuck? I did six castings for this.’”
Mikkelsen also told Craig that he was never worried. “There was not one second that was in doubt that you would be the best Bond ever since we did the first scene together,” praised Mikkelsen.
Many would agree — Craig is the only actor to be nominated for a BAFTA Award for playing Bond, for “Casino Royale.” And his four films in the role — “Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace,” “Skyfall” and “Spectre” — have grossed more than $2 billion worldwide.
Craig has also proven there is life outside Bond, tackling a wide variety of roles and genres that have made him impossible to typecast, working with directing greats including David Fincher (“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”) and Steven Soderbergh (“Lucky Logan”). Perhaps his best-known part outside the tuxedo is that of Benoit Blanc, the clever detective at the center of Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out,” a role that earned him a Golden Globe nomination and that he will reprise in an upcoming, star-studded sequel. He’s also made a point to return to the stage — most recently he played Iago in a 2016 Off Broadway production of “Othello” and it was just announced that he will star in the title role of “Macbeth” on Broadway next spring.
But he will miss 007, as he recently admitted on “The Graham Norton Show.”
“I’m glad to be ending it on my own terms. I’m grateful to the producers for letting me do that,” he said. “But I sure miss it. I’ll probably be incredibly bitter when the new person takes over.”
WHAT: Daniel Craig receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Oct. 6
WHERE: 7007 Hollywood Blvd.