Daniel Craig’s time as James Bond got off to a rocky start. Even before he donned the impeccably tailored tux, Craig faced casting backlash from fans who felt he wasn’t worthy of the role. Even future Skyfall and Spectre director Sam Mendes didn’t think Craig as Bond was good casting. Fifteen years and five films later, it’s safe to say Craig has won over the critics and earned his title as one of the best Bonds ever. There’s a chance none of that would have happened if longtime James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson hadn’t stood by Craig, which he said makes them “special.”
Daniel Craig had doubts about playing ‘James Bond’
Just as fans were vocally doubtful about Craig playing Bond, the British actor was hesitant to take on the role.
First, he didn’t believe Bond producers Broccoli and Wilson were even looking to replace Pierce Brosnan as Bond. When he read for the part, Craig refused to play the part like any of the actors before him. Then, he worried about losing any shred of anonymity he had. Finally, he was incensed when they offered him the part. Then he read the script and signed on the dotted line.
Even if Craig couldn’t see it at the time, the longtime James Bond producers saw something in him. Amid the wave of backlash, Craig said he, Wilson, and Broccoli formed a familial (ahem) bond.
Craig says ‘Bond’ producers sticking by him was ‘special’
Fifteen years after he took over as the world’s suavest spy (and nearly as long after that initial backlash died down), No Time to Die in 2021 was Craig’s final turn as Bond. Craig’s time as James Bond is marked by a gritty 007 and a string of box office hits.
But for Craig, his decade-and-a-half is marked by the relationships he built with everyone who worked on the films, especially longtime Bond producers Broccoli and Wilson.
While promoting the coronavirus (COVID-19)-delayed film in 2021, Craig told Jimmy Fallon (via YouTube) that Broccoli and Wilson never wavered in their support of him.
“They make a family, and like any family, there’s ups and downs, a little bit of back-and-forth, which is great. But ultimately, we’ve got each other’s backs, and we’re looking out for each other. And that’s really the — you know, that’s what makes them so special.”
“I mean, every movie is a creative process, and you kind of have great — you know, I love my job, so every day is great for me. But when you’re on a Bond movie, you kind of realize this is — it’s special. There’s nothing quite like it,” Craig added. “And then you’ve got all that talent around you, and this passionate — particularly on [No Time to Die] — from every department, they were just sort of willing it to be the best movie we could make.”
Now the producers need to find a new leading man
Now that Craig has left the role behind, the question is, who’s the next James Bond?
The answer is equally concise: Who really knows?
As Esquire noted, the list of actors who might potentially play James Bond is about as long as the runtime for the previous 25 movies put together. The list includes certifiable stars such as Tom Hardy, Tom Holland, and Robert Pattinson, Bridgerton actors Tom Hopper and René-Jean Page, and a slew of British-born gentlemen.
The Bond movies aren’t going to stop anytime soon (if ever), but Broccoli hasn’t even considered who will fill Craig’s shoes. Yet, if history is any indication, whoever plays 007 next will have a group of Bond producers standing by their side deflecting criticism and giving praise the way a family member would.
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