Monday, March 2, 2015

A Woman’s Bond: Craig. Daniel Craig….Day 61 of Bond 365

Daniel Craig's James Bond piqued women's interest
Daniel Craig
Born this day in 1968
James Bond in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre

“Pass the smelling salts: Women around the world rejoiced Daniel had been chosen as Bond when this 2006 photo emerged,” a Daily Mail article caption said. Having sat through a number of James Bond presentations at the annual conference I attend each year, one thing I can say is that there is more feminine interest in James Bond with the blue-eyed Daniel Craig wearing the tux and Speedo than any of the other men of the past films. Where the Bond films have been a more gentlemanly pursuit, from what I have witnessed, times are changing and more women have taken to the recent films, starting with Casino Royale in 2006. How did Craig arrive at this point? Was there a Craig before Bond?

According to IMDB, Craig’s first role was Sgt. Botha in the 1992 movie The Power of One. He must have played a pretty small part because he was not listed with the main group of actors, but rather on the full list of cast and crew. From that role, he moved to the small screen and did a lot of television movies and series, with a big screen movie thrown in every so often. In 1996, he played Geordie Peacock in Our Friends in the North (1996) for eight episodes, which put him higher in the list than Malcolm McDowell who was in five episodes.

Craig in the Bond uniform
In 1997, he had his first break out role as John MacHale, one-third of a love triangle in Obsession. He was front and center on the cover of the DVD and had his name above the title. The following year in Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon, he took second billing to Sir Derek Jacobi and was Jacobi’s love interest in this biography about Bacon. Of note, Craig and the new Q Ben Whishaw starred together in The Trench (1999) about World War I (they paired up again in the 2004 for Enduring Love). As I looked at each film, quite a few were love/obsession oriented, Craig usually playing a younger love interest to an older woman (or man).

Although not a critical hit but entertaining, I do think that Craig received quite a bit of notice in Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) when he played fellow competitor adventurer, Alex West. He got to play some action sequences and show off his physique during a shower scene. This was probably a turning point in his career.

He went on to have a role in Road to Perdition (2002), Layer Cake (2004), The Jacket (2005), Steven Spielberg’s Munich (2005), the edgy animated Renaissance (2006), and Infamous (2006), a story about Truman Capote. His third outing in 2006 was of course Casino Royale, where Craig definitely became a bona fide international star as the most recognized British secret agent in the world.

Craig as the English version of Mikael Blomkvist
Since Casino Royale, Craig has become entrenched in the Bond world. He has completed two more Bond films – Quantum of Solace (2008) and Skyfall (2012) – as well as lending his voice and likeness to the video game market. He completed the Quantum of Solace video game in 2008, James Bond 007: Blood Stone (2010), and GoldenEye 007 (2010). However, he only approved his likeness for the train wreck known as 007 Legends (2012).

Naturally, there have been roles outside of Bond. Craig was particularly busy in 2011. He became Jake Lonergan in Cowboys & Aliens, the graphic novel turned into a film, lent his voice in Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin, starred in the creepy thriller Dream House with his wife Rachel Weisz, and as journalist Mikael Blomkvist in the English version of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I do feel that Swedish version starring Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace is a superior interpretation of Larsson’s book, however I thought Craig put in a strong performance. I think part of the weakness of the English version was its deviation from the book, which I cannot fault Craig for – that said, I do actually hope the rumored The Girl Who Played with Fire will come to fruition for Craig in the next couple of years.

Admittedly, Craig does seem to be slowing down on his projects and those that he is working on are Bond related (confirmed anyway). It will be interesting to see what he does after he hangs up his tux, but that may be at least another couple of years out since he is listed for a yet to be named Bond 25.

© Copyright. Michele Brittany. 2011 - 2015. All rights reserved. All text, graphics, and photos are protected by US and International Copyright Laws, and may not be copied, reprinted, published, translated, hosted, or otherwise distributed by any means without written permission.

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