Daniel Craig almost gave up James Bond moniker before No Time to Die

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Dr No, the very first James Bond film starring Sean Connery, was released on October 6, 1962. Marking the 60th anniversary of the spy’s first cinematic appearance, the franchise’s producers have revealed how they had to convince Daniel Craig to take on his final Bond film.

Craig is one of seven actors to have portrayed James Bond over the decades.

Since the first instalment, fans have seen David Niven, Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan also adopt the moniker.

When Craig was cast for 2006’s Casino Royale — replacing Pierce Brosnan — fans were initially enraged by the choice simply due to the fact that the new Bond actor was a natural blonde unlike his predecessors. 

Spectacularly, Connery stepped in to save the day, proclaiming Craig as a “terrific choice” and was proved undeniably correct once the first film came out. 

The actor continued as Bond for 15 years, starring in five films, but producers Barbara Brocolli and Michael G Wilson recently revealed that the actor was looking to settle with just four. 

2021’s No Time to Die was the 25th Bond film to be released and concluded with the death of the iconic spy, to the dismay of many. 

But Craig wanted this to have happened sooner, in 2015’s Spectre, and had expressed hopes of killing off his character from the release of his first Bond film.

The actor endured the longest stint as Bond, with Connery taking a decade-long break between Diamonds Are Forever and his final film Never Say Never Again. 

Craig’s wishes left fans questioning if each of his films would be the last.  

Shortly before Spectre’s release in 2015 Craig dramatically told TimeOut he would “rather break this glass and slash my wrists” than do another Bond film at the time, noting: “I’m over it at the moment. We’re done.”

The Knives Out actor also said there would be only one reason he would embark on another Bond experience: “I’m not in discussion with anybody about anything. If I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money.”

He also admitted he thought his original casting was “ludicrous”, adding: “I just thought: You’ve made a mistake. I don’t know, it’s still crazy.”

Spectre ended with Bond retiring his guns, and the producer had to plead with him to come back for the 2021 installment. 

on The Empire Film Podcast with Chris Hewitt, Broccoli claimed that Craig had spoken to her during the filming of Spectre saying: “You know, this is it. I don’t want to do anymore. I think we should kill me off.”

Spectre’s ending was reportedly designed to have left fans satisfied with Bond’s retirement whilst not completely eradicating the possibility of future installments. 

After letting Craig rest for a bit, Broccoli brought up the topic of another film, nudging him: “You know it’s not the end of the story. You can’t go out like that. It’s a great starting place to see Bond in retirement and how would he deal with it. So let’s think about that.” 

The actor reluctantly agreed to think about it and No Time to Die was created, although it’s release date would be pushed back twice. 

The Coronavirus pandemic muddled the Bond teams’ plans, as the film was pushed back three times, originally meant to hit screens in April 2020. 

However, the cast, crew and studio were reportedly adamant about releasing the film in cinema rather than selling it to a streaming service and chose to wait out the pandemic until it was finally released in September 2021. 

Regardless of his original hesitation to do carry out his fifth installment as Bond, Craig was evidently proud of the final creation. 

He told Empire he had “wanted to throw the kitchen sink at this one”, as it was now a definite fact that No Time to Die would be his final Bond appearance

Over his 15 years in the role, Craig csaid he had never got stressed, but that he had put a lot of pressure on himself because “it’s James Bond. It’s one of the biggest things in my life.”

The actor “mourned” the more nonchalant approach he had to acting when he took on Casino Royale as he was just 38 when he donned Bond’s suit. 

Now, the 54-year-old has moved on to a remarkably similar franchise role in Knives Out, playing detective Benoit Blanc, and will utilise his sleuthing skills in the sequel, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, released at the end of this year. 

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