After Die Another Day failed to hit the set expectations, becoming one of the lowest-rated entries in the franchise, GoldenEye director Martin Campbell was brought back into the mix to reinvent 007. This resulted in Campbell bringing in Daniel Craig as the next 007, who’d cement himself as the best Bond since Sean Connery’s iconic run as the British Spy.
However, not everything regarding Craig’s casting was perfect from the get-go, as despite Campbell’s adoration for the actor’s brilliance, Craig’s look was a matter of concern for the makers.
Daniel Craig’s Rugged Look Initially Held Him Back From Securing 007
Unlike Pierce Brosnan, Sean Connery, and other 007 Stars, who were more good-looking in the traditional sense, Daniel Craig was tougher and ruggeder, which didn’t initially sit well with fans. Even though Martin Campbell would be eventually won over by The Trench Star’s charm, he recently admitted that Craig’s lack of a traditional Bond look was a matter of concern for him and the other makers. This factor would be reflected among fans at the time, who weren’t completely on board with Craig’s initial casting as 007, but things would drastically shift after Casino Royale hit the screens. Campbell told Express.
“My only reticence with Daniel… he was really a superb actor, there’s no doubt about that… it was the fact that with people like Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Pierce Brosnan was that they were all traditional looking Bonds. All handsome guys, all sexy, all very attractive to women, and so forth. Daniel was Express tougher and ruggeder, but he wasn’t a traditional handsome guy. So I just thought about that for a minute and apart from that, absolutely it was always him.”
To say that Campbell’s decision to shift away from the formulaic approach of casting 007 actors worked out in the end would be an understatement.
Daniel Craig Reflects on Dealing With the Initial Backlash
While Daniel Craig had his hesitancies taking the iconic gig, when he eventually agreed to star in Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale, the initial reception from Bond purists was less than pleasing. But the Knives Out Star didn’t let the unwanted scrutiny get under his skin despite being bothered by it. Looking back at the initial hate with 5 successful Bond flicks under his belt, Craig explained to Kevin Polowy,
“Of course, I was bothered by it. But there was nothing I could do. It’s like [the saying goes], ‘Control the things that you can control.’ All I could do was make a good movie, or attempt to make a good movie and say, ‘There you go.’ And if they didn’t like it, then I don’t know, that’s all I had to give.”
With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to see why Campbell was so fixated on bringing Craig in despite the lack of a traditional Bond look, who reinvented the iconic spy for the new generation.
Casino Royale is available to rent on Apple TV.