Martin Campbell is one of a few directors of two James Bond actors within the franchise in Pierce Brosnan in 1995's GoldenEye and his successor in Daniel Craig in 2006's Casino Royale. I spoke with Campbell while promoting his latest psychological thriller, Memory, for Open Road Films. He broke down his action outings from his leads and how he felt about Craig's final outing as 007 in 2021's No Time to Die, which saw the actor retire from the role and saw a shocking first for the franchise the main character's death.
"I've worked with Pierce, both in 'Goldeneye' and 'The Foreigner,'" Campbell said when comparing some of his previous films with the upcoming Liam Neeson-starred film. "[In the latter], he had a much more complex character in that and Jackie [Chan], of course. 'The Foreigner' isn't really an action film but has action in it. So this movie [Memory] is a psychological thriller. There's action in it, spurts of action in it, but really, I wouldn't define it as an action film. I would say it's more a psychological thriller and character-driven, I feel. Obviously, a complex and Interesting plot. There are surprises in it, and I think there's hopefully enough action there to satisfy those. It's not 'Taken,' obviously. Hopefully, there's enough action in there to keep those who like action to keep them satisfied."
When Campbell helped usher Craig into the Bond role for Casino Royale, it was a harder and grittier reboot of the character from the hammy one-liners and more gadget-dependent predecessors. Craig's success in the role generated the franchise's biggest box office draws, including 2012's Skyfall, the only film to ever break $1 billion globally. Upon CR's release in 2006, it already set the franchise record globally then at the box office then at $594 million, not adjusted for inflation. "I think it's fine, honestly," Campbell said about his thoughts on No Time to Die. "His death and so forth, which I'm sure Daniel had a say in. I think for some time, he always kind of felt that was the kind of where this would end up or certainly his reign as Bond. That's where it would end up. I think it was right. I mean, I actually enjoyed the movie, and it seemed to me an absolutely fitting end to his arc, if you will, and they can start new Bond. He'll be called James Bond and they will ignore the fact he died in that one [laughs]. So whoever made whoever the next actor is, it's fine. You go on and it will keep going on and will continue to be successful."
Memory, which also stars Monica Bellucci, Guy Pearce, Ray Stevenson, Taj Atwal, Ray Fearon, and Harold Torres comes exclusively to theaters on April 29th.