Now that we're four movies in its kind of hard to imagine that Casino Royale was something of a risky move when it first came out. The James Bond movies had just finished on a bit of a bad note with Die Another Day and there was a four-year gap between the new and the old. The James Bond movies hadn't really explored the origin of the character of James Bond and when Daniel Craig was given the opportunity to explore this character he took the chance. During a screening of Casino Royale on 35MM at the New York City's Museum of Modern Art Craig did a Q&A (via IndieWire) where he talked about what he wanted to do with this character now that he was getting the opportunity to explore him from a new angle.
"I wanted to explore some of the things that had gone before," Craig told MoMA film curator Rajendra Roy during the chat. "Clearly he's suave and sophisticated, but I realized he couldn't be that at the beginning. I had this chance to start over and say, 'Who is this character?' Unless it was something based in reality, I couldn't figure out how to play it. To say, 'The name's Bond, James Bond' … how do you do that? It's got to mean something or otherwise it's just a repeat of what someone else has done. I wanted to find the emotional heart."
Craig went on to say that we all know the basics of a James Bond story, the world will be in peril and Bond will save the day, but what he wanted to do that other movies didn't always do was explore the moments that happen in between.
"We know the world needs saving at the beginning of a Bond movie and that it will be saved at the end, so what happens in between? Is there a moment where we're in doubt about this character? In doubt over his safety, his personal life … load it up with that and then the movie becomes a bit more relatable. He's a killer. That's his job, and if that's not complicated, I don't know what is. He tries to do the right thing, but at the end of the day he takes people's lives."
A comment was made about Craig being the "least horny Bond" [to which Craig replied with "how dare you"] but Craig went on to talk about the place that women have in this new series of Bond movies including a Bond that has loved and lost.
"I wanted the characters who were women to mean something," he said. "It was very important to lift what they had been. I hope we've done that in these five movies. And so that means sex isn't always the endgame. It's part of it. Sex and death are always closely related in these stories, going back to the original books, where everyone's a bit turned on doing all this stuff. That wasn't the go-to. I wanted a twist to it: he falls in love, he's heartbroken, he's actually pushing someone away. It had to have meaning."
This is not to say that Bond hasn't lost someone before, his wife infamously died in On Her Majesty's Secret Service and while the death was acknowledged in For Your Eyes Only we don't really get to see him grapple with it. Craig wanted to make the romances in this new series of movies mean something more than a brief sex scene or a marriage that lasts five seconds and then isn't really commented on after that.
No Time To Die, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, stars Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Ralph Fiennes, Lea Seydoux, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Jeffrey Wright, Dali Benssalah, Billy Magnussen, Ana De Armas, David Dencik, and Lashana Lynch. It is scheduled to be released on November 25, 2020.