Daniel Craig takes his final bow as James Bond in the U.S. this week with No Time to Die, which marks the end of a 15-year run as MI6’s foremost secret agent. While that time has seen Craig reach many highs as the character, there have also definitely been some lows. The talented and outspoken actor has never minced words about those lows, either.
When asked by Time Out in 2015 whether he’d consider doing another Bond film just days after completing the Spectre shoot, Craig infamously replied, “Now? I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists. No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.”
Not the type of statement you’d expect from the face of a multi-billion-dollar franchise, especially in the age of Marvel Studios where big-name stars are too afraid to say anything that might turn out to be a breach of contract, but Craig’s always marched to the beat of his own drum, just like his Bond, and we love him for it.
Now the actor is speaking up again, this time about the tortured production that resulted in his second big-screen outing as 007, Quantum of Solace, which is generally considered to be the weakest installment of the Craig era (and one of the worst Bond films of all time).
“The trouble with [Quantum of Solace], it was a bit of a shit-show, to say the least, the full weight of it was there I kind of think that made me probably lock up,” Craig told Empire (via IndieWire).
It’s no secret that Quantum of Solace, a direct sequel to Casino Royale, a much better Bond film, had many problems, including a writer’s strike behind the scenes that forced director Marc Forster to begin filming without a finished script.
“We had the bare bones of a script and then there was a writers’ strike and there was nothing we could do. We couldn’t employ a writer to finish it. I say to myself, ‘Never again,’ but who knows? There was me trying to rewrite scenes—and a writer I am not,” Craig told Collider in 2011, explaining that he and Forster “were the ones allowed to do it. The rules were that you couldn’t employ anyone as a writer, but the actor and director could work on scenes together. We were stuffed. We got away with it, but only just. It was never meant to be as much of a sequel as it was, but it ended up being a sequel, starting where the last one finished.”
The messy way in which the script was developed wasn’t the only problem for Craig, who also revealed to Empire that he was still learning how to deal with the massive weight of the Bond role, something he feels affected his performance in Quantum.
“I would sort of yearn [for] the person I was when I did Casino. Too much knowledge sometimes is not a good thing. I was sort of in the dark about a lot of things, about how things worked, the mechanics of it, how the world really viewed Bond — all of those things. I just didn’t understand them. Then I started to understand them, the weight of it sort of bore down.”
Indeed, the pressure that comes with being the face of such a massive franchise is something no one can truly understand unless they’re in the star’s shoes. But Craig’s performance is hardly the biggest problem with the movie.
The film’s biggest crime is that it’s just so dull. From the desert backdrops that were used for the final act to the sterile environments where middling Bond villain Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) executes his convoluted evil plan, there isn’t really anything interesting to look at in Marc Forster’s first and only 007 film. It probably didn’t help that Forster had to contend with the storytelling baggage of Casino Royale.
For better or worse, Quantum of Solace is the movie that truly established the Craig era’s continuity, with a SPECTRE-like secret organization working against MI6 at every turn, and Bond enduring the heartache of a very bad break up with Vesper Lynd in the last movie. So for a rebound, he and the rebellious Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko) go to Bolivia. Their mission: stop a coup d’état that could give Quantum a major foothold in South America. What proceeds…isn’t all that fun. In fact, it’s a chore to watch, especially after the much better (and initially standalone) Skyfall set the franchise back on track.
Well, Craig thinks Quantum was a chore to make too, and now that No Time to Die is here and he can finally retire his license to kill, there’s nothing stopping him from speaking his mind.
“Maybe I’ll be remembered as the Grumpy Bond,” Daniel Craig told The New York Times last week. “I’m quite satisfied with that.”
No Time to Die is out now in the UK and opens in theaters the US on Oct. 8.