Daniel Craig Reveals Greatest James Bond Regret

Ever since his triumphant debut in Casino Royale, Daniel Craig has had mixed feelings about playing James Bond. Looking back, his biggest regret isn't what you'd think.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time to Die.
Photo: MGM

“I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists.” That’s the shocking answer Daniel Craig gave to Time Out when asked about doing another James Bond movie. While certainly extreme, such an answer isn’t too much of a surprise today. After all, Craig played Bond in five movies over 15 years, with his take culminating with the most definitive of endings in the last entry, No Time to Die. But that exchange with Time Out did not happen in 2022, or even 2021. It happened in 2015, shortly before the release of his penultimate Bond movie, Spectre.

Along with his electrifying portrayal of a vulnerable and morally complex 007, comments such as these were a mainstay of Craig’s Bond run. A little-known character actor thrown into leading-man stardom for 2006’s Casino Royale, Craig has always had an ambivalent relationship with his most famous role. It wasn’t helped by the fact that he suffered numerous injuries throughout the process, including rupturing both calf muscles while shooting Skyfall. Craig was not shy in talking with the press about these issues, generally expressing his unhappiness with the experience.

But looking back on the role today, Craig has a different, but not unrelated, regret. “I’m pissed off at myself that I ever even spoke about them,” he told the L.A. Times in regards to openly talking about his many injuries on set. “It’s my fault because I kind of didn’t shut up about the fact that I had all these injuries,” he confessed. This new perspective stems not from an acceptance of the regiment he was put through, but from the way he distracted from what he considers the real work of the role. “The physical side of the movies was just the job,” he explained. “I had to do it. I trained, learned the fights, that’s kind of my brain not working.”

In contrast to the more physical part of the role, Craig takes much greater pride in the creative energy he devoted to those films. “I put way more work into the creative side of those movies than I did into the physical side of those movies,” he explained. “[T]he look, the feel, the kind of the temperature of the movies, getting Sam Mendes in to direct Skyfall, that’s where the hard work was.”

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To be sure, Craig is right to be proud of those efforts. During his tenure as 007, the actor helped transform a character stuck in the 60s into something exciting and relevant. His movies connected with fans both new and old (despite some initial griping from the latter about his blond hair). And while the action in those films was certainly striking, most come away from his Bond remembering the character development and drama.

Does this new perspective mean that Craig would consider a sixth go at Bond? “I don’t want to go back,” Craig stated, flatly and without flourish. “I suppose I should be so lucky if they were to ask me back, but the fact is I need to move on from it.” Time may have brought a new appreciation for his time as Bond, and a more tempered way to describe his feelings, but some things never change.