Rankin interviews Daniel Craig, who opens up about his initial reluctance to take on the role of James Bond and explains why he is currently yearning to chop wood and paint walls.
The first time I saw Daniel Craig was in Sharpe’s Rifles. But the first time I thought, “That guy is amazing,” was in the film The Mother, well before he became James Bond. I remember making a note to find out more about this actor. He was incredible – clearly someone who could take on any role and morph into the most challenging character.
This is the second time I have shot Craig – the first time was for Casino Royale, and looking very much how everyone would expect him to. I wanted to shoot him for the cover of The Hunger because I wanted to show him in a more unexpected way, and do something intimate and simple, but more creative.
Craig doesn’t play the game. He covets his private life, and is known for not embracing the media. I love this about him. It’s rare to come across a major celebrity who resists the media circus with such dignity and success, picking his choices carefully and keeping at arm’s length. It only makes him more intriguing and adds to the enigma.
You’ve said in the past that you’d rather go to the dentist than do interviews – is that true?
When I went to drama school, the idea of becoming famous was not on the agenda, it was just about working, acting and finding a job that I loved. The fame part was secondary. I left drama school and started making movies immediately, but I didn’t become famous, I just became a jobbing actor. And then fame comes along and there’s no real lesson, you have to learn on the hoof, and the whole idea of talking about myself, or exposing myself in that way, just seemed, and still does, so alien to me. The tits and teeth thing I can’t really do, the turning it on, making it, “You want a show? I’ll give you a show right now” – I can’t really do that, I feel that’s anathema to me.
I last saw you when I shot you before Casino Royale came out. I remember you saying, “Why did I decide to do Bond?”
It was because things like that come along rarely, if at all, and when they do you have to give them serious consideration. I was incredibly reluctant to do it because I didn’t want to be thrown into the lion’s den. But there was this huge opportunity being offered to me and if I wasn’t going to do it, what was I going to do? And this gave me the opportunity to do something that was going to take me completely out of my comfort zone and put me on a path and send me somewhere else. I said no at first. I was like, “Fuck off, go away, I don’t want anything to do with it.” And eventually I said, “Let’s just do it. Let’s see what happens.”
Read more of this interview in Issue 3, out now, subscribe here.