Around this time, rumors had begun to swirl about Craig becoming the next actor to play the role of legendary spy James Bond. Fans, who were used to previous Bonds played by actors such as Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan, objected to having Craig in the part. Many fans felt he was too blond or too old. Film critics believed that, for a serious stage-trained actor like Craig, playing Bond would be an ill-advised move. But Craig believed it was a great opportunity, agreeing to a five-film contract.
What would the people who knew him back then say about his becoming a sex symbol? Craig’s raucous laughter is loud enough now to fill any pub back in Liverpool. “If people want to think of me that way, that’s great,” Craig says. “But the truth is, I don’t have a connection with that image.” So, what was he thinking when he posed for the now-famous beefcake photo of Bond emerging from the surf in a Speedo? The shot swept the Internet in 2006, just when he was being introduced as the new 007.
“I was being objectified, but actually that’s not a bad thing to feel,” he says with a laugh. “I knew exactly what was going on when I did that shot. There’s a conscious decision to everything I do. For me to say, ‘Oh, God! I didn’t realize that would happen!’ sounds incredibly naïve. I look at that picture, and my only thought now is that I certainly don’t look like that anymore. For Quantum of Solace, I made a decision that I wanted to get bigger and get muscles, because Bond is older and has probably been training.” It’s unlikely though, that any subtle change in physique will alter his appeal. “As I keep saying, I’m 40 now, and in five years’ time or even less, sex symbol might be a really kind of weird term to attach to myself. How about sexy father figure?” he suggests.
For Craig, playing Bond seems to be as much an athletic endeavor as an acting challenge. He played rugby as a schoolboy in Liverpool—and talking about that time, he softens. His mother, an art teacher, and his father, who ran a pub, divorced when he was 4 years old. When I ask if his love of performing stems from those early days in his father’s pub, his blue eyes crinkle with joy. “Oh, you’ve found me out,” he says. “I’ve always loved to dress up a bit and show off. There was also a great theater company in Liverpool called Everyman, where I hung out as a kid. It was one of the major influences on me.”
And while Craig is the first to say he’s not doing this on his own –- “I’m standing with a whole bunch of incredibly talented, committed people, without them you don’t exist” –- it’s clear he takes his part seriously, as he outlined the routine that has been his daily lot since they started shooting:
“We’re here about seven in the morning, start work at eight, work until about 8:30 p.m., then I go to the gym for 40 minutes in the evening, and then I go home to bed.”
Daniel Craig has defended James Bond's new partnership with Dutch beer company Heineken (reportedly worth $45 million), calling it “an unfortunate” but necessary part of making a movie on the scale of "Skyfall."
Taking a break from the set where the 23rd Bond film is currently in production, the actor explained, "We have relationships with a number of companies so that we can make this movie. The simple fact is that, without them, we couldn’t do it. It’s unfortunate but that’s how it is. He added that "This movie costs a lot of money to make, it costs as nearly as much again if not more to promote, so we go where we can. The great thing is that Bond is a drinker, he always has been, it’s part of who he is, rightly or wrongly, you can make your own judgement about it, having a beer is no bad thing, in the movie it just happens to be Heineken.
One of the hottest rumors in the pre-Opening Ceremony buzz was that Daniel Craig would kick-off the event that serves as the official launch of the London Olympics. It turned out to be true ... sort of. A pre-recorded skit -- directed, of course, by Danny Boyle (the celebrated filmmaker helming the entire ceremony) -- featured Craig in character as James Bond. He traveled to Buckingham Palace, where he was notified that his new mission was to launch the Olympiad. The Queen -- and her corgis -- also appeared in the bit, which was notable not just for its star-wattage but for the nearly unprecedented access Boyle and his cameras were given. Private rooms within the residence were shown, a testament to the nation's commitment to making the evening a special one.
He sports a pair of tattoos, now, on his inner biceps that may or may not have some connection with his new wife. On his right arm are words, on the left a symbol.
"They are," he points out, somewhat superfluously, "mine. They're two very personal tattoos."
They look new.
"Yes, they are. They're just part of a stage I'm in," he laughs. "You should see the rest of my body. Then you'd be intrigued. Oh boy. It's been a very complicated couple of years."
He's joking, but he won't elaborate.
"The genuine truth," he laughs, "and I do think about this a lot, is that I'm one of the least competitive people you'll ever meet. Except with myself. If I'm in restaurants, there's often guys there doing this thing [he mimics a man puffing out his chest in confrontational fashion], 'Oh, f***ing James Bond.' Whatever. You need to impress me, outwit me, compete with me? Go ahead, knock yourself out, I have no problem with that at all. I played a lot of sports when I was a kid and I don't think I was particularly competitive, but the games I loved best were when I forgot completely to be competitive and that's when I won.
His father, Tim Craig, was a merchant seaman turned steel erector, then became landlord of "Ring O' Bells" pub in Frodsham, Cheshire. His mother, Carol Olivia Craig, was an art teacher. His parents split up in 1972, and young Daniel Craig was raised with his older sister, Lea, in Liverpool, then in Hoylake, Wirral, in the home of his mother. His interest in acting was encouraged by visits to the Liverpool Everyman Theatre arranged by his mother. From the age of 6, Craig started acting in school plays, making his debut in the Frodsham Primary School production of "Oliver!", and his mother was the driving force behind his artistic aspirations. The first Bond movie he ever saw at the cinema was Roger Moore's Live and Let Die (1973); young Daniel Craig saw it with his father, so it took a special place in his heart.
Craig moved to London when he was 16 to join the National Youth Theatre, and then studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After graduating, Craig made his film debut in The Power of One (1992), a 1950s drama set in South Africa. His career then received a substantial boost with his role in the 1996 BBC miniseries Our Friends in the North.
*He has a daughter, Ella Craig (born 1992), who lives with his ex-wife Fiona Loudon in London.
*Quit smoking before making Casino Royale (2006).
*Became good friends with Nicole Kidman, after they worked together on The Invasion (2007/I), and The Golden Compass (2007).
*While incognito at a cinema in the USA, he was once asked if anyone had ever told him that he looked like Daniel Craig. He answered "no" and walked away.
*First cousin, once removed, of Simon Jones.
*Close friends with Mark Strong and is the godfather of one of his sons.