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Male Bonding with Daniel Craig

The actor has spent nearly a decade portraying the world’s most famous spy, but there’s a very complicated relationship between James Bond and the movie star who plays him

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Martin McDonagh: I’m assuming you don’t care who plays Bond next…

Daniel Craig:  No! 

But do you like playing him?

When I first started, they offered me a blank page, really, and what that means is I was allowed to add my own bits. I wanted there to be gags, and I wanted there to be funny bits, but I wanted them to come from a fresh place.

Do you get nervous doing the stunts?

You always get nervous a bit. There was this part where I’d fucked up my knee halfway through shooting, which curtailed a lot of the serious action stuff. I’m so fucking gung ho about wanting to do every stunt I can, I had to ask, “What can I do, and what can’t I do?” 

How involved do you get in the scripts? 

As much as I possibly can without treading on toes, although you have to offend some people sometimes to move on. I wanted desperately for Sam Mendes to do this movie, but at the time he had other commitments. I said he’s got to do it. We started something with him on the last movie, the beginning of a relationship with a director I haven’t had in a long time. Then there was that added pressure because the last movie was huge and everyone’s asking, “What are you going to do now?” We’ve got to make a better movie, that’s what we’re going to do! 

Does that involve making it a bigger money-making movie?

Not for me. The idea that we’re going to make a lot of money from these, even now, is a strange one. That’s not how I started out. If they got into a cinema, “Yay! Success!”

And you probably can’t put your finger on why the last one made so much more than the previous ones.

Hollywood would disagree, wouldn’t they? They’d say going big is how you make lots of money, but I think, How many times have you watched that fail?

When you start a Bond movie, do you know where you’re going to on day one: Thailand, Morocco, wherever?

Not definitely, no. On this one Mexico City opened up and offered to let us film there. 

What’s Mexico City like?

It ended up being one of my favorite cities I’ve ever been to, but you can get into an awful lot of trouble there. 

Tequila? 

Anything you fucking want! 

Let’s go now! Talking of which, in terms of bars and such, can you still do all that these days?

Bars are hard, but that’s more because of mobile phones. I’ll do autographs all day long, and I’ll even do a picture at the end of an evening. But if I’m being photographed all night long in a bar, that pisses me off. If you ask, I may say yes, but come up to me and say, “Would you like to take a photograph with me?” If you’re fucking sneaking photographs of me … it’s human nature, you’re sneaking something! I’m being fucked with! But people don’t see it as a problem. Maybe I’m delusional. 

I don’t even have a phone. I don’t want to get into all that Twitter bullshit either.

What, and get abused? I have no idea. I don’t go on the Internet. 

Obviously you were famous before the Bond thing, but is it the mobile phone stuff that’s changed everything?

There were phones back then, but nobody used the cameras. Or there was a rule, if someone did it, you’d be like, “What the fuck are you doing?!” My wife [Rachel Weisz] is the best in the world at all that, she’ll just turn to them and go, “No, thank you very much,” and they’re like, “OK.” 

Is it irritating, those things you can’t do anymore?

I mourn it slightly. I like to have a drink, and I love pubs and I love finding new pubs and places to socialize. But that has a limit on it now.

Do you feel like you’ve lost out being able to observe drunks in a bar, and so forth?

Yes, and that’s a danger I think, because I love playing drunks. Drunk, damaged people; it’s like, bring them on!

Was there a time you knew you’d be a working actor from then on?

I left drama school and said to myself, If I can’t make a living as an actor, I’m not going to embarrass myself for however long until the big break comes. 

Who are some of your heroes?

On a flight to New York recently, Alicia Keys and Desmond Tutu were on the plane. I didn’t go up to them. I smiled at Alicia Keys, but I couldn’t look Desmond Tutu in the eye. I wanted to go up to him and fall at his feet. It was one of those situations where I blew it completely.

You should have gotten out your phone.

Yes, while they were asleep! That happens to me so often, you wake up to a phone in your face and you go, “What the fuck!” 

Ooh, that’s creepy!

So creepy! Which I call out: “That’s fucking creepy!”

How do you deal with hangovers?

There’s this thing called Pedialyte. It’s basically a diuretic; you give it to kids who are dehydrated. If you wake up in the morning and you’ve got one of those on standby and you down the whole lot… you can carry on drinking! 

How did you discover that? Hanging around with a lot of babies?

No, Mark Wahlberg. Who I don’t know, but I was told that’s what Mark swears by. It’s the difference between life and death as far as I’m concerned. 

Are there directors you really want to work with?

Yeah, you! 

Me too! But do you actively seek out people to work with?

My wife is brilliant at that. We see a movie and the next thing you know, she’s having lunch with the director. I’m like, “How did that fucking happen?” But she just gets in touch and says, “I’d love to have a drink with you.” I don’t do enough of that; I wish I did. I really like directors, and I like talking about work. 

What are you going to do in the next year or two?

Nothing, actually. I’d like to do some theater in New York. I’ve done Broadway and I was happy with that, but I don’t want to do Broadway anymore. 

Why?

The audience is all over 50, on the whole, and I think new faces and cheaper tickets are the only way forward. And it’s never going to happen. 

Do you write yourself?

I try to rewrite scenes, but I don’t think that classifies as …

No, that’s called being a movie star.

That’s exactly right! That’s using some other writer as a platform …

To destroy their writing. 

Yeah, exactly, that’s what we’re looking at!

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