James Bond Director Recalls His One Concern About Casting Daniel Craig In Casino Royale

Daniel Craig glares angrily in the field in Casino Royale.
(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

It’s easy to look back on the Daniel Craig era of James Bond movies and see the refreshing qualities he brought to the franchise. But just like his predecessors, when you recall the moments in history where a new 007 was selected, the usual scrutiny and disbelief always pops up. When it came to making the choice for Casino Royale, director Martin Campbell admitted that while he was eventually won over by Craig’s charms, he initially had one major concern.

Apparently, the Layer Cake actor’s rugged nature was what gave Campbell pause. Speaking with Express in support of the London Action Festival, the problem with such a look was laid out by Martin Campbell through the following scenario: 

My only reticence with Daniel… he was really a superb actor, there’s no doubt about that… it was the fact that with people like Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan was that they were all traditional looking Bonds. All handsome guys, all sexy, all very attractive to women and so forth. Daniel was obviously tougher and ruggeder, but he wasn’t a traditional handsome guy. So I just thought about that for a minute and apart from that, absolutely it was always him.

Honestly, if the problem with a 007 candidate is that they’re “too rugged,” that’s not a bad concern to have. Though he’d already nabbed credits like Road to Perdition to his name before being considered, Craig’s leading man status was in question at this point. Competing for the role against seven other 007 hopefuls finalists, Craig's acting chops ultimately landed him the lead in James Bond’s soft reboot.

Ruggedness was apparently what was required at that point in 00-history, as the classic run of Bond movies had run into a bit of a brick wall. With the need for a new approach to Commander Bond’s adventures in play, working outside of tradition was exactly what the doctor ordered. Five movies and over a decade later, Martin Campbell's instincts, as well as EON Productions producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, were proven to be absolutely correct.

No matter what era you’re looking at, casting a new James Bond is harder than it looks. This time out. the current search for a new 007 sees that edgy handsomeness of Daniel Craig’s James Bond tenure being the high bar that hopefuls will need to compete with going forward. While we don’t know what sort of tone or story will be for Bond 26, we do know that it’s going to be another competitive chase to be able to slip into that legendary tuxedo.

All of this talk about Casino Royale makes now the perfect time to use your Prime Video subscription and sprint down memory lane. That film, as well as Quantum of Solace, are both currently streaming on that platform to help scratch that espionage itch. So all of you James Bond hopefuls out there should use this time to take notes and practice your delivery, as the final choice for the 007th Bond will be here before you know it.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.