Film franchises don’t exactly grow on trees in Hollywood, though it might seem like stars are being handed plum role in key series on the regular. In fact, after starring in a massive film franchise, there’s no real guarantee that you are going to ever get a shot at another – with all the perks of job security and global popularity that tend to come with such a gig. Just ask Orlando Bloom how life after the Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean sagas happens to be treating him.
Then there’s Daniel Craig, who is about to end his reign as the world’s most beloved secret agent, 007. Craig’s time as Bond will conclude in No Time to Die, but he’ll move from that series to a recurring role in another, thanks to the sudden popularity of Knives Out. And Craig knows this is amazing fate. He tells GQ:
The success of it, going into Bond, could not have come at a better time for me. It’s not like, ‘OK, this is going to be my career after Bond.’ There’s no plan to it. It’s just kind of worked out.
In the best possible way. Rian Johnson, who wrote and directed Knives Out, basically tackled the project as a way to cleanse his own palate after taking a beating for directing Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Johnson’s a rabid fan of whodunits, and conceived his own around the fictional detective of Benoit Blanc, played by Daniel Craig.
Knives Out ended up being a huge hit, earning $308 million worldwide and picking up an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. And it spawned a sequel, with Daniel Craig’s detective character being the only holdover.
Which, honestly, is brilliant. And yet, it borrows directly from the Agatha Christie playbook, where crime solvers like Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple find themselves in fresh predicaments. By moving Blanc from movie to movie, it means that Craig gets to interact with all new players who can plug into Rian Johnson’s sandbox and try out his rhythms and pacings. It worked extremely well for the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Ana de Armas and Chris Evans. Who can it work for next?
No one is doubting the fact that Daniel Craig would have been just fine following his time in the James Bond franchise. Most actors who have played Bond have gone on to healthy and stable film careers. But Craig seems thrilled that a happy accident like the Knives Out franchise landed in his lap, at the ideal time.
Look for Daniel Craig in his final turn as James Bond when No Time to Die arrives in theaters on November 25, 2020.