Today Daniel Craig's James Bond is one of the most praised performances of the super spy we've had. Craig took a character known for over the top exaggeration and humanized him to a large degree. It was something of a gamble, as there was know way to know just how fans would react. And when Daniel Craig sat in the first screening of his first Bond movie, Casino Royale, he apparently thought he'd made a terrible mistake.
In a new interview with GQ the No Time to Die actor spoke about the premiere of Casino Royale, and how, during the movie's opening sequence, he thought the audience hated the film. The opening is shot in black and white and shows Bond making his first two on the job kills. He has a visceral and violent struggle with a man in a bathroom, ultimately drowning the man in a sink. This apparently elicited laughter from the audience. Then he shoots a second man, which resulted in more laughter. Craig says he began to fear he'd made a huge mistake...
“I went, ‘Oh…,’ I was like, ‘Oh, fuck,’?”
That had to be a difficult few minutes of film to sit through. Certainly, the opening of Casino Royale is not meant to make you laugh. It's James Bond at perhaps his most uncomfortably violent up until that moment in the franchise. The scene is designed to prepare you for the fact that this James Bond is different than the one we saw last, and yet the audience seemed to be reacting in the same way they had previously.
Perhaps it took them a few minutes to adjust, but when the credits rolled and the music started, the audience at the premiere cheered and it apparently put Daniel Craig back at ease...
All the pressure suddenly was… Because the whole thing of, ‘He’s not right…’ I intellectualized all of it. I know why they don’t like me. I know why I don’t like me. So I know why they don’t fucking like me.
Daniel Craig had been criticized in the lead up to Casino Royale. Many fans weren't sure he was the right choice for the role, and so apparently all those thoughts came flooding back. Craig apparently started crying when describing this experience to GQ, the whole thing was quite emotional for him.
In the end, Casino Royale worked and so did Craig's James Bond. Now, he's one of the most popular versions of the character that fans have seen. When No Time to Die debuts in November it will be a bittersweet experience as fans will be saying goodbye to Craig in the role, who will then be replaced by another actor who will certainly have many of these same fears all over again.