Skip to main content

Why Daniel Craig Initially Didn't Approve Of Billie Eilish's No Time To Die Song

Daniel Craig and Billie Eilish, No Time To Die
(Image credit: (Universal))

James Bond songs have always been an important element of the 007 legacy, and No Time To Die is especially important as it is Daniel Craig’s last outing as the suave spy. The song that has been matched with the upcoming movie is also called “No Time To Die,” and it was recorded by 19-year-old sensation Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas. She is the youngest singer to sing an original James Bond song, and the first to be recorded in a bedroom studio. According to the track’s producer, the song wasn’t initially approved by Bond himself.

Stephen Lipson is a UK producer who worked with Billie Eilish and Finneas on “No Time To Die,” and while speaking with Music Week, he shared the process he went through to get Daniel Craig happy with the theme song. In his words:

I asked Finneas and Billie to give me a climactic vocal moment which Billie wasn’t too sure about, but when I heard it I knew it would deliver. Most important was getting Daniel’s approval. I finished the mix and everybody was happy but we still had to get Daniel on board. From the start, quite understandably, he wasn’t all that sure that the song delivered the right emotional climax for his final Bond outing, so satisfying him was key. I delivered the mix and Barbara [Broccoli], who was more than happy, called me to say that Daniel was coming to London and we needed to play it to him. I suggested that he come to my studio as I knew that, compared to any other location, it was without doubt the best sonic environment in which to hear it.

At a first listen, Daniel Craig wasn’t sold on “No Time To Die,” so Stephen Lipson recalled inviting the actor into his London studio to get a better listen of the song. He continued:

It was agreed that he’d come to the studio on the following Sunday, so on the designated day I got in a few hours before Barbara and Daniel were due to arrive just to make sure it sounded as good as it could. Listening to it as if I was Daniel, I realised that the climax needed to be enormous so I spent some time massaging the mix so that, without any perceivable change, it was very much louder at that point. I then set the volume of the song so that it was pretty muscular, knowing that the climax would be earth-shattering. They arrived, I sat Daniel in the chair between the speakers, hit play and waited for his response. When the song finished he didn’t look up but asked to hear it once more. Barbara and I had no idea how he felt until the end of his second listening, when he looked up at me and said something like, ‘That’s fucking amazing.’ As soon as he’d approved it the wheels were set in motion and the news that Billie Eilish was doing the Bond theme song appeared everywhere.

It’s a great story. Daniel Craig may have needed a bit of convincing, and the track itself had a lot of different iterations, but in the end, the work paid off. According to the Grammy-nominated producer, the song took over three months to finish, and soon it will be the title song people hear and remember in association to Daniel Craig’s last time playing 007. It has already won a Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media, and it could go to the Oscars next. You can check out Billie Eilish’s latest performance of the song at the Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas last week:

Billie Eilish and Finneas celebrated their song at the London premiere of No Time To Die on Tuesday, which brought them together with the cast of the film, and British royals. No Time To Die has been met with a ton of positive reviews, including CinemaBlend’s own Michael Reyes, who called the film a “perfect ending” to Craig’s legacy in his five-star review.

No Time To Die hits theaters in international markets on September 30 and the U.S. on October 8.

Sarah El-Mahmoud

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.