|Who’s Best' Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig
London, Oct. 14: There are few problems James Bond cannot handle ' a mother bursting with pride is one of them.
Today, aboard a boat on the Thames, 37-year-old Daniel Craig was unveiled as the latest actor to step into 007’s tuxedo but any mystery surrounding the announcement was breezily blown away by Olivia Craig much earlier.
“Obviously we are thrilled to bits,” said Olivia.
“It has come at a very good time in his career. He has worked extremely hard all his life ' and this would be his biggest, populist role. I think he could bring something very interesting to the part. It will be life changing.”
Her son, who made his stage debut at six in Oliver! at Frodsham Church of England Primary School in Cheshire, first came to the nation’s attention in the 1996 landmark BBC drama, Our Friends in the North.
Craig, who has carved out a niche playing unhinged gangsters, will be the first fair-haired actor to play 007 and, at 6ft, he will be the shortest.
His first excursion as the super-spy will come in the 21st Bond film, an adaptation of Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first 007 book.
Craig has long been the personal choice of producer Barbara Broccoli. And he has already had more than a taste of being in the limelight ' and not just for his acting.
He was seen with Sienna Miller (star of the movies Casanova, Alfie and Layer Cake), 23, during her break-up with Jude Law (Alfie, Cold Mountain and The Road to Perdition) and, a year ago, he reportedly had a four-month relationship with model Kate Moss. Succeeding Pierce Brosnan to become the sixth Bond will inevitably give him an even higher public profile.
Martin Campbell, Casino Royale’s director, wants to make a much grittier blockbuster.
“It’s difficult to find the man that every woman wants to go to bed with and every man wants to be,” Campbell said.
“Whoever plays Bond has to do it for three movies because of the contract, and that’s a big commitment for actors.”
Craig has spoken of being screen tested for the role as “very flattering”, although he felt that nobody could out-act Sean Connery.
He recently turned down big money for a TV role, preferring a role in Steven Spielberg’s movie Vengeance about the Israeli Mossad’s pursuit of the Palestinian terrorists involved in the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.
Born in Chester and raised in Liverpool, Craig spent much of his youth soaking up the atmosphere at Liverpool's Left-wing Everyman Theatre.
He married at 23. “I thought it was the mature thing to do,” he once said. He has a daughter, now 12, who lives with his ex-wife in Chiswick, west London. His reputation is for playing tough guys with compassionate, or at least intelligent, cores. His 1992 big-screen debut was in The Power of One, as a thuggish Afrikaner cop.
He was the assassin in Elizabeth, the villain in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and the psychotic son of Paul Newman in The Road to Perdition.
However, it was on stage that he really made his dramatic mark, along with offbeat screen fare such as Enduring Love.
When Colin Firth refused a screen test for the role of the poet Ted Hughes in Sylvia, about Sylvia Plath (also a poet and Hughes’s wife who committed suicide), he seized his chance and ended up stealing the movie from Gwyneth Paltrow.
The gangster thriller Layer Cake in which he played a suave but ruthless cocaine dealer, put him in the running for 007 ' a contest in which he saw off the likes of Ewan McGregor, Clive Owen, Hugh Jackman, Colin Farrell and Orlando Bloom.
Not that his success is likely to go to his head.
Once, when asked about fame being fickle, he said: “There may be a buzz generated about you, but you can’t start soaking that in because you’ll get stuffed. Things change very quickly in this business.”
In addition, Craig is notorious for his aversion to publicity, saying: “Self-promotion to me is like going to the dentist. But I know I have to do it. I can bull**** better these days.“But I hope I have worked long enough to have a body of work that stands on its own. When I am cast in something, it is not because I am famous. It is because I can act.”
The Daily Telegraph