James Bond

Friday, baby!!

Action never stops for Daniel Craig
ìTo tell a story is our business, and this is a cracking story to tell.î ó Dame Judi Dench (M) on Quantum of Solace.
The really good news about Daniel Craig is that heís still Daniel Craig ó this despite having a veritable tidal wave known as James Bond crash over his life.
A few years into his reign as the iconic secret agent and back to promote Quantum of Solace, the actor, 40, seems as energetic and enthusiastic as ever.
This newest Bond film opens in theatres Friday and with 12:01 a.m. screenings in most cities across Canada.
Craig is seemingly oblivious to his new global celebrity and as unfazed as ever by his own success.
Not that itís been easy being James Bond.
ìIt was very nuts,î he jokes about the furor over Casino Royale in 2006. ìBut then, I had no benchmark for that. Iíd been in movies that Iíd considered successful, and also that were critically successful, but the idea of box office was anathema to me.î
Thatís changed somewhat. He says, ìI think, a little learning is a dangerous thing, because coming to Quantum of Solace, itís like, ëWeíve got to make this much money, weíve got to do this,í and I try not to think about it. I try to keep it out of the equation. I let other people worry about it,î he says, and then smiling, he adds, ìand they do.î
They must be worried a little less by now. Quantum of Solace has already opened in England, where it shattered all previous box-office records for opening weekends, including that set by Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire. And by Casino Royale.
Quantum of Solace is the first-ever direct sequel in the franchise, and takes Bond all over the globe in his quest to avenge the death of Vesper and reveal the inner workings of the criminal organization, Quantum.
The action begins about an hour after Casino Royale ends ó but this is a more cold and brooding James Bond than ever. Quantum of Solace is actually more frantic, if you can image, than Casino Royale, with stupendous action involving car chases, boat chases, an impossible foot chase across the rooftops of Siena, Italy, off-hand leaping out of airplanes and feats of derring-do in the midst of an inferno. It never stops.
Bondís female sidekick is Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a woman also out for revenge; the main villain is played by Mathieu Almaric, who is the oily Dominic Greene, a man intent upon cornering the market in certain natural resources. He holds whole countries for ransom.
Quantum of Solace involves more filming locations than any other movie in the franchise, with Bond vs. the baddies in Panama, Chile, Mexico, Italy, Austria and the UK. The jewel in the crown in this chapter is shoot-out at the Bergenz opera house, where all hell breaks loose in the middle of a performance of Tosca.
Talk about breathtaking.
Craig does as much of his own stunt work as he can, and that shows up loud and clear in Quantum of Solace. Second unit director Dan Bradley has talked about Craigís fantastic work ethic, and how he willingly undertook leaps across streets and alleyways from four and five storey rooftops. ìHe even jumped out a window and dropped 20 feet toward the roof of a speeding bus,î said Bradley.
Craig has a distinct philosophy about all of this ó he just wants it to look real.
ìIt sounds (conceited) of me, to sort of compare the two, but thereís a tradition in cinema that goes way back to Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, and even earlier when they said, ëCan you ride a horse? Then youíve got the part.í The thing of it is, when Buster Keaton is standing there and the house falls down, itís him. Thereís no special effects and thereís no CGI and they didnít do any jump cutting and we can see it all. And I just love that.î
When heís not working, Craig stays busy with, um ó well, we really couldnít say what he does on his own time. He lives with American producer Satsuki Mitchell, dated Sienna Miller and Kate Moss in the past and has a daughter of 16 from his first marriage to actress Fiona Loudon. The actor has protected himself and his private life as much possible, saying, ìI fight tooth and nail to keep it that way. And itís not even so much to protect myself. Itís to protect my family. Their normality of life, or the way they treat me, is precious to me, and changing that, some of it becoming public knowledge ó if youíre talking about someoneís personal life, who isnít involved with a public life, itís really hurtful.î
He adds, ìIf Iíve invited OK! magazine or Hello into my house and I say, ëThis is my curtains, this is my bed,í I canít really complain, can I? But I try to stay solid. And have a precedent.î
The one area of his life thatís an open book is his career. Craig always wanted to be an actor, from childhood onward. ìI grew up in and around Liverpool in the last depression. I left school at 16, 17. I considered joining the Navy, I was a waiter, but beyond that, Iíd always wanted to be an actor and my mother, thankfully, gave me just that gentle nudge. Which was just, ëGo do it,í and how she dealt with that, I donít know. Sheís a good woman. That encouragement was enough, thatís all I needed.î Having just sworn not to talk about his personal life, Craig looks a bit pained at himself for talking about his mother. ìI gave it my best shot,î he continues. ìIt took a while, but there it was. There was a safety net to fall back on, the family is there, the solidity, and you feel you can do anything. And at 17 or 18, you feel you can do anything anyway,î he says, laughing.
He went to London to join the National Youth Theatre at 16. Craig graduated from the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1991. He then won a role in the 1992 South African boxing drama, The Power of One ó which he calls his first paying job. He was 21, and he has worked steadily since in theatre, TV and such films as Layer Cake, The Mother, Enduring Love, Infamous, Sylvia, The Trench, The Jacket, Road To Perdition, Love Is The Devil, Munich, His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass and of course, Casino Royale. He will be seen in December in Defiance, playing one of a trio of Polish brothers who elude the Nazis during the Second World War.
And what was it about acting that was such a huge magnet for him when he was young?
ìDressing up and showing off,î says Craig. ìStill is.”