Craig explores the personal side of Bond

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International  |  Oct. 20, 2012 at 7:46 AM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- British actor Daniel Craig says he was happy to explore the personal side of globetrotting secret agent James Bond in "Skyfall," the latest installment in the 50-year-old 007 film franchise.

"Nobody told me we couldn't make an action film with a good story," Craig told United Press International at a recent press conference in New York.

"We always go back to [author Ian] Fleming when we sit and discuss [Bond]," the 44-year-old actor explained. "If you look at the novels, he's so conflicted. Fleming tries to kill him off when he gets really pissed at him. He's a killer. He kills for a living and it's really kind of a dark place he goes to. But what I'm so proud of with this movie is the writing is so good and the lightness of touch is back, which we wanted so much. ... Hopefully, what we've done is we have that and we've combined it with a very emotional story. They employed me. They knew what kind of actor I was. It's their fault. Blame them."

The star of "Road to Perdition," "Layer Cake," "Munich" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" said "Skyfall" stands apart from other 007 adventures because it sheds light on where Bond came from and why he made some of the choices he did. It also focuses on how the past decisions of M., Judi Dench's MI6 chief and a maternal figure to Bond, come back to haunt her.

"This one's a little bit about families and parents and children, not in a heavy way, just as part of the plot and going back to his childhood just to sort of destroy it, really, and move on and begin again," Craig told UPI.

Asked by a journalist if it was true he initially turned down the role of 007 years ago, Craig joked, "Still trying."

So, why did he finally agree to play the iconic character?

"Money," he quipped.

"When these two approached me originally, I was just a little bewildered they would come to me," the actor said of producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, who were sitting beside him at the press conference. "It wasn't really on my radar. I suppose I was concerned about being typecast, but when you weigh it out, it's not a bad thing to be typecast as James Bond is it, really? I say that now ... I'm incredibly proud and lucky to be in the position I'm in, especially to have made this film and be around when [the franchise] is 50 years old. As soon as we get the script I'll be ready for [Bond No. 24] and if this is a success there will be momentum."

Directed by Sam Mendes and co-starring Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes and Naomie Harris, "Skyfall" is rated PG-13. It opens in U.S. theaters Nov. 9.

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