A Bond in the making: How Daniel Craig became 007

Since he emerged from the sea in a pair of trunks in Casino Royale, Daniel Craig has continued to reinvent the character of James Bond.

He returns as Ian Fleming’s famed spy for a fifth outing in the upcoming Bond film, with other cast members announced at an event in Jamaica attended by Craig on Thursday.

Asked about the appeal of Bond in a fan question, Craig said: “I think consistency, and the movies have been an event.

“I mean, I think, for myself, I remember going to see them as kids, they were  a moment.

“The new Bond coming out was just incredibly exciting and we’ve just tried, during my tenure, we’ve just tried to continue that tradition of making movies that stand out and are different from the other movies out there.”

The Cheshire-born actor, who said the early films with Sean Connery were “just so amazing”, crafted a darker, tougher 007.

Craig, 51, was born to an art teacher mother and pub landlord father. He attended school in Merseyside before moving to Liverpool after his parents’ divorce.

Daniel Craig in Spectre (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc/PA)
Daniel Craig in Spectre (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc/PA)

After being accepted into the National Youth Theatre, he moved to London and worked in restaurants while he applied, at first unsuccessfully, to numerous drama schools.

Later accepted into the Guildhall School of Music and Drama at the Barbican, he began three years of study.

Between 1992 and 2004 he played parts on stage and on screen, with his turn as a drug dealer in gangster thriller Layer Cake earning him plaudits.

In 2005 he was tapped by Eon Productions, the company behind the Bond films.

He accepted, becoming the first Bond to have been born after the original series began and after the death of Fleming.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

But there was backlash from some fans, who said 5ft 10ins blond Craig was not a right fit for the spy.

Bond was described by Fleming in his books as tall and dark-haired.

But previous Bonds, including Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton, Sean Connery and Roger Moore, spoke out in support of Craig.

More than a decade on, Craig is close to becoming the longest serving Bond.

Moore was officially Bond from August 1 1972, when he was announced in the role, to August 6 1986, when his replacement, Dalton, was announced.

He will overtake Moore’s record of 5,118 days in October this year.

Pierce Brosnan backed Craig as his replacement (Ian West/PA)
Pierce Brosnan backed Craig as his replacement (Ian West/PA)

Craig was the first to fully explore Bond’s murky family history.

In Skyfall, Javier Bardem’s Silva chases Bond to his remote and starkly beautiful family home in the Scottish highlands.

Under siege from Silva, Bond fights alongside his gamekeeper Kincade, played by Albert Finney, who died in February this year.

The film touched on Bond’s family history – his parents were killed in a mountain climbing accident in France when he was 11, according to Fleming’s books.

Craig, however, did maintain Bond’s fondness for bedding attractive women.

Casino Royale saw Craig’s romance with Vesper Lynd, played by Eva Green, blossom.

Her eventual death would drive him to seek out her killers in Quantum Of Solace.

Eva Green played Vesper in Casino Royale (Matt Crossick/PA)
Eva Green played Vesper in Casino Royale (Matt Crossick/PA)

Later films saw him pursue Gemma Arterton as Strawberry Fields and French actress Lea Seydoux as Dr Madeleine Swann, the daughter of mysterious Spectre member Mr White.

But Craig tried to play down Bond’s reputation as a womaniser, saying in 2015: “Hopefully, my Bond is not as sexist and misogynistic as (earlier incarnations). The world has changed.”

Craig was not always tipped to return as Bond for the 25th outing.

After finishing filming for Spectre, he said he would rather “slash my wrists” than take on the role again.

The star told Time Out magazine he wanted to “move on” from the franchise, but added that if he were to do another 007 film it would “only be for the money”.

- Press Association

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