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He likes acting because it lets people figure out emotions outside of themselves, Daniel Craig tells Andrew L. Urban on his flying promotional visit to Sydney on the eve of the release of the 22nd James Bond movie - Quantum of Solace.

Daniel Craig almost sprints into the room, smart dark suit, black open necked shirt and a nice firm handshake. A tray with coffee arrives, the milk jug jumping off and spilling into his lap. Considering he’s still jet lagged from the US - Sydney flight, Craig might have been excused for swearing and being nasty. He isn’t, laughs it off, mops up and gets down to business, talking Bond.

“I think what makes a Bond film is the character,” he says in his clipped, clean accent. “It has sustained for this long because of that; it was launched with an actor cast against type with Sean Connery, this gruff guy in sophisticated clothes and doing things on fabulous locations … the locations are always important.”

In this, his second outing as 007, Daniel Craig is still getting to know Bond. “He’s totally morally ambiguous – but I don’t judge him. I’d like to get to know him more and hope if there is another one we’ll get to see him relax … and more gags,” he adds with a laugh and a sip of his coffee. He’d also like to see Q return (“but it needs perfect casting”) and maybe Moneypenny.

Being Bond has had the expected impact on his privacy, but he’s managed to keep his family’s privacy “sacrosanct”. As for the riches of his profession – bigger, better roles – he’s not swamped with great offers. “There just aren’t that many great scripts and great roles out there.” In every way he can, Craig is maintaining the status quo; he hasn’t even changed agents.

"it’s the dressing up and showing off"

So why acting, anyway, what’s the appeal. His instant, rapid fire reply is “it’s the dressing up and showing off….” And we laugh. “But if you want a serious answer [I nod] it’s offering people an outlet. We all need to figure out emotions outside ourselves . . . safely on the screen.” He goes in and out of character “instantly” and even though he works 7 day weeks he doesn’t take the character home, even though he feels he has to be quite obsessive about the work (“rehearsing, working out scenes, practicing stunts”).

Asked about doing the stunts, Craig admits to doing most of them himself and getting hurt. But he likes to downplay the injuries. “The stunt guys endure so much greater levels of pain that I just don’t feel like complaining about the cut on my finger, you know.” (He lost most of his fingerprint on that finger, though.)

In Quantum of Solace, Bond cuts a different figure. Betrayed by Vesper, the woman he loved, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission personal. Pursuing his determination to uncover the truth, Bond and M (Judi Dench) interrogate the man Bond captured at the end of Casino Royale - Mr White (Jesper Christensen) - who reveals the organization which blackmailed Vesper is far more complex and dangerous than anyone had imagined. In Haiti, a case of mistaken identity introduces Bond to the beautiful but feisty Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a woman with her own vendetta. Camille leads Bond straight to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Almaric), a major force within the mysterious organisation. Bond discovers that Greene, conspiring to take total control of one of the world’s most important natural resources, is forging a deal with the exiled Bolivian General Medrano (Joaquin Cosio). As Bond gets closer to finding the man responsible for the betrayal of Vesper, he is made an outlaw by his own MI6.

"the most interesting relationship in this film"

“I think the most interesting relationship in this film is the one between Bond and M,” says Craig. “She trusts him despite appearances, but she’s ordered not to . . .”

A minder arrives to take him away to another media session – and the plane is already waiting to take him on to the next leg of his global junket: Japan. Daniel Craig is as much of a jetsetter as James Bond.

Published November 20, 2008

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