Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes said he would not have made the latest James Bond film Skyfall without Daniel Craig playing the MI6 agent because of the complexity the British actor has brought to the character.
Mendes, who won an Academy Award for directing American Beauty in 1999, has depicted troubled men with ordinary lives — a far cry from 007, the ultimate action hero. Bond’s playboy image does not reflect the flawed hero in novelist Ian Fleming’s books, first published in 1953, Mendes told a press conference in Istanbul, where Skyfall is being shot this month.
“What Fleming created was a very conflicted character,” the British film-maker said. “Some of those things are explored in this movie, because Daniel as an actor is capable of exploring them.
“That was a big thing for me, having a Bond who I believed in, who I felt could take the character to a new level.”
Craig, 44, re-imagined Bond as a dark figure when he took over the role in the franchise’s last two films — Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. He and Mendes worked closely to develop the story in the latest film.
Mendes, 46, said he had long wanted to direct a thriller. “If I didn’t feel I could have made something that was both part of the Bond story and at the same time personal for me, I wouldn’t have attempted the movie. I feel like we’ve found a story that speaks to me,” he said.
While the plot of the 23rd film in Hollywood’s longest-running franchise is still a secret, Sony Pictures has said it is about a potential rift between Bond and his boss M, played by Judi Dench, when the past returns to haunt her. The film has a “very rich” romance, said Craig, 44, and hinted that Bond may reprise the humour that some of his predecessors brought to the role.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2012.