Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Eulogy for Daniel Craig's 007, the Best Bond Ever

Daniel Craig as James Bond
Like many enduring creations of collective consciousness—Stone Age cave paintings or medieval cathedrals or the iPhone—the character of James Bond is the work of lots of hands. Under the guidance of nearly a hundred writers and directors and half a dozen actors of all appearances and levels of skill, Bond has taken 50 years to develop and lives as an amalgam of memory as much as a figure onscreen. Seeing him in Spectre (out November 6) is like having a reunion with a favorite grizzled uncle, an opportunity to once again face the question he has always posed: Whom do men want to be now? Spectre will almost certainly be the last time the question is answered by Daniel Craig, the man who has done more than anyone else to redeem the exhausted and often disgraceful figment of male fantasy we have given the name James Bond.
Bond was born not out of luxury but out of privation. Ian Fleming wrote him into existence in the England of the early 1950s, when war rationing had not yet ended and the British Empire was drifting into the complacent irrelevance it currently enjoys. Stories of a British spy became massively popular at the exact moment British spies no longer mattered. Accompanying the fantasy of power was a fantasy of permission—the license to kill—and an equally essential fantasy of consumption. Bond ate luxurious meals when his audiences could not. He smoked 60 custom-made cigarettes a day. He gambled. He traveled. He spent as much money as he could. The qualification for playing James Bond is to be the man of your generation who looks best in a Savile Row suit.

Bond is not just a character; he's also an adjective: Bond cars, Bond gear, Bond songs, Bond villains, Bond girls. The series' continuity, which makes it so easy to parody, is its chief selling point. The gadgets may change, but the love of gadgets is forever. All Bond villains serve the same function. The threat of global nuclear war, terrorism, technological change, even media conglomerates—in Bond films it turns out that they're all just guys with funny hair and slightly effeminate mannerisms. 
The Bond girls are the most distinctive feature of the franchise, of course—beautiful women with silly names (Honey Ryder, Sylvia Trench, Pussy Galore, Thumper, Mary Goodnight, Chew Mee, Holly Goodhead, Xenia Onatopp, Dr. Molly Warmflash, and my personal favorite, Kissy Suzuki). The best Bond movies—Goldfinger, From Russia with Love, and Casino Royale constitute a separate category—have the most complex, most assertive, most interesting women in them. But the overwhelming majority of the films have been too lazy for female characters who are not simply consumer products like the others. Interesting women are too unpredictable, and Bond sells predictability.

Change is inevitable, however, even in Bond movies, and the series, against its will, reflects history. Each Bond is an argument concerning how men felt about the masculine ideals of their period. In the early '60s, before and during the sexual revolution, Sean Connery exuded the supreme confidence of a man who has never questioned, nor been questioned about, his sense of his own manhood. Through the Roger Moore years, the '70s and '80s, Bond devolved into a relic of British gentility and louche nightclub sexuality until the movies veered dangerously close to being parodies of themselves, and sometimes crossed over—in Octopussy, 007 literally saves the world as a faded clown in a circus. 
Many years of confusion followed, during which Bond was little more than a branding opportunity, fulfilling, halfheartedly, a tired contract with fans: the woman in a bikini who utters "James" meltingly, the threat to the world, the capture, the improbable escape, "shaken, not stirred" as a joke somewhere in there. The portrait of male fantasy by way of James Bond was not flattering to men: a sometimes stupid, sometimes violent pompous joke addicted to cheap puns, executive toys, and vacuous women.

Then came Daniel Craig. He kept all the Bond clichés in place while utterly reinventing all of them; he played Bond as a real character rather than as a cipher for adventure. He refused to take the man as a joke but was willing to laugh at him nonetheless; he helped create a kinder, more thoughtful Bond, who listens when women speak, but also a more dangerous and more selfish Bond, who knows he prefers adultery to sex with available women. You can sense the desperation in this 007. 

Self-consciously traditional, he believes in the decrepit loyalties to Britain but at the same time feels betrayed by his country and its institutions. In short, Craig is the PTSD Bond. He is the Bond for an era in which a million and a half American men and women, and a significant number of British and Canadian and Australian men and women, have been fighting actual shadow wars against actual madmen with actual dreams of global domination, and have drifted home from their encounters in various states of brokenness.

The fantasy of the Craig Bond is the existence of a real person behind the cloak of heroism—he is the Bond who has been willing to show his suffering and failure. Craig comes the closest, of all the film versions, to the Bond in the books—a character who emerged from deprivation and the enduring sacrifices of war. He has perfectly represented the past decade and the original story simultaneously. If he's not the greatest Bond, it's only because he wasn't the first.

The question "Who will be the next Bond?" is more than just Hollywood gossip or standard pop-culture speculation. It is the question of what is missing from the lives of men and who best fills the void. Bond has been a figure of confidence for an age of anxiety, a figure of glamour for an age of plastic, a figure of redemption for an age of degradation, a reliable man for unreliable times. Only one thing is certain about the Bond who comes next: We will need him, no matter whom he turns out to be.

9 of Daniel Craig’s sexiest James Bond moments ahead of his final 007 film, Spectre

As Daniel Craig prepares for his final outing as James Bond in new film Spectre, we celebrate his time as the (rather sexy) spy 
 Daniel Craig's best moments as James Bond
We can’t wait to see the new James Bond movie, Spectre, when it’s released next Monday – but we’re kinda sad that it’s going to be Daniel Craig‘s last outing as 007.

MORE! TEARS for Sam Smith as video for his Bond theme Writing’s On The Wall is (finally) released


The actor is hanging up his gun after this, his fourth Bond movie, saying last week ‘I’d rather slash my wrists’ than reprise the role. Which is pretty final!

So, in honour of his final appearance as the suave spy, we’ve listed our nine favourite moments from Daniel’s oh-so-sexy portrayal of the character – check them out in the gallery above and below.


1. When he rode a motorbike through the streets of Istanbul in Skyfall

Because Daniel Craig as James Bond tearing around on a motorbike = TOO HOT

2. All the times he wore a suit

Which, being Bond, was a LOT. Designer Tom Ford specially made many of Daniel’s suits for Quantum of Solace and Skyfall (and a fine job he did on them too), whilst Spectre will see the return of Bond’s ivory dinner jacket. #SWOON.

3. Every time he locked lips with a Bond girl

Because, rather than make us jealous, we simply pretended that it was our dress he was unzipping. Oh, James!

 Skyfall - 2012
4. This scene in Skyfall

…when we were reminded just how beautiful Daniel’s lovely blue eyes are. So intense.

5. When he looked all brooding and moody on the Scottish highlands next to his Aston Martin

Like a modern-day Heathcliffle *sighs*

6. Anytime he had a drink in his hand

Ooh, how we’d live to share a cocktail and get shaken and stirred with Daniel Craig’s Bond. Or even a load of tequila shots a la that scene in Skyfall (although we’ll pass on the scorpion, thanks).

7. When he parachuted into the Olympic Opening Ceremony with Queen Elizabeth

Need we say anymore?

8. When he was covered in blood and dirt

And somehow STILL managed to look gorgeous.

9. And finally – when he wore THOSE teeny tiny blue swimming trunks

You didn’t think we’d forgotten, did you? We’ll NEVER forget.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Idris Elba ‘Too Street’ to Play James Bond, 007 Author Says

The English novelist, whose latest book in the Bond series, “Trigger Mortis,” hits stores on Sept. 8, told the Daily Mail that the actor is simply not suave enough to succeed Daniel Craig.
“Idris Elba is a terrific actor, but I can think of other black actors who would do it better,” he said. “For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part. It’s not a color issue. I think he is probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah.”
Horowitz released a statement on Twitter late Monday morning to apologize for his comments.
“I’m really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offense,” he wrote. “That wasn’t my intention. I was asked in my interview if Idris Elba would make a good James Bond. In the article I expressed the opinion that to my mind Adrian Lester would be a better choice, but I’m a writer, not a casting director, so what do I know? Clumsily, I chose the word ‘street’ as Elba’s gritty portrayal of DCI John Luther was in my mind, but I admit it was a poor choice of word. I am mortified to have caused offense.”
Elba responded to the remarks on Tuesday afternoon by posting a screenshot of an article about the news on Instagram with the coy caption, “Always Keep Smiling!! It takes no energy and never hurts! Learned that from the Street.”
Elba’s fans strenuously objected to the writer’s remarks, saying that Horowitz was using coded language that actually signaled an objection to a black man playing the iconic British spy.
The debate is essentially moot at this point, given that Daniel Craig still has a grip on the role. “Skyfall,” the last iteration of the franchise, was the highest grossing of the Bond films. Expectations are high for “Spectre,” which is due in theaters on Nov. 6.
Those close to the franchise are said to be hopeful that Craig will re-up for at least one more sequel, before moving on. But the actor is not giving anything away. In a profile in Esquire that went online Tuesday morning, Craig sounded ambivalent about continuing as 007. “I really don’t know. Honestly. I’m not trying to be coy,” he told the magazine. “At the moment I can’t even conceive it.” Pressed about portraying Bond once more, he added: “At this moment, no. I have a life and I’ve got to get on with it a bit. But we’ll see.”
People who know Elba said he would like to play the iconic secret agent, if the role becomes available. But he has said he would not want the role as a racial type.
“I just don’t want to be the black James Bond,” Elba told NPR in 2011. “Sean Connery wan’t the Scottish James Bond and Daniel Craig wasn’t the blue-eyed James Bond, so if I played him, I don’t want to be called the black James Bond.”
Horowitz’s opinions about the Bond film franchise were not limited to Elba. He also told the British newspaper that “Skyfall” is his “least favorite” movie from the franchise.
“Bond is weak in it. He has doubts. That’s not Bond,” Horowitz said. “Secondly, the villain wins. The villain sets out to kill M. The film finishes with the villain killing M. So why have I watched it?”
Roger Moore, who played Bond between 1973 and 1985, recently foreshadowed Horowitz’s sentiment in the French magazine Paris Match, but later said that his comments were taken out of context.
“I think [Bond] should be ‘English-English,'” Moore said. “Nevertheless, it’s an interesting idea, but unrealistic.”
Speculation that Elba would play Bond reached its peak following the release of a hacked email sent in early January of 2014 by Sony Pictures then-co-chair Amy Pascal. In the email, Pascal told Elizabeth Cantillon, former exec VP of production for Columbia Pictures, which distributes the Bond films, that “Idris should be the next bond.”
That was followed by Rush Limbaugh’s controversial comments that James Bond must be “white and Scottish.”
“James Bond is a total concept put together by Ian Fleming. He was white and Scottish. Period. That is who James Bond is, was,” Limbaugh said last December. “But now [they are] suggesting that the next James Bond should be Idris Elba, a black Briton, rather than a white from Scotland. But that’s not who James Bond is.”
“I know it’s racist to probably point this out,” he also acknowledged.

James Bond 007: Spectre Bond girl Stephanie Sigman reveals her secrets

Bond Girl Stephanie Sigman will appear in a campaign in collaboration with Belvedere Vodka and James Bond’s upcoming film, Spectre.
DANIEL Craig may be difficult on set but he is also charming and surprisingly helpful, his latest Bond Girl Stephanie Sigman has said.
“Who isn’t difficult? I’m difficult as an artist,” she told “I like difficult people because that means they’re perfectionists and they’re passionate. I have to say I was very surprised because I found a true artist, a real actor on set. Not only a famous guy or a celebrity, which I was worried about because I didn’t know him before.
“I found this guy who was worried about scenes. He actually helped me a lot, we were doing this long shoot, it was so technical and he’s very experienced doing films. He was helping me with how to move with the camera. I learned a lot from him. I was very surprised, in a good way.”
Sigman is glowing. It’s an overwhelmingly humid day in New York City, but there’s not a hair out of place on this Mexican beauty, who has just landed the biggest gig of her career as a Bond Girl in the next instalment of James Bond, Spectre.
Dubbed the first Mexican Bond girl, you can see she’s new to the show business big league, there’s an intensity in her eyes and a sincerity in her smile.
She said there was a lot of expectation associated with the role which could be stressful.
“But I try not to think about the expectations of other people because there’s always going to be expectations,” she said.
Sigman said Daniel Craig was a true artist, a real actor on set. Picture: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for CTMG, Inc. and MGM Studios
Sigman said Daniel Craig was a true artist, a real actor on set. Picture: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for CTMG, Inc. and MGM StudiosSource:Getty Images
It’s a big day for Sigman, in just a few hours her collaboration with Belvedere Vodka will be announced to the world. Sigman will appear in the franchise’s global advertising campaign, a television commercial described as “a journey revealing the intricacies of the legendary martini cocktail”.
It’s a return to form for Bond, who in the last instalment, Skyfall, switched swigging from his classic vodka martini to Heineken beer in a $45 million collaboration.
“I’m an actress, not a model, this is my first campaign, I hope this is just the beginning,” Sigman told
“It’s inspired, but it’s different,” she says of the campaign.
“It has a twist. It’s different. I really like the fact that in the commercial I play this version of me that’s very powerful and independent. You can see a woman walking into a bar by herself, which says something. She knows what she wants. She wants to get the perfect martini.”
But there’s more to being a Bond Girl than martini’s and men. In a sit down interview, Sigman revealed the secrets to being Bond — and the highs and the lows that comes with it.
To be honest there’s a lot of expectation and sometimes that’s stressing. But I try not to think about the expectations of other people because there’s always going to be expectations. Some people are going to like what you’re going to do some aren’t going to like it. That’s the way art is. Films are a very personal experience — just like a martini — so I try to think about what I like, what projects I like to be in, and make sure I feel proud about it because at the end, I’m the only one that’s going to look back, and feel proud or not about what I was doing.
So far I think I’ve been doing good, I’m proud of everything. If people don’t like it, I’m so sorry but I hope they do. It’s the only way to be happy. Don’t worry too much about what other people say. You’re never going to make everyone happy.
He’s hot. The best thing he has is his charming personality.
No, most times as actors you go and do your job, you’re very professional, then you go home. That doesn’t mean that we don’t get along, we did and had great conversation. I wouldn’t say we were friends though. Maybe one day.
Sam Mendes gave me some advice about acting and the industry in general. He said to stay true to who you are and the projects you want to do. It’s very clever and it’s very easy to say, but very hard to do.
I really, honestly, think it’s going to be one of the greatest opening sequences ever. Not only us, but the producers are really happy with it because it’s just amazing, it’s beautiful and it’s also in my country, so I’m proud.
It tells you that James Bond has become this more human complex and dark character, and that’s actually something that makes any movie more interesting.
I think my character is very mysterious to be honest. I wish I could tell you more, but I can’t. I’d have to kill you otherwise.
I’ve never been on a diet in my life. I would be happy to, if the character requires, but so far I haven’t. I can eat anything, I eat like a baseball player. I have two brothers, we eat a lot. I’m young, things may change.
I’m not sure about that. There was this Bond girl that was born in Mexico. I haven’t done my research. I don’t care if I’m the first or second one. I feel happy anyway. I’m also showing Mexico City and our big traditions as Mexicans, and that’s very important to me.
I was working with an Australian actor, Thomas M Wright, on this TV show The Bridge. So far I love Australian people. They’re really cool. Thomas was a very intense actor, that’s what I love about him. I can imagine the acting school in Australia is pretty good because there’s a lot of good actors coming out of Australia. If you’re Australian, be an actor!
Spectre, starring Stephanie Sigman and featuring the Belvedere Vodka Martini, will be released in Australian cinemas on November 6.
Stephanie Sigman sizzles in the latest James Bond campaign with Belvedere Vodka.
Stephanie Sigman sizzles in the latest James Bond campaign with Belvedere Vodka.Source:Supplied

Spectre Poster Features Daniel Craig And Lea Seydoux In True 007 Fashion

In anticipation of the Spectre’s November release, the marketing campaign has stepped up their game, releasing a new poster that will surely excite James Bond fans from all generations.

Released by the official James Bond Twitter account, the poster depicts Daniel Craig’s 007 standing front and center, adorned in an impeccable white tux, and wielding his always-loaded Walther PPK – replete with silencer. Pinned to his jacked is a black rose, possibly symbolic of the idea that death will play a major role inSpectre, and that Bond is still coping with the losses he suffered in his last outing,Skyfall. At his back is the gorgeous new Bond girl Madeleine Swann – portrayed by Lea Seydoux, most notable for her femme fatale performance in 2011’s Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol – and in the background is an ominous image of a man in a skull mask and bowler hat. It may be a new actor and a high definition photograph, but if someone from the 1960's saw this poster, they would most certainly know that Spectre is a 007 adventure.

Despite all of the exploration of the 007 mythos in Daniel Craig’s last few outings, the poster for the upcoming Spectre seems to indicate a return to form – at least stylistically. The image of Bond standing in his white tux, casually holding his signature weapon invokes numerous – and all equally famous – images of the Sean Connery’s 007 from the 1960’s.

Although there are no confirmed plot connections of any sort, the ominous skull visage in the background also harkens back to the villain Baron Samedi from Roger Moore’s Live and Let Die, while the bowler hat atop its head instantly reminds us of the iconic henchman Oddjob. This figure could possibly be revealed as a disguised Mr. Hinx (Dave Bautista) arguably the first henchman faced by Daniel Craig’s 007 who embodies the outlandish nature of the franchise’s past right hand men.

The Daniel Craig era took the James Bond franchise in a decidedly new, modern direction when Casino Royale hit theaters back in 2006. His iteration of the iconic British secret agent has tackled much darker tones, and generally delved much deeper into the emotional and psychological state of the hero. Skyfall even gave audiences a rare glimpse into Bond’s childhood – something that Spectre will expand on, based on what we can glean from the trailer.

There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the Bond franchise in recent weeks. Former 007 Pierce Brosnan openly stated that he supports the possibility of a gay James Bond at some point in the near future, while writer Anthony Horowitz made headlines when he declared that black actor Idris Elba was "too street" for the role. If Daniel Craig’s tenure as the suave, martini-drinking spy has taught us anything, it’s that while the franchise may evolve over time, it will never forget its roots that began all the way back in 1962. 

Is Spectre the longest Bond movie yet? Prepare for a 2 hour 40 minute running time

Daniel Craig's latest Bond movie looks poised to be the longest 007 outing yet.

Spectre's running time will be clocking in at a bum-numbing 2 hours and 40 minutes, according to cinema listings for the UK's biggest chains.

New poster for Spectre.

Both Odeon and Vue list Sam Mendes's Skyfall follow-up as 160 minutes, while Empire has a more modest 155-minute running time.

There's no official BBFC listing for Spectre yet, so things may pan out differently for the final cut. But these listings are a strong indication that the film could be the biggest 007 yet.

To get an idea of how it shapes up against its predecessors, here are the five longest Bond films to date:

  • Casino Royale - 144 mins
  • Skyfall - 143 mins
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service - 142 mins
  • Licence to Kill - 133 mins
  • Die Another Day - 133 mins

  • You'll be able to set your Q-issued stopwatches and find out for yourself when Spectre opens in UK cinemas on October 26 and November 6 in the US.

    Spectre (2015)
    © Sony Pictures

    In other Bond news, it was recently revealed that Sam Smith will perform Spectre's title track 'Writing's on the Wall'.

    "We recorded it in January, and I've been waiting to tell people for such a long time," Smith said, adding: "I'm so excited for people to hear it. I love the song so much."

    Daniel Craig: James Bond less 'sexist' than before

    The actor has claimed to be nothing like 007 and believes there is a ‘great sadness’ behind the agent’s womanising behaviour

    Playing alone ... Daniel Craig has called 007 'very lonely' in a new interview.

    Daniel Craig has called out his most famous on-screen character for his solitary lifestyle and dated views of the opposite sex.
    The actor, who will be starring as James Bond for the fourth time in this year’s Spectre, has spoken about his thoughts on the secret agent in an interview with Esquire.
    “He’s very fucking lonely,” he said. “There’s a great sadness. He’s fucking these beautiful women but then they leave and it’s … sad. And as a man gets older it’s not a good look. It might be a nice fantasy – that’s debatable – but the reality, after a couple of months …”
    Craig also addressed Bond’s views of the opposite sex and while he does believe there’s been an improvement, he still thinks the character has a lot to learn.
    “Hopefully, my Bond is not as sexist and misogynistic as [earlier incarnations],” he said. “The world has changed. I am certainly not that person. But he is, and so what does that mean? It means you cast great actresses and make the parts as good as you can for the women in the movies.
    PinteresIn the upcoming spy adventure, Craig’s female co-stars are Léa Seydoux andMonica Bellucci, who, in an unlikely twist, will actually be three years older than Craig. Bond has traditionally romanced younger women - in Skyfall, Bérénice Marlohe was 11 years his junior.
    Spectre will be Craig’s penultimate outing as Bond and the actor also spoke about what he will miss most about the role.
    “You know, it sounds awful but I’ve been left a wealthy man by doing this,” he said. “I can afford to live very comfortably. Things are taken care of. Family and kids are taken care of and that’s a massive relief in anybody’s life. I’m incredibly fortunate.”
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