RT Interview: Daniel Craig on Bond, Growing Up and Fading Out in Hollywood

The Quantum of Solace star talks about his passion project, Flashbacks of a Fool

by | April 16, 2008 | Comments

Daniel CraigQuite possibly the hottest British actor of the moment, Daniel Craig‘s star – which was on a fast ascent even before 2006’s Bond revival Casino Royale – is currently shining so bright that it’s hard to pin him down. Hard, that is, unless he’s supporting Flashbacks of a Fool, a film he’s so passionate about he’s taken time off from filming Quantum of Solace to promote. Craig plays Joe Scot, a fading Hollywood star who has managed to coast through life with no care for anyone he steps on to succeed. When his childhood friend, nicknamed Boots, dies, he realises what he’s missed out on. RT sat down with Craig to learn more.

You’ve got what I imagine is a rare day off from Quantum of Solace and you’ve chosen to spend it talking to us about Flashbacks of a Fool. What does the film mean to you?

Daniel Craig: It’s been very personal, really. The fact is that Baillie Walsh, the director, is my best mate and he wrote the script six years ago with me in mind. There are a lot of reasons for it – it’s a lot to do with who he is and how we both look at life in the sense that if you don’t deal with certain things when you’re a kid they’ll come back and get you. I believe in Baillie as a moviemaker. He’s done two feature-length documentaries plus any number of music videos and commercials and it’s kind-of about time he got to do a feature.

So was it about using whatever clout you could to help him get the project off the ground? We noticed the Executive Producer credit.

DC: Definitely; it was a really important stage to go through, for me. It’s no great leap for me, what my job entails really on a job like this is to talk to people and say, “Do you mind spending some money? I believe in this, I believe in this director, we’ve got a great cast, a great, DoP, a great crew; I think we can make a great movie.” It’s not a huge leap because I end up doing that anyway on films! I’m unofficially launching the movie, going and talking to people and getting them to invest and support it. Once we started filming I just got on with the acting.

Flashbacks of a Fool

Was there perhaps a personal interest in playing Joe Scot at that stage of his career?

DC: [laughs] Why, because he’s fading?! The fact that he’s a movie star is really secondary I think. He’s a lonely man in a big house, he’s got everything he wants and he could have anything he wants. He could have a career, but he’s pushed it all away. He doesn’t feel he needs anything, when what he needs is good friendship and what he needs is the support of people who genuinely love him as opposed to the support of those who genuinely don’t love him. And it’s staring him in the face, his mother and her girlfriend, who on the face of it seem dysfunctional, are actually good family, and he’s got this lady Ophelia who’s looking after him and is probably the love of his life and would sacrifice everything for him. It’s all there and he’s fucking it up, that’s really all it boils down to. I like that idea – I like that he’s having to take care of business.

Do you see contemporaries of yours falling into that trap?

DC: I’ve been around, I’ve seen a lot in my life, and everybody goes down the dark, winding staircase eventually. It’s a bad place to be and that’s why having good friends is always essential. Those are the people who pull you out. But it happens to everyone in every profession and you have to deal with it. Joe is an alcoholic drug addict and for an evening he’s probably great entertainment and fantastic to be with, but to live with it’s a nightmare, and that’s the reality of it. It’s showing that, but it’s saying, “the reality of this is something else.” But that’s not really where the movie lies.

What keeps you grounded?

DC: Friends and family, who tell me what an arsehole I am! [laughs]

Flashbacks of a Fool

Do you recognise that period of Joe’s childhood in your own life?

DC: It’s not similar, but certainly the music was familiar and I too grew up near the sea – though it wasn’t quite the Southern Cape [which filled in for the English coast]. It was important in the movie to have that memory of a place. I grew up by the seaside, there were arcades, it resonates for me, certainly. Baillie grew up by the sea too – he was the guy on the Wurlitzer spinning you around and making you sick. It’s a mixture of things exploded. Ideas from childhood as opposed to very specific points. The little girl dying is that impetus that sends Joe off on his way because he can’t escape the guilt. His sexual awakening ties in with this little girl dying. It’s not an excuse to be a fucked-up human being, but it’s a good excuse to have problems.

What brought you and Baillie together, originally?

DC: We have a mutual friend in John Maybury, and I met Baillie on the set of Love is the Devil, and we’ve just been mates ever since.

Did you have the equivalent of a Boots in your life?

DC: Yes. I’ve got a good friend from school who I stay in touch with, but I left home at sixteen and I’ve lived most of my adult life in London and that’s where my friends are. I’ve got one good friend back home who I still talk to, but it was a long time ago.

Harry Eden is brilliant as the young version of you, but you didn’t get to share any scenes with him, obviously, so how involved were you in his casting?

DC: Baillie just said, “I found him,” and as soon as I saw him, I knew he was the guy. People are saying we look physically alike, but Harry and I are convinced there are no similarities. But I just let him get on with it. It’s a whole lifetime between that time and my time as the character. People change irrevocably, and I thought just letting him get on with being who he was was the best thing to do. He does it just as a moody teenager, full of hormones and everything else.

Flashbacks of a Fool

You have a quite graphic sex scene at the start, does it bother you, getting naked on screen?

DC: No, it never has. I’ve made a career out of it! I work out, but that’s what I do now. That’s part of my job. And I’ve always kept fairly fit. If I know I’ve got to take my top off I lay off the cakes! But I keep myself as physically fit as possible just because of what I’ve got to do in the movies. We’ve started Bond now, and we haven’t started the physical stuff yet, but I’m sure I’m going to be walking wounded from the end of next week for the next six months!

Are you approaching Quantum of Solace with a sense of relief after the success of your first? Is there less pressure on you?

DC: I don’t think so, I don’t think you can say there’s less pressure when you make a $200m movie – the pressure is plain to see. We’ve got to make it as good as if not better than the last one, that’s the only thing that matters. I’m no less nervous than I was but I’m very happy with what we’ve put together for this one. Marc Forster‘s come on board and he’s taking care of a lot of things that I just don’t need to think about and I’m just getting on with it. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable with it. It’s James Bond, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that place and get Zen about it – it’s not that kind of role. But I’m enjoying what we’ve shot of this and I’m planning to enjoy as much as I can of this filming process, because otherwise why do it?

Is there much difference between making a British indie movie like this and making a big $200m Bond movie?

DC: I honestly think that on set there’s very little difference. On set there’s two cameras, maybe, the crew and if you’re shooting dialogue and scenes with actors it’s the same. The difference comes in when suddenly there are explosions and napalm going off everywhere. But actually the atmosphere is very similar.

How are you finding working with Mathieu Amalric?

DC: I’m over the moon about it. We worked together very briefly on Munich, but I didn’t actually have any scenes with him on that. Now I’ve got to know him, and that Schnabel movie he’s just done is brilliant.

Flashbacks of a Fool

Is he Vesper’s Algerian boyfriend? Is that the connection?

DC: There is a connection, yes! [laughs] The film carries on from where the last one stopped, so we set up in the last one that there’s this organisation that’s destabilising the world’s economy in a bid to take it over, and Bond’s job is to go and get them.

Now that you’re making your second Bond movie, is it more or less important to do other work, do you think?

DC: It’s no more or less important, I don’t think. Someone asked whether it was important to make a smaller movie after making a Bond movie, but I’ve never, ever done films because I should do them, and if I have ever done that it’s usually been an unpleasant experience. I’ve only ever really enjoyed and liked films I’ve done because I’ve wanted to do them. And that’s absolutely on an individual basis. Doing a film and saying, I’ve done a really dark film and now I have to do a comedy… That’s not me. If a script comes along and it’s dark I’ll absolutely do it and take the consequences. I’m not fussed about the image that goes along with it.

But it seems to have made it easier to do other work and to champion a project you really believe in, like this…

DC: It’s been useful. Suddenly people are listening to me like I’ve got an opinion which is really disturbing! [laughs] I’ve kind-of got to have one! That’s quite nice in a way – sort-of facing up, championing something and believing in something. It’s a nice place to be. And, you know, I like Baillie Walsh, I think he’s got a huge amount of talent, so saying to someone, “I like this guy,” is really very easy.

Read our interview with director Baillie Walsh here.

Tag Cloud

Emmys DirecTV Certified Fresh disaster Pride Month Britbox Video Games Amazon Prime Video stop motion concert Elton John NYCC Cannes Musical Winners OWN richard e. Grant Action latino Crackle Holiday Black History Month comics Ovation zombie Brie Larson TCA universal monsters Countdown TNT based on movie VICE The Academy sag awards Box Office discovery El Rey 4/20 rotten TV transformers Comics on TV Cosplay 21st Century Fox 71st Emmy Awards worst movies HBO Go Premiere Dates BET scary movies Starz dogs classics Fantasy psycho SDCC Arrowverse tv talk Thanksgiving FOX YouTube Red Dark Horse Comics adaptation Walt Disney Pictures Fox News fast and furious Masterpiece talk show french Tarantino Nominations Western See It Skip It RT21 Syfy Opinion breaking bad Avengers 2016 Columbia Pictures Rocketman animated Disney+ Disney Plus elevated horror BBC Reality italian Shondaland Sundance Now National Geographic worst Television Critics Association child's play superhero strong female leads joker DC Comics WGN cops Netflix Christmas movies justice league toronto The Purge Anna Paquin documentaries ID canceled video on demand Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt indie boxoffice quibi GIFs 45 science fiction YouTube Premium Travel Channel franchise Esquire Disney Channel Peacock Biopics Pet Sematary TIFF FXX Comedy Mary Poppins Returns Captain marvel DC streaming service Superheroe Rom-Com comic biography sequel blockbuster President documentary Television Academy Sci-Fi HBO hist series green book Toys Pirates Infographic 007 cats criterion venice batman Pop Disney streaming service crime thriller Rock nature BBC America Mystery game show Epix unscripted singing competition Tumblr TCA Awards Calendar thriller rotten movies we love hollywood australia A&E composers Lifetime Christmas movies Shudder Valentine's Day Year in Review Star Trek DGA Sundance TV hispanic ABC Family robots Ghostbusters mission: impossible directors Cartoon Network dragons New York Comic Con Stephen King screen actors guild MSNBC award winner Apple critics Lionsgate binge Discovery Channel streaming festivals Mindy Kaling Pixar Kids & Family slashers TCA Winter 2020 comic books independent aliens screenings Sundance halloween spanish twilight stand-up comedy 2018 Animation Tubi adventure chucky zombies all-time crime harry potter stoner Super Bowl halloween tv deadpool spinoff TV renewals USA Network book football war Mary poppins USA cancelled TV shows IFC Films political drama vampires CW Seed Spring TV ratings Amazon Prime Universal christmas movies Showtime space scorecard Apple TV+ Acorn TV YA best Adult Swim Disney Plus Trivia Paramount Awards Tour zero dark thirty Awards TruTV FX on Hulu spider-man movie ITV sitcom PlayStation Spike TCM E! Fox Searchlight remakes TV Land mutant AMC toy story reboot A24 The Walking Dead Endgame jamie lee curtis reviews PaleyFest medical drama GoT technology Marathons Bravo 2020 romance OneApp comiccon free movies Hulu dc game of thrones Turner Hallmark a nightmare on elm street Chilling Adventures of Sabrina what to watch Disney Hear Us Out satire dark parents Warner Bros. Marvel 99% canceled TV shows First Look CMT Summer cancelled fresh video films theme song spain Crunchyroll IFC TBS cults SXSW indiana jones japanese LGBTQ black dceu Family Reality Competition Red Carpet nfl ABC ESPN rt archives DC Universe VH1 Apple TV Plus Spectrum Originals police drama Winter TV Country news Chernobyl San Diego Comic-Con Song of Ice and Fire spanish language 20th Century Fox PBS Hallmark Christmas movies The CW mockumentary natural history Amazon Studios Musicals Freeform Election archives CBS All Access crime drama casting historical drama Funimation Alien versus spy thriller crossover asian-american History Women's History Month Schedule Mudbound Vudu Comedy Central HBO Max festival cinemax Sneak Peek witnail Heroines Interview Podcast CNN LGBT anthology GLAAD Best and Worst ghosts Classic Film nbcuniversal Writers Guild of America Film Festival teaser blaxploitation Photos cancelled television Binge Guide Film cooking name the review E3 Drama X-Men Trailer television Set visit Creative Arts Emmys boxing Sony Pictures Teen Lucasfilm Marvel Television Nickelodeon docudrama Martial Arts die hard Holidays Academy Awards Netflix revenge Logo Tomatazos First Reviews Oscars BAFTA WarnerMedia 72 Emmy Awards BET Awards Paramount Network SundanceTV miniseries Black Mirror Superheroes Baby Yoda Turner Classic Movies laika VOD cars supernatural Comic Book Pop TV comedies romantic comedy politics finale Amazon movies Music anime YouTube Nat Geo The Arrangement Lifetime American Society of Cinematographers Grammys 2017 Polls and Games period drama NBC serial killer sports TLC 2019 diversity RT History Extras doctor who The Witch psychological thriller sequels BBC One Character Guide Rocky Marvel Studios true crime obituary travel werewolf south america dramedy FX cartoon MTV Horror cancelled TV series kids MCU Emmy Nominations children's TV TCA 2017 james bond 2015 facebook emmy awards Christmas 24 frames renewed TV shows social media Ellie Kemper Watching Series Fall TV foreign Star Wars CBS Food Network Quiz APB Trophy Talk Mary Tyler Moore golden globes