It’s official: on Friday, Daniel Craig was plopped in a boat (apparently they have yet to secure a sponsor for the agent’s kickin’ ride yet) and steered up the Thames for a press conference on his being cast as the next James Bond (David Sillito at the BBC has details from that). Of course, this announcement had been scooped by the Daily Mail several days ago, not to mention by Craig’s mother, who, as Hugh Davies at the Telegraph reports, cheerfully trilled on Thursday (press embargo be damned!): "Obviously we are thrilled to bits. It has come at a very good time in his career. He has worked extremely hard all his life – and this would be his biggest, populist role. I think he could bring something very interesting to the part. It will be life changing."
Craig will be either the sixth or seventh James Bond (depending on whether you count Sean Connery twice, a la Grover Cleveland) (and assuming you don’t count David Niven, Woody Allen or anyone else in the 1967 "Casino Royale" spoof) â€” the Boston Globe has a slide show of the Bonds we’ve known, if you need to refresh your memory, while the LA Times has a more entertainingly captioned picture sidebar beside Mary McNamara‘s deconstruction of what, exactly, we want in an international super-spy:
[Ian] Fleming wanted his man to be a cipher â€” an avid bird watcher, he named 007 (the 00 indicates a license to kill) after the author of "Birds of the West Indies." The closest thing to an actual description of the man who has come to be a symbol of sleek, suave masculinity is actually found in "Casino Royale." In it, Vesper Lynd (Bond’s love interest du jour) remarks that Bond "reminds rather of Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless."
"The image of James Bond conjures charisma," said Seattle-based illustrator Mike Grell, who has drawn Bond for two graphic novels. "But [the casting of Craig] follows with what Fleming wrote. Bond was not unattractive, but there was a cruelty about his mouth and he was more real than Hollywood has portrayed him."
We’ve always found it odd that Fleming imagined his international man of mystery as a meaner Cricket, but whatever. Sharon Waxman at the New York Times take the business angle, offering a smattering of explanations as to why it took so very long to choose Craig, who was apparently always the first choice for Barbara Broccoli, who’s long controlled the rights to the franchise.
Both Peter Howell at the Toronto Star and Karl Heitmueller at MTV offer ways to fix the franchise (Heitmueller being a bit more serious that Howell, who suggests that the new "Casino Royale" start off with Pierce Brosnan back in place as Bond, only to kill him off so that Craig can arise and assume his name and agent number). Director Martin Campbell has been promising a new, stripped-down, darker and hipper Bond all over the place (the dreaded "reinvention"), and Chris Hastings, Nina Goswami and David Fickling at the Telegraph bring us word of some of the changes already being put in place (beyond Craig’s blondness). Co-producer Michael G. Wilson shares that "Neither Miss Moneypenny nor Q will appear. Neither of them are in the book. The film will update the novel but stick very closely to the storyline. In the story, Bond is just joining the service."
We’re at best barely interested in this whole affair, despite our fondness for Mr. Craig. Mostly we’re thrilled by this recent spate of franchise reimagining â€” everything bleaker, darker, grittier, yes! We’d like "The Smurfs" as a grim futuristic fable about genetic engineering and conformity, please…or maybe "Alice in Wonderland" with Alice as a gun-toting, unstable waif, or a London pubgoer on a Saturday night, or a comatose girl dreaming about Marilyn Manson? Oh, right, right, right.
+ Latest Bond ‘not shaken’ by media (BBC)
+ My son is Bond, James Bond (Telegraph)
+ My name is Bond, James Bond… (Boston Globe)
+ Bond gets roughed up (LA Times)
+ Bond Franchise Is Shaken and Stirred (NY Times)
+ Speculating on the Bond market (Toronto Star)
+ Saving Agent Bond (MTV)
+ Ah, Miss Moneypenny. I’m afraid we will not require your services (Telegraph)