“Casino Royale” director Martin Campbell recently told Express UK that he was concerned Daniel Craig wasn’t sexy enough to be James Bond when his name was thrown into the ring to replace Pierce Brosnan as 007. The filmmaker had previously directed Brosnan in the beloved 1995 Bond tentpole “GoldenEye” and was returning to the franchise at the time to launch a new 007 following Brosnan’s exit after 2002’s “Die Another Day.”
“My only reticence with Daniel…he was really a superb actor, there’s no doubt about that,” Campbell said. “It was the fact that with people like Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan was that they were all traditional-looking Bonds. All handsome guys, all sexy, all very attractive to women and so forth.”
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“Daniel was obviously tougher and rugged, but he wasn’t a traditional handsome guy,” he added. “So I just thought about that for a minute and apart from that, absolutely it was always him.”
Campbell said there were “eight people” in contention to become the new Bond in “Casino Royale.”
“It’s very democratic,” he explained of the selection process. “You sit around a table…It was myself and the producers, casting director, etc. And you go through the eight people and you put your hand up as you talk through each person and ultimately everybody has to be unanimous in their decision, if you see what I mean.”
One actor who was considered for Bond at the time was Henry Cavill, long before he would become DC’s Superman. Campbell previously said that Cavill “looked great in the audition” and “his acting was tremendous,” but “he just looked a little young at that time back then.”
The decision to ultimately cast Craig in “Casino Royale” did not receive unanimous praise. As longtime Bond casting director Debbie McWilliams told Entertainment Weekly back in 2021, she “felt sorry” for Craig after his casting led to extreme blowback from press who thought Craig didn’t fit the part of Bond.
“It was unbelievably negative, I have to say,” McWilliams said about the reaction to Craig’s casting. “The press response was awful and I felt so sorry for him, but in a funny kind of a way I think it almost spurred him on to do his damndest to prove everybody wrong.”
“The whole way through the film, stuff would come out about [how] he couldn’t walk and talk, he couldn’t run, he couldn’t drive a car properly, so much stuff which was completely and utterly untrue,” she continued. “And he just kept his head down, got on with the job and then the film came out and everybody went, ‘Oh wow, I think we quite like him after all.’”
Craig went on to play Bond in five movies. He left the role after 2021’s “No Time to Die.” There’s currently no timeline announced for when the next James Bond actor will be revealed.
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