“Casino Royale” successfully rebooted the James Bond franchise, scoring rave reviews and massive box-office in the process. The quickly shuffled out follow-up “Quantum of Solace” however, though a big earner, got a far more muted response. At the time the blame seemed to rest on both director Marc Forester and the production being pushed through during the writer’s strike.
Now the film’s star Daniel Craig, who has added to his coolness lately by dropping truth bombs in various interviews for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” promotions, tells Time Out London that ‘Quantum’ was in trouble from the get-go – and the writer’s strike was to blame in some ways.
Asked about scripts being an after-thought on huge productions, Craig responded “Yes and you swear that you’ll never get involved with shit like that, and it happens. On “Quantum”, we were fucked. We had the bare bones of a script and then there was a writers’ strike and there was nothing we could do. We couldn’t employ a writer to finish it. I say to myself, “Never again”, but who knows? There was me trying to rewrite scenes – and a writer I am not.'”
Craig went on to say that he and the director [Marc Forster] worked on the script as they were the only ones allowed to do it – “The rules were that you couldn’t employ anyone as a writer, but the actor and director could work on scenes together. We were stuffed. We got away with it, but only just… for me personally, on a level of feeling satisfied, I would want to do better next time. That’s really important to me.”
Surprisingly he revealed that the script delivered before the deadline was much more standalone than the final film became – “It was never meant to be as much of a sequel as it was, but it ended up being a sequel, starting where the last one finished.” As a result of the experience he’s gotten more into the process behind-the-scenes and played a big part in the hiring of Sam Mendes to do “Skyfall”.
Why Mendes? “He’s English, he’s Cambridge-educated, he’s smart. He’s lived with Bond all his life, he grew up with Bond the way I did. We grew up at exactly the same time, and I said to him, ‘We have to do this together, we have exactly the same reference points, we both like the same Bond movies and we both like the same bits in the same Bond movies we like.’ We sat down and we just rabbited for hours about ‘Live and Let Die’ or ‘From Russia with Love,’ and talked about little scenes that we knew from them. That’s how we started talking about it. That’s what we tried to instill in the script. He’s been working his arse off to tie all these things together so they make sense – in a Bond way.”
Craig adds he’s much more excited for “Skyfall” because this time everything is up to snuff – “I’m genuinely really excited because we’ve got a script. The deciding factor for doing “Casino Royale”, even though I was umming and aahhing, going [puts on moody voice] “I don’t know if I want to do it”, was that they showed me the script and I thought: Fuck, I’ve got to do this. And I think this one is better. I really do. it’s a totally original story. I read it and it just works as a story… we got Roger Deakins [the director of photography], for fuck’s sake, who’s shooting it. The air is rare, and we’ve had the chance to employ some brilliant people. Win or lose, we’ve done the best we can because we’ve put the right people in the job.”