Daniel’s having flashbacks – but is still looking forward
Emma Johnson finds our blond Bond having flashbacks
IT IS hard to get away from Daniel Craig at the moment. With the first rushes from his hotly-anticipated second Bond movie Quantum of Solace, out last week, the very private Chester-born star is racking up the column inches.
Sadly, we still have six months before we will see Daniel back in his tux (or, with a bit of luck, blue Speedos) for the follow-up to 2006’s Casino Royale – which went on to become the highest grossing Bond film of all time – but next week he is back on the silver screen in the coming-of-age drama, Flashbacks of a Fool.
In the movie, directed by Bailie Walsh, Daniel plays Joe Scot, a fading movie star whose sex, drugs and celebrity lifestyle has taken its toll.
When Joe’s oldest friend dies, he is forced to come back to England for the funeral, where the story flashes back to the 1970s and Joe takes the opportunity to reflect upon his youth.
“He’s a movie star, he lives in LA, he’s probably incredibly successful, got a ton of money in the bank, lives in a big house and is exceptionally lonely and sad and is really not kind of dealing with his life,” says Daniel of his latest character.
“At the beginning of the movie he gets a piece of really bad news which drags him back into his childhood, to an event that happened one summer, the summer that he left home, and it’s about sort of taking care of business.”
With Daniel’s own penchant for privacy, he doesn’t do the whole celebrity scene and refuses to talk about his long-term relationship with film producer Satsuki Mitchell (to whom he is rumoured to be engaged), it is hard to picture Daniel himself ever finding himself in Joe’s shoes.
However, the actor, who recently turned 40 and is the father of a teenage daughter, admits he can identify with his characters’ worries about staying on top of the acting game.
“You’ve just got to keep working hard, I think, if you can keeping doing the right job.
“It’s a fickle business, that’s what it is, but if you keep at it and keep working out what you love and what you like doing, then you’ll at least be doing the right thing.
“What’s interesting about the character, Joe, is that he has success, he’s got all he wants but he’s f---ing it up.”
NOT something anyone could accuse no-nonsense Daniel of.
Growing up in Wirral, Daniel joined the National Youth Theatre at 16 before going on to study at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Television roles soon followed, notably in the harrowing drama Our Friends in the North, before Hollywood came knocking for the former Calday Grange pupil.
After playing opposite Angelina Jolie in 2001’s action adventure Tomb Raider, roles came thick and fast, from a hit-man in Oscar-winner Sam Mendes’s Road to Perdition, to Ted Hughes in the bio-pic Sylvia. The British gangster flick Layer Cake in 2004 and Munich, Steven Spielberg’s account of the 1972 Olympic tragedy, later established him as one of the UK’s acting heavyweights.
Then along came Bond.
Flashbacks of a Fool also sees Daniel make his debut as executive producer on a project – a hint that he has ambitions as much behind the camera as in front.
“I would (like to do more), yes, definitely,” he says. “I mean, obviously because Bailie Walsh is a friend of mine, that’s the main reason I’m involved in this. It seemed right to get involved as an executive producer just to sort of push it along, and, thankfully, because of Bond and because of other things, things came together and we got the movie made.”
With Flashbacks of a Fool set for its West End premiere on Wednesday, before a nationwide release on Friday, Daniel is currently in the thick of things with Quantum of Solace.
The 22nd Bond film, the movie picks up an hour after the end of Casino Royale, and sees 007 attempt to track down the killers of his Bond-girl lover Vesper Lynd (played by Eva Green) while fighting to stop an eco-terrorist installing an evil dictator in Bolivia.
Filming began in January and Daniel has spent the last few weeks in deepest Chile, where the actor who purists initially dismissed as too blond to be Bond has been suffering for his art.
“We’re going from stunt sequence to stunt sequence. We did a body flight thing where you are free-falling in a wind tunnel. That was tough.
“I did a two-day fight sequence which we had been rehearsing for two months. That was physically very hard, getting hit, basically.”
He has admitted that he has to train every evening to create his all-action version of the world’s most famous secret agent, but it seems Daniel is neither shaken nor stirred by the rigours of the role.
Although he initially committed to three years as the suave spy, last week he gave his strongest hint yet that Quantum of Solace may not be his last outing, telling an interviewer: “Until my joints go, I will keep going as Bond.”
Or perhaps until he can no longer pull off those tight swimming trunks.
FLASHBACKS of a Fool opens nationwide on Friday, April 18.
CATCH more of Daniel Craig when he is interviewed by Boyzone star Stephen Gately on Film 24, Sky channel 158.