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The Vulnerable Mr. Bond
It’s funny how our emblems of cool can be so unsure underneath.

Steve McQueen was a mass of insecurities, even refusing to hang his wardrobe next to that of a taller co-star. Paul Newman fretted that Marlon Brando was so brilliant, he made other actors pale by comparison. Kirk Douglas, Spartacus, no less, wrote recently in The Huffington Post about auditioning with Mae West to be a strongman for her stage show and being rejected after she took just one look at him.

Even Daniel Craig, who plays the classic symbol of cool, James Bond, has had moments of feeling shaken and stirred.

“Look, I was scared” silly “when I started doing it,” he recalled, using a coarser word than silly, which befits the man who made Bond, as A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote, “rougher and more soulful.”

Mr. Craig, during a chat at the Bowery Hotel to promote his coming Broadway play, “Betrayal,” said he was on the set of “Casino Royale” in the Bahamas, just starting to relax in his new role, when he got a call from his representatives, warning, “There may be trouble.” There was a press backlash and a grass-roots campaign in Britain to boycott the movie by those who deemed him James Bland: not tall, dark and handsome enough. There were even breathless — and false — rumors that he didn’t know how to drive the Aston Martin stick shift.

“And that’s the first time I experienced the Internet,” he said. “And did that thing, sort of stayed up all night, going, ‘Oh my God.’ ”

“There’s nothing to prepare you,” he said. “You can’t win — that was a lesson in itself, how much of that you can fight.”

The belittling digerati, blazing fame and “paps,” as he calls the paparazzi, were a tough adjustment for someone who had mostly played character roles, reflecting what John Naughton, writing for British GQ, called “glamorous gloom.”

“There’s a weird thing, there’s no one really to turn to,” Mr. Craig said. First, “your pride kicks in, and you go, ‘I can handle this.’ ” Then, he decided he needed some advice but wasn’t sure whom to ask. “I didn’t hang around with movie stars or famous people, so I couldn’t get someone on the phone and go, ‘What’s going on?’ ” he said. “And the times I’d meet people and either be drunk enough or get the courage enough to go, ‘What the [expletive] is this about, because I have no idea what’s going on in my life? I’m paranoid, I’m looking behind curtains, because I think people are following me.’

“And they’d just look at you with a wry smile and say, ‘Yep, well, that’s what it is.’ And it’s like, really? You mean there isn’t an answer?”

He gave up self-Googling after his all-nighter with the online craignotbond crowd. “I don’t look at myself on the Internet,” he says. “I’m so much happier.”

So he hasn’t seen the nicer chatter about how he and Rachel Weisz, his wife and co-star in “Betrayal,” are “the world’s hottest couple,” as they’ve been described in the tabloids. “I think there are far hotter couples out there than Rachel and I,” he said, laughing, “not putting Rachel down in any way, shape or form.”

Hollywood, in his view, sees the Internet as “the oracle,” to its own detriment.

The Internet has been integral to the Arab spring, he said, but “it’s not a particularly useful tool” for the film industry. “Certainly, when I grew up, what everybody else was thinking was not what I wanted to think,” Mr. Craig said. “I mean, not that that made me cool, but that’s how I thought cool people thought. Lou Reed didn’t worry about what people were thinking on Twitter when Lou Reed was just the coolest human being around. Or David Bowie. They cared, but they cared in a way that was so ahead of the curve because they weren’t interested in what people were thinking. And to now have this whole thing of being completely worried of what everybody’s thinking. Even people who are not famous, they’re worried about what their followers think, what their Facebook people think. It’s just, you’re chasing your tail. And the creativity, I think, just gets stifled.

“With studios — I may be completely wrong, and I don’t care if I am — but so much credence is being given to what is being said by a relatively small group of people that studios keep on making huge mistakes. They think they’re making a movie that’s going to be hugely successful, and it’s a failure. The movies that make it — and it’s always been that way, and it always will be — are the good movies. Yes, good advertising and good publicity is always going to help. But if the movie’s a dog, and I’ve been in a few, they don’t work.” (He used to hide “A Kid in King Arthur’s Court” at Blockbuster.)

Mr. Craig thinks the fight against devices consuming your life “is a good fight to have, as far as I’m concerned.”

“There’s nothing technological allowed in the bedroom,” he said. “If the iPad goes to bed, I mean, unless you’re both watching porn on the Internet, it’s a killer. We have a ban on it.”

Mr. Craig says he thinks the era of “Betrayal” — about an affair and its aftermath that goes from 1968 to 1977 in reverse — was a sexier time, before the world was full of leering smartphone cameras and people staring at little screens, when they still had the “pip pip pips” talked about in the play: the coins dropping into a phone booth for a “crafty telephone call,” as Harold Pinter wrote, from a pub or restaurant to make an excuse about coming home late.

All the constant updates now, calling and texting from the tarmac about when you’ll be home, are not sexy, he believes, adding, “Just turn up when you turn up.” Too much “extraneous” information, Mr. Craig said, is “putting us on edge all the time.”

He imagines that adulterers like those in the play would get caught a lot faster these days: “If you’re on the phone and making phone calls and popping up in the middle of dinner and kind of going, ‘Oh, look, a text,’ you’re rubbing it in my face. If you’re rubbing it in my face, maybe it’s impossible for me, or us, to do this.”

The man who plays a spy thinks it’s a turnoff that average citizens are all turning into spies, awash in tracking and video technology.

“It’s a complete anti-aphrodisiac,” Mr. Craig said. “It’s like we’ve had bromide put in our tea.”

He credits the Broccoli family, producers of the 51-year-old Bond franchise, on its sixth 007 actor, with saving the character from becoming a Mike Myers lampoon and macho cliché, letting Bond evolve while keeping his essence. Mr. Craig considers the alternative: trying to keep Bond frozen in time, like that superannuated symbol of virility, the founder of “Playboy.”

“Hugh Hefner still remains Hugh Hefner; Hefner’s essence is a little bit tired,” Mr. Craig said, cracking up. “It’s probably by his bed.”

Since the dazzling “Skyfall” — which earned $1.1 billion worldwide, making it the highest-grossing Bond film ever and the most profitable movie in British history — Mr. Craig is enjoying the role more. He, the director Sam Mendes (an ex-boyfriend of Ms. Weisz’s) and one of the “Skyfall” screenwriters, John Logan, are all on board for the 24th Bond film, due out in the fall of 2015.

Mr. Craig hopes that, without returning to Pink Pantherville, they can start to instill a bit of the arch humor of Roger Moore, the first Bond he saw at the age of 7.

“We’ve got it all to play with, and we should play with it, and we should have some fun with it,” he said.

He draws a distinction between acting and modeling (though he concedes that he does both as Bond). “There’s a lot of modeling in films now,’ ” he said, adding wryly: “I do a movie where I have to turn around a lot. I want to kill myself sometimes, but sometimes you have to go, O.K., right, this is the moment when I have to turn around.”

His director in “Betrayal,” Mike Nichols, was struck by Mr. Craig’s co-starring role with Queen Elizabeth in Danny Boyle’s opening show for the Olympics in 2012, because he was able to act as if Bond were the queen’s equal.

“I’m probably a republican at heart,” Mr. Craig said, grinning. “I probably want to abolish the monarchy deep down inside.”

He called it “surreal” to be suddenly thrust into a scene with the queen in her chambers, adding: “She improvised. She sat down at the desk and said, ‘Would you like me to pretend to be writing something?’ Took out a piece of paper. Did some business. Completely got it.”

Was she as good as Helen Mirren?

“Better,” he said.

Maybe the queen could play M, I suggested, now that Judi Dench (who has played many queens) has been killed off.

He demurred, noting, “There’s high maintenance, and there’s high maintenance.”

British reporters love to write about Mr. Craig, the highest-paid Bond ever, living in the “grimy” East Village, as The Daily Mail put it, amid the tattoo parlors and head shops.

“I know where to get two hash pipes for the price of one — I can always get a deal,” he said dryly, adding that the allure of the neighborhood isn’t in case he needs an emergency tattoo.

When he gets his tattoos, he said, he likes going alone, going through the pain of having it, and then having something indelible that’s “not for anybody else” emblazoned on his body. “If it is for somebody else,” he said, “that’s where you make the mistake.” (Ms. Weisz said she also has a tattoo, a small ladder, on her hip, a reminder of an award-winning play she wrote and starred in at Cambridge.)

Mr. Craig is more like Bond than like Pinter when it comes to male friends. “I don’t have a whole host of friends,” he said. “I don’t have a gang of guys who are friends. I have two or three very close friends, all of whom are male,” he said. “They’re all kind of scattered all over the globe.”

How does Ms. Weisz, a feminist who helped found a fringe theater group while at Cambridge, feel about being christened “Bond’s babe” and Mrs. James Bond? No one calls Mr. Craig Mr. Hester Collyer (the character she played so dazzlingly in Terence Rattigan’s “The Deep Blue Sea.”)

“Because you and three other people saw it,” she said, laughing.

Ms. Weisz said it’s important to remember that she knew Mr. Craig pre-Bond.

“I don’t see him in that way,” she said. “I grew up in England, watching him work. I saw him as a fellow actor. I love him, he’s my husband. I think of him as a great, a really great, actor.”

She said there is nothing (yet) to rumors that she might play a Bond villainess. She once toyed, for professional reasons, with changing her name to how it’s pronounced, to Vice or Vyce, which sounds like a perfect Bond babe name. “Yes,” she agreed. “But Rachel’s too Old Testament. Maybe Roxy. I love that name. Roxy Vice.”

I met up with the couple after rehearsal one afternoon with their “Betrayal” co-star, the British actor Rafe Spall, an appealing 30-year-old father of two small children who went on a diet-and-fitness regime after acting in “Shaun of the Dead.” I asked Mr. Craig if he has given Mr. Spall any workout tips from his Bond training, which has been written up in the press as entailing seven hours a day with three trainers.

“None of that is true, no,” Mr. Craig scoffed. “I train as little as I possibly can.”

The actors in the corrosive triangle aren’t sure, given the brutality of the play, how much they’ll socialize offstage. Referring to Mr. Craig’s tight inner circle, Ms. Weisz said playfully to her husband, “There are things people have to get through before they can be your friend.”

Feats of strength, I wondered?

“Yeah,” Mr. Craig told Mr. Spall, laughing. “You have to lift 150 pounds above your head. It’s your challenge.”

Категория: Интервью на английском | Добавил: natta (07 Сен 2013)
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