WESTWOOD, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 14: Daniel Craig arrives at the Premiere of Lionsgate’s ‘Knives Out’ at Regency Village Theatre on November 14, 2019 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images)
  • Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2020: Daniel Craig, “Knives Out”

He exchanged the fine threads James Bond is used to wearing for the humble tweeds of a simple country gumshoe. A change of wardrobe rewarded with his first-ever Golden Globe nomination.Daniel Craig’s role in Knives Out is the beginning of his first outing after the end of his tenure as 007. He, of course, took on other films during the long intervals between his five Bond roles. But despite delivering critically acclaimed performances, those roles were overshadowed by his identification as Bond. James Bond.That, he hopes, will no longer be the case. In a conversation with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, he confirmed the finality of his departure from her Majesty’s secret service: “Yes, I just finished my very last time as Bond. Somebody else needs to have a go”.His casting some 15 years ago as the sixth Bond actor was not universally welcomed. Aficionados of the Bond franchise around the globe cried foul. They criticized his looks: not as sexy as Sean Connery, “the sexiest man alive”. Not a pretty boy like Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan. Only 5 feet 10 inches tall and a lightweight at 172 pounds.  But most of all it was his blond hair and his steel-blue eyes which, his critics found more befitting a Nazi villain than a British hero.“I have to admit”, he said to the HFPA after his initial Bond film, Casino Royale (2006), had wrapped, “I felt hurt. I found the attacks ridiculously unfair and insulting to a professional actor”.Daniel Craig had started acting at age 6 in school plays. After he was accepted by the National Youth Theatre (NYT) at age 16 he moved from Chester Cheshire, where he was born March 2, 1968, to London. On many occasions, he has pointed to his mother as the driving force behind his aspirations. And he mentioned the first Bond movie he ever saw at the cinema was Roger Moore’s Live and Let Die when he was five years old. He loved it.After years of minor roles and waiting tables, he started a three-year acting course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He graduated in 1991. A year later came his first role in a film, John G. Avildson’s South African drama The Power of One. His “Teutonic” looks might have helped him to be cast as the brutal Sgt. Botha.His lead in the BBC2 series Our Friends in the North (1996) made him a recognizable figure in the U.K.Hollywood called. He was cast in supporting roles in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Road to Perdition (2002) and finally Steven Spielberg’s Munich (2005). A year earlier he had found high critical acclaim with his first leading film role in Layer Cake (2004).In 2004 the discussions started: Who is fit to become the successor of the current Bond titleholder, Pierce Brosnan? Daniel Craig felt he was ready. He had the proven acting chops. He has always been a good athlete, as a youngster, he was a rugby player at Hoylake Rugby Club. He trained vigorously, buffed himself up with 20 pounds of sheer muscle and became – in the eyes of a global fan base – the best Bond since Sean Connery. Casino Royale was a box office hit and so were all the follow-ups: Quantum Solace (2008), SkyfallSpectreNo Time to Die, is slated for 2020.Many commentators opined that Daniel Craig as Bond represented a new kind of masculinity. Not as sexist as Bond was in the Connery years, not as silly, outlandish and irresponsible as many of the Bond images that followed. Craig’s Bond was imperfect, vulnerable, capable of honest human responses and feelings.His ability to allow a darker, deeper personality to shine through all the fast and furious action is what distinguishes Craig’s Bond roles, a capacity for broader psychological spectrum. And that ability is on display as well in his Golden Globe-nominated role in Knives Out – as private eye Benoit Blanc who is mysteriously enlisted to investigate the death of the patriarch of a very wealthy family.Are films like this who-done-it in his future? In his most recent conversation with the HFPA, the 51-year old actor who is known for his reserved demeanor answered: “I am in the lucky situation where I get to read scripts and be sent scripts and offers. I’m at the stage in my career where I just want to work with people I like. Life is too short. That’s the only plan I have. To work only with people who I like. Only with nice people”.