For many fans of the James Bond franchise,the news that British actor Daniel Craig had been cast as the new James Bond 007 came as a surprise. After all, who is this guy? “Today” show host Katie Couric sat down with Craig on the set of his latest movie.
He's suave, debonair, impeccably dressed, he always gets the girl and he's licensed to kill. He's been known to have X-ray vision. He can crack any safe, pick any lock, and he can leap tall buildings in a single bound. No, he's not superman — he's 007. And now he's Craig, Daniel Craig.
37-year-old Craig isn't a complete unknown. He's appeared with big-name stars like Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie. But despite his lengthy resume, he's not exactly a household name.
For the past six weeks, he's been an Englishman in D.C., shooting an upcoming movie, “The Visiting,” which is loosely based on the sci-fi classic “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”
Katie Couric: A lot of Americans don't know all that much about you. So, I thought I'd ask you a few questions — kind of a little bio.
Daniel Craig: All right.
Couric: Yeah. All right. Where were you born?
Craig: I was born in Chester, which is north-northwest of England.
Couric: You've been acting for a long time. So far, what is the favorite — your favorite movie, in terms of what you've been in?
Craig: That's a tough one. Because I've got a few. I mean, I've got a list of them that I've enjoyed.
Couric: Not “Tomb Raider?” You wouldn't say that was your personal favorite?
Craig: Thanks. Thanks, so much. [Laughter] This is going so well. [Laughter]
Couric: What is your favorite thing to do when you have a day off?
Couric: What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Craig: Wow. God — these questions.
Couric: I know, I'm sorry.
Couric: Oh, come on. What's your second favorite?
Couric: Okay. That's a little more interesting, frankly. How did the whole Bond thing unfold? There was so much mystery and intrigue around who would be the next Bond. Can you give me a little bit of the back story?
Craig: There's none, really. I mean, it's a simple situation where I was approached to — sort of, do it, and — I thought about it for a long time, and they thought about it. And lo and behold, here we are.
Couric: Is it a bit nerve-racking? I mean, I know you've been asked, ad nauseum, about stepping into the shoes of — of those who have gone before you. But is it nerve-racking to play a role that was done so —
Craig: Do you want the truth?
Craig: I'm trying not to think about it.
Couric: So, I guess the answer would be “yes.”
Craig: Well, I'm just trying to approach it like anything else I've done. And just — I mean, the thing to do is just not get it wrong.
Couric: Are you excited though?
Craig: I am very incredibly excited. Yes. Yes. I mean, I just — but I just want to get on with it. Just get on with the job.
And the job at hand is wrapping up “The Visiting,” with his co-star Nicole Kidman.
Couric: Tell me about the character you play.
Craig: Well, I'm a doctor, here in D.C. And, me and Nicole are sort of — best friends. And the proverbial … hits the fan, basically. And the world gets turned upside down. We're trying to find out whether there's some way around this horrible problem that everybody seems to be having. By being snatched by aliens.
Couric: Is it fun to work on such an “out-there” script?
Craig: It is. There's a kind of sinister undertone. It's been great filming in the capital because it gives it a real kind of — political edge, which was one of the reasons I loved this script.
For Nicole Kidman, it was the chance to get physical that attracted her to the film.
Nicole Kidman: This is the most action I've ever done in a film.
Kidman: It's about the way in which, you know, society gets infiltrated by — what you call “aliens.” We've been running through the streets and jumping things, jumping turnstiles in the train station, down in the subways.
Couric: Are you having fun with that?
Kidman: I am. I — yeah. It's different for me.
Couric: How do you like working with the new Bond?
Kidman: He's gonna be a wonderful James Bond. I think people will be really glad to see him in that role. He's perfect for it.
Couric: What's sort of interesting, though is — he's not your quintessential “pretty boy.” You know, he's a little more rugged, a little ruddier — he's blond. You know, it's so funny because — usually, women are kind of dissected this way, not — not male actors.
Kidman: Gosh, I know.
Couric: But — I wonder if, do you sort of feel for him?
Kidman: I didn't realize there was so much interest in —
Couric: There is. I think a little ...
Kidman: Yeah. But I sort of walk around with my head in the clouds most of the time, and don't realize that most things are that —
Kidman: No. [Laughs]
Daniel Craig's next leading lady will be the new Bond girl, a role for which several actresses are rumored to be in the running, including Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba and Sienna Miller.
But whoever his sidekick, Daniel Craig knows that when it comes to filling the shoes of the world's most well-known secret agent, it's either sink or swim.