2006 - ? Daniel Craig: The Name’s Blonde...
James Bond: tall, dark, dashing. Right? Not any more.
With Brosnan pretty much unbeatable as the ‘ideal’ of what Bond should look like, EON went the other way. If Bond’s a killer, shouldn’t he look like one?
Inspired by Matt Damon’s terse, tough assassin Jason Bourne, the casting team upped their game by proposing Daniel Craig: built like a bulldog, surly screen disposition, and blonde.
The hardcore fanbase was in uproar, but anybody who’d seen Craig’s convincing turn as a criminal anti-hero in Layer Cake – or his immortal Geordie in TV classic Our Friends In The North – had a hunch something interesting was afoot.
So it proved. Casino Royale was truly back to basics: a grassroots reinvention that showed us Bond’s beginnings with a realism seldom seen since Fleming signed away the film rights. With Craig pumped-up and taking no prisoners, here was the first 007 since Sean to truly convince as a hardened killer.
Casino Royale – and Craig – was an instant hit, and leapt to the top of fans’ and critics’ lists alike. And, with Quantum of Solace becoming the first direct sequel in the series, James Bond became a fully-functioning modern movie serial, rather than the episodic adventures of 007. The stage was set for a full-scale showdown with the shadowy Quantum organisation.
Of course, that’s currently in doubt following EON’s announcement that development on Bond 23 has been “suspended indefinitely.”
Should we be worried? Hardly: as history proves, the Bond films have long been a battleground - and the films' heritage are in the capable hands of Broccoli and Wilson.
Craig’s commitment to Bond, too, has been thorough and sincere since day one, yet this postponement will at least allow him to branch out and avoid typecasting so he'll be really hungry for the threequel by the time it comes out.
And don't forget - 2012 is the 50th anniversary of Bond on film. Not even the lawyers should be able to stop 007 from throwing one hell of a party.
Positively Shocking Quip: As Vesper Lynd announces herself as the money in Casino Royale, Bond concurs: “Every penny of it.”
Boys With Toys: Craig is the least techy Bond of the lot, but his cellphone - complete with identification imager - gives him a hell of a party trick.
Petrolhead: Back to the Aston Martin, this time a DBS V12. Useful add-on: a portable defibrilator.
Girls in Bondage: Eva Green as Vesper Lynd, Olga Kurylenko as Camille Montes,
Expecting You To Die: Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre; Mathieu Amalric as Dominic Greene.
Action! Craig chases a free-running bomb maker across – and up – a construction site. With heart-stopping stuntwork courtesy of Parkour-pioneer Sebastien Foucan, it was a sign that the new era would hit the ground running...
Belting It Out: Jack White and Alicia Keys straddle the indie/mainstream spectrum with Quantum of Solace's Another Way To Die.
James Bland: Nothing’s plumbed the depths too much yet, but he exemplary realism of the new regime takes a hit in Quantum of Solace, when Bond and Camille survive an unlikely tandem skydive.
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