DANIEL CRAIG: Casino Royale was physically tough; I was in pain for most of it. But I was in pain for a lot of this one, too. The difference was the kind of stunts and physical exertion. This time around it was fairly relentless.
PLAYBOY: Were you in similar shape this time?
DANIEL CRAIG: Yes. Both times I got in shape and got big.
PLAYBOY: Is being big a prerequisite?
DANIEL CRAIG: I got big because I wanted Bond to look like a guy who could kill. Unfortunately, getting big isn’t the same as getting in shape. Last time I picked up a lot of injuries. This time I said, “I can’t let that happen again. I’ve got to get into better shape.”
PLAYBOY: How did you do it?
DANIEL CRAIG: I ran more. I got my heart bigger and stronger.
PLAYBOY: How often do you do your own stunts?
DANIEL CRAIG: There’s a balance. I do many of them but nothing compared with the stuntmen. Still, I found myself in more precarious situations this time.
PLAYBOY: Is there a trade-off for the filmmakers, who want authenticity but also don’t want you to get hurt?
DANIEL CRAIG: For sure. There’s a fine line. The stuff that looks good and makes you look as if you’re up there has its risks. I picked up my share of injuries on this movie. You pick up your knocks and bangs.
PLAYBOY: We read that you sliced your finger off.
DANIEL CRAIG: It wasn’t as extreme as all that. I lost the pad. Here. He shows off his wound, a scab on his fingertip. This is after a month’s healing, so it’s nothing. It hit the press, though, because I was taken to the hospital. I was bleeding a lot. I had to get it cauterized. Filming stopped and everybody went, “Oh my God! He sliced the end of his finger off!” They went looking for it but couldn’t find it.
PLAYBOY: How did it happen?
DANIEL CRAIG: I was smashing a door into somebody’s face, and there was a sharp edge.
PLAYBOY: What is the most physically challenging scene in the new film?
DANIEL CRAIG: A chase sequence on a rooftop. I’m not scared of heights exactly, but I don’t particularly like standing on edges 40 feet off the ground. Their idea was for me to jump from building to building. It’s literally a leap of faith because you have to run off the edge—throw yourself off—and land on another building. It’s as safe as can be. I’m tethered, attached. But it’s the nightmare scenario of standing on a slate roof with the slates all sliding off. I had to slide down and leap from that building onto a balcony below. For some people these days who go rock climbing and all this, it may not be a big deal, but for me it was terrifying enough.
PLAYBOY: Similar to the increased difficulty of impressing an audience with gadgets and other technology, is it harder these days to impress with physical feats?
DANIEL CRAIG: Yes. How do you impress people when there are couples who go away on weekends and drive up to wherever and meet Mr. and Mrs. Smith and their other friends and camp out on top of a mountain and jump off? They even film it so they can show their friends. “Look at what we did on the weekend.” With all that going on—people rappelling and helicopter skiing on holiday—what can you do in movies? Everything has to be bigger, faster and more dangerous.
PLAYBOY: Kurylenko said she would never do anything dangerous in real life. What about you?
DANIEL CRAIG: Not normally.
PLAYBOY: Have you ever jumped out of a plane?
DANIEL CRAIG: No, but I think I would probably do it now—maybe. But having done six months of this crazy stuff, I just want to stay on the ground for a while. I’ve had my thrills.
PLAYBOY: Are you the type of person who looks for thrills?
DANIEL CRAIG: Some people need them, but I don’t. I’d happily go and sit on a rock and look at the view, but I’m not one of those people who jump off for fun. I’d say, “I’ll meet you down at the bottom. I’ll drive down, and we’ll meet for lunch.”
PLAYBOY: You made quite a few men squirm with the Casino Royale torture scene. You were stripped and tied up, sitting on a chair without a bottom, being whipped where it would hurt most with an enormous knotted rope. Did you wince too?
DANIEL CRAIG: There was a moment filming it when I did more than wince. I was actually sitting on a fiberglass seat that had been modeled to me to protect me. The rope came crashing in and cracked the fiberglass. I flew across the room.
PLAYBOY: Was there damage done?
DANIEL CRAIG: No, but it was too close for comfort as far as I’m concerned. At least we shot it in one day and got it right. I’m glad we didn’t have to go back and do reshoots.
PLAYBOY: Ian Fleming called Bond “a blunt instrument.” Is your Bond less blunt at this point?
DANIEL CRAIG: I’m not sure, maybe a bit. Bond is seeking revenge, seeking the people responsible for killing his woman. But hopefully, as you see the movie go on, it gets more complicated than that. He is a blunt instrument, but he’s a little more honed, should we say. Blunt but getting an edge.
PLAYBOY: Do you dress like Bond?
DANIEL CRAIG: Hardly, though I’ve been given some very nice clothes. When I dress up, I dress up. I have a nice wardrobe. I’ve been spoiled. Once you’re measured for a suit it’s very hard to go back to suits off the peg.
PLAYBOY: You’re wearing jeans right now. Would Bond?
DANIEL CRAIG: Wait until you see the movie.
PLAYBOY: The U.K. GQ magazine voted you the number one best dresser. Have you always dressed stylishly?
DANIEL CRAIG: You can be the best-dressed and worst-dressed person very quickly. I don’t dress much differently than I ever did.
PLAYBOY: If not Brioni, what do you generally wear?
DANIEL CRAIG: I very much like to wear jeans and sneakers. I don’t get up in the morning and get into a pressed shirt with French cuffs and a tie—unless I have to.
PLAYBOY: It has been reported that your exercise regimen now includes yoga.
DANIEL CRAIG: Yogurt?
DANIEL CRAIG: No yoga or yogurt. No.
PLAYBOY: Are you amused when you read reports like that, ones that are completely untrue?
DANIEL CRAIG: I don’t usually read them, but sometimes someone will mention something, and I admit I do go online and look it up. I’ll say, “Where the hell does this come from?” It’s just that Bond generates enormous interest. A rumor will be started by whatever.
PLAYBOY: You were initially reluctant to accept the Bond role. Were you concerned about the lack of privacy that comes with stardom like this?
DANIEL CRAIG: Definitely. I was chronically aware of it.
PLAYBOY: What exactly were you worried about?
DANIEL CRAIG: I fall into the category of actor who doesn’t want to be famous. I know that can seem like a contradiction in terms.
PLAYBOY: Then the role of James Bond would definitely pose a problem. But some people may find it hard to believe you would accept the part if you really didn’t want to be famous.
DANIEL CRAIG: Genuinely, I’ve only ever wanted to act in order to act. But yes, I’m probably being hypocritical. To me, the fame aspect was sort of an inconvenience that went along with acting. It was definitely one of the reasons I was concerned, though. I thought, I’ve been working steadily; I earn a living from what I do, but Bond will make it something else.
PLAYBOY: Why did you accept?
DANIEL CRAIG: Some things come along and you just have to try them. I thought, I can’t be afraid of it. I was very brave or very stupid—I don’t know which. I did think it through as much as possible. I weighed it from the beginning. I had the fors and againsts. I had conversations with friends and family. It took about 18 months for me to decide. At first I thought, I can’t do this. Then I thought, In 10 years I’ll be sitting in a bar, drinking, and I’ll think, I could have been Bond. I just couldn’t turn down the opportunity.
PLAYBOY: You were viciously attacked in the press. How did it affect you?
DANIEL CRAIG: I decided I had to ignore it, get on with the job and make sure to do the best I could.
PLAYBOY: Fans and reporters criticized your hair color and height, and you were called James Bland. Did it piss you off?
DANIEL CRAIG: I got pissed off for 24 hours. We were away from home in the Bahamas, and I hadn’t read the newspapers. I got wind that the press was negative and did that stupid thing of going online and reading it all. I’d prepared myself for the worst because I knew the risk in doing a movie as large as Bond; there was always going to be a backlash. I had to be ready for it, but it smarted for a minute.
PLAYBOY: Is the loss of privacy a problem for you?
DANIEL CRAIG: It causes problems you have to work around. I would have been foolish to expect anything less. If the film hadn’t been a success, obviously I could have just slipped away and forgotten about it. But this isn’t one of those movies. It’s a movie that gets out there and gets out there big. I understood it would be open season on me. I’ve learned to accept it or learned to get around it.
PLAYBOY: Do you sometimes forget you’re famous?
DANIEL CRAIG: Yeah, and then I’m reminded. I have to have a sense of humor about it. On the whole, people are fairly nice. They’re fairly good-humored. If I’m walking through an airport and someone runs over and asks if they can take a photograph, I can either get snotty about it or say, “That’s absolutely fine.” If I’m having dinner with a friend, I can say, “You see, I’m having dinner with my friend, so it’s not a good time.” You have to assess the situation and make a judgment.
PLAYBOY: Have you gotten better about saying no or at least “not now”?
DANIEL CRAIG: It’s always been fairly easy.
PLAYBOY: Do the press and public wear on your personal relationships?
DANIEL CRAIG: Relationships are tricky for everyone. I have a fantastic relationship, and we work hard at it. Like everybody else’s, it goes through its ups and downs.
PLAYBOY: The papers also had a field day because you couldn’t drive a stick shift.
DANIEL CRAIG: I could always drive a stick shift. Everyone in England does. That was just stupid.
PLAYBOY: Do you own an Aston Martin?
DANIEL CRAIG: No, though I’m lucky enough that if I desperately want to drive an Aston Martin, the company is just fantastic to me. They’ll let me go on a track and drive one all day long. I could drive it faster and more furiously than anywhere on the road. But I live in London. It doesn’t make any sense to drive an Aston Martin there. I’ve nowhere to park it. Also, it wouldn’t look good.
PLAYBOY: Are you kidding? Driving an Aston Martin can look very good.
DANIEL CRAIG: Me driving around in an Aston Martin? To me, it’s kind of like, ugh. So I drive a small car.
PLAYBOY: Does it get good gas mileage?
DANIEL CRAIG: Yes, which I’m happy about these days.
PLAYBOY: With the energy crisis, will Bond stick with an Aston Martin or switch to a Prius?
DANIEL CRAIG: I don’t see him driving anything but an Aston Martin. Maybe now, though, given the global situation, Aston Martin will make its cars more in line with the realities of energy. I don’t know if it’ll affect Bond. In truth, Bond tends to drive cars out of necessity. His choices often have to do with whatever car is outside the hotel when he’s running away, whatever car he can steal.