Maybe Daniel Craig saved all his charm for Kate Middleton at the “No Time to Die” premiere in London, Tuesday evening, because he seemed aggrieved when answering reporters’ questions about playing James Bond for the fifth and final time.
The 53-year-old actor, dapper in a pink velvet tuxedo jacket and black bow tie, was all smiles for the Duchess of Cambridge, other royals including Prince Charles, Camilla and Prince William, and fellow stars, but he had two cringe-worthy red carpet interviews with reporters and almost seemed happy to finally be exiting the 007 franchise, according to the Australian news service News.com.
The first awkward exchange was with a reporter for Australia’s “Today” program who asked whether he was going to miss playing Bond.
“Any sadness about this being the last time you’re going down the red carpet?” the reporter, Brett McLeod asked, in an interview which aired on “Today.”
“Sure, yeah,” Craig said, before adding, “I don’t know how much I’ll miss this,” gesturing vaguely at the extravagant premiere he was arriving at.
“Maybe. We’ll see. I’ll think about it tomorrow,” he added.
As the exchange grew increasingly uncomfortable, McCloud finished up by asking Craig whether he had “any preference” on who should replace him as Bond.
“Not my problem,” Craig said.
Bond producer Barbara Broccoli announced this week that the hunt for a new 007 won’t begin until 2022, but her comment set off a new round of speculation on social media about whether Idris Elba would finally be considered for the role, or whether it would go to other stars, such as Henry Cavill, Henry Golding or Regé-Jean Paige.
“We’re not thinking about it at all,” Broccoli told BBC Radio 4, according to Radio Times. “We want Daniel to have this time of celebration. Next year we’ll start thinking about the future.”
“No Time to Die,” the 25th installment in the blockbuster spy series, arrives in U.S. theaters on Oct. 8 after being delayed multiple times because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The production also had been troubled by reports of Craig being publicly grumpy about returning to the franchise, the first director leaving over “creative differences” and being replaced by Oakland-born director Cary Joji Fukunaga, the cast reportedly working without a finished script and even half-serious jokes about the production somehow being “cursed,” Vanity Fair reported in 2020.
Craig’s other awkward exchange Tuesday night happened with a Daily Mail reporter who alluded to his infamous comments in a 2015 interview about desperately wanting to leave the franchise.
“This is the premiere of your final Bond film, but do you feel like you said goodbye quite a while ago, really?” the reporter asked Craig.
“No, not at all. No,” he said, before staring at her in silence.
While promoting “Spectre,” his fourth Bond film, Craig said he’d rather kill himself than play 007 ever again.
“I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists,” he told TimeOut. “I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.” He added that if he changed his mind, “it would only be for the money.”
Because of these controversial comments, Craig’s decision to return as Bond in “No Time to Die” came as a surprise to many, but in 2017, after Craig’s return was announced, he tried to take back his comments.
During an appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” the actor explained that he was exhausted when he gave the TimeOut interview, having just finished up a long, grueling production for “Spectre.”
“Instead of saying something with style and grace, I said something really stupid,” Craig said.
Last year, Craig also dashed fans’ hopes that he would “do a Sean Connery” and return to playing Bond later in his career, telling another Australian reporter last year: “Nope, definitely not,” RadioTimes reported.