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Daniel Craig predicts tougher, darker Bond

Daniel Craig in Layer Cake

Feature by Jack Foley

BRITISH actor Daniel Craig promised to take the James Bond character ‘somewhere maybe where it’s never gone before’ as he prepares to take on the role of the world’s most famous spy.

Speaking at a press conference on the day he was officially unveiled as the new 007, Craig said that he wants to make ‘the best and most entertaining’ film he could.

The 37-year-old actor admitted that taking on the role was ‘a huge challenge’ but added: “Life is about challenges and this is one of the big ones as an actor.”

Craig will play James Bond in Casino Royale, an adaptation of the very first of Ian Fleming’s 007 novels that will explore the roots of the super-spy.

It is to be directed by Martin Campbell (a veteran of Goldeneye) and is said to be a tougher, grittier and darker 007.

“We’ve got an incredible script and that’s my first line of attack,” added Craig, as he began to answer questions from the world’s press. “Once I’d read that, I realised that I didn’t have a choice. I had to go for it.”

Campbell, himself, pledged that the 21st Bond film would boast ‘more character and less gadgets’ – a comment that bodes well for what Craig can bring to the role as a strong character actor.

For having won widespread acclaim for his performance in the BBC mini-series Our Friends In The North, Craig has gone on to attract favourable reviews in roles as diverse as Road To Perdition, Sylvia and, of late, Layer Cake and Enduring Love.

Bond producer, Barbara Broccoli, was said to have favoured the mix of brawn and brain that Craig could bring to the role, having looked at over 200 actors, including the likes of Colin Farrell and Hugh Jackman.

Casino Royale is being written by Crash scribe, Paul Haggis, and starts filming in January 2006.

It already sounds like a radical departure from previous films in the franchise given that there will be no roles for past favourites Q or Miss Moneypenny.

The producers have even refused to confirm whether Dame Judi Dench will reprise her role as spy chief, M.

They are now setting their sights on finding a female star to fill what Mr Campbell said would be the ‘best Bond girl part’ ever.

Craig is the sixth actor to appear as 007, following in the footsteps of Sir Sean Connery, Sir Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.

Yet in spite of the speculation surrounding the identity of the new Bond and the controversy surrounding Brosnan’s departure, Craig insisted that his predecessor had provided a lot of encouragement.

He also said that he was trying to think of it ‘like any other job’ and that there would still be room for Bond’s trademark humour.