Flashbacks Of A Fool - Daniel Craig interview
Interview by Rob Carnevale
DANIEL Craig talks about starring in and producing Flashbacks Of A Fool for writer, director and close friend Baillie Walsh and avoiding the pitfalls of his on-screen character [a washed-up movie star with his career in tatters].
He also talks about building on the opportunities afforded to him thanks to the success of the past few years [with films like Munich as well as James Bond] and getting into shape for the film’s naked scenes…
Q. This is the first time that you’ve had the dual role of star and producer so why, apart from the allure of working with a friend, were you so keen?
Daniel Craig: We’ve been trying to get the movie made for a number of years, seven or so, and it wasn’t until things have happened over the past couple of years that it’s meant that people have had more interest. It just seemed the right thing to do to get involved as executive producer because I have to press the flesh and I have to go and say: “Look, please put your hand in your pocket and spend some money on this movie… I believe in this movie, I believe in the people that got involved in this movie and I’d like to see it made.” Thankfully, because of Buena Vista and a load of other people we did. So, it wasn’t a conscious choice, it just seemed to be the right thing to do.
Q. How easy would it be to turn into somebody like your character, Joe Scot [a washed-up actor]?
Daniel Craig: Very easy… We’ve had lots of questions alluding to the fact he’s a fading movie star. It would be the wrong answer to say that he could have been anybody – that’s who he was in the beginning. When Baillie [Walsh, writer and director] wrote the movie for me I wasn’t doing what I’m doing today, so when we actually came to make the movie it seemed silly to change it. But who knows? That’s the way things go. What was interesting for me – and what was always interesting in the script – was that you’ve got someone who appears to have everything, or at least has the opportunity to have everything, and he’s f**ked it up, or lost it.
Q. But do you have to work hard at not becoming disillusioned by the industry?
Daniel Craig: I think you always have to work hard at not becoming disillusioned about what you do. If you have any success at what you do for a living you have to maintain an energy and a love for it. And if you can, then that’s a great thing. When we meet Joe Scott, he’s lost everything – not just interest in his business but in living. And that, for me, was what drew me to this movie. It was less to do with whether he was successful as an actor or a businessman, that doesn’t matter, he’s failed as a human being and I wanted to explore that.
Q. Your character in the film has had it all and lost everything. With all the success you’ve had as Bond do you ever reflect on a time when it could have gone differently for you?
Daniel Craig: It still could. But what will be will be.
Q. How would you describe yourself as a teenager and what would the teenage version of yourself think of what you’ve achieved?
Daniel Craig: If I was being perfectly honest, which I’m not going to be [laughs], I think the movie touches on a lot of things that we all went through… the first kiss, which was more than a first kiss for Harry [Eden], and those electrifying moments when you’re a teenager that form who you are as a human being. I think those, for me, are what Baillie captured so well. It’s a big time in your life. It doesn’t matter whether you have the happiest upbringing… the young Joe Scot had the most dysfunctional family there could be but it’s still a family and it’s a really good, strong family. But in spite of that he runs away from home. I relate to all of those things very directly. I hit 40 this year but I still think about being a teenager and hopefully I will for the rest of my life. They are important years.
Q. Have your boyhood ambitions been exceeded?
Daniel Craig: I never had any boyhood ambitions.
Q. You appear naked in the film and look very buff. Did you put in any extra hours in the gym or are you in that shape anyway, as a by-product of your Bond work?
Daniel Craig: Obviously, when I came to do the movie I knew that I was going to have to take my clothes off so I might have worked a little bit harder to keep myself fit. But I think that’s the irony of it – you see all these fit and healthy people, and I’m not making any comments on it, but everybody deep down is a f**k up somewhere. It doesn’t matter if you look a million dollars but everybody has their flaws. So that’s why it had to be that way. He was living the life, he would stay out for three days probably, get drunk and do whatever he was doing and then hit the gym for two days. But that’s the craziness of that lifestyle – you’re damaging yourselves in more ways than one.
Q. You mentioned having to press the flesh for this movie. Is that something you intend to keep doing in your new capacity as a producer?
Daniel Craig: If I can make movies like this then I’m going to get a huge amount of enjoying doing it. And if I can be responsible even slightly for getting movies like this off the ground, or movies of any type that I can be proud of like this, then yes. You can be very embarrassed about asking people to spend money and you’re putting your neck on the line, so if I’m going to ask people to spend money it has to be something I believe in. But Baillie and I surrounded ourselves with really genuine talent and so if fail, you fail the best you can if that makes sense. You’re with the best people in the right situation and it makes for an exciting way of making movies. And that’s what gives me a huge amount of joy in doing this and being involved with it.
Q. Have you got used to the feeling of walking down the red carpet at world premieres such as these?
Daniel Craig: I’m still not used to it [laughs]! But look, every movie I get involved with I get involved in as big a level as I possibly can, but this has been a very much more personal journey for me, so bringing it here tonight there’s a sense of relief, there’s a sense of just amazement that got here… because it’s been a struggle. But this is a good way to launch it and there couldn’t be a better way of celebrating this movie than bringing it to the West End.