A/V Room









Layer Cake - Daniel Craig Q&A

Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. Is this a character that was easy to get into? Could you personalise it and develop as much back story as you wanted, because so little is revealed about him?
Yeah, I mean I approached it in the same way that I approach everything really. I was interested in making him someone who was not sort of faceless, but someone who could mix anywhere, could get on anywhere, because I felt that was important for his character, to be able to mix in every circle and, consequently, every layer of the cake.

Q. In terms of the violence, was it physically taxing for you?
You mean getting the shit beaten out of me? No, on the whole it was a lot of fun. I mean, it's sort of par for the course if you're making a film like this; at some point you're going to have to fall to the ground and get kicked.

Q. Was it harder to keep a straight face, then, in a scene with Michael Gambon?
[Laughs] It was awful, just terrible, but that has more to do with the fact that he makes most of his lines up. So it's just a sort of shot in the dark really.

Q. How did you feel about being held from the top of the building?
. Oh Jesus, it was terrifying because that building is complete now but I don't know how many floors up we were, but we had to climb like eight, literally rickety ladders, to get to the top floor, so once you're up, you're up. I was tied up and harnessed, because that would make sense, but it was terrifying.

Q. Do you actually have a fear of heights?
Yeah, but you have to get over it, because you have big, butch stunt-men standing around you, so you have to get over it fairly quickly. I just sort of closed my eyes and opened them occasionally.

Q.That fear of heights hasn't gone away?
No [Laughs]. I'm in care now!

Q. You're big in America now. Do you prefer working in Britain?
I prefer working on good jobs. That's the only criteria I have, and whether that's here... I mean, yes, my heart's here, I do feel that I'm connected with not only the UK, but Europe and European film-making, because there's a true independent spirit. It's usually because of the lack of money but you do have more choices. But a job's a job and I would take a job in America for the same reason I would take a job here. I like to think I would anyway, I mean there's always the offer of money, which is the devil himself. It's not that clear cut - it's clear cut in the sense that if I read the script and I like it, and I like the director, then there's no argument.

Q. Your character in this movie is much cooler than your characters in films such as The Mother and Sylvia...
It was a fucking struggle, I tell you!
Q. Was this more fun, then? Less of a challenge? And which character is closest to who you are?
You mean between The Mother and this? [laughs] I don't find what I do a struggle. It's just a joy for me. The work itself is always... the long hours, all we know about, that's the struggle, that's the work. But which is closest to me? I don't know, there's a bit of me in everything I do.

Q. I noticed in the notes, that it says you were introduced to the theatre at The Everyman, and you've done some great theatre work since, although people mostly know you through film. At that age, and I presume you were in your teens, was that it; was that the thing that kick-started it, seeing other actors on stage?
I just wanted to be an actor. Running around a playground, playing games as you do, I always had an idea that I wanted to be an actor, and I think probably the fact that I was taken to theatre so young had a major influence on me. I had some luck, my mother knew actors and designers who were at The Everyman at the time, so I would go backstage and, you know, it's a magical place... dressing up and showing off! It's what I do now really!

Q. Talking about another film, if I may, who's the better kisser, Anne Reid or Rhys Iifans?
A. [Laughs]
They're both different in very special ways.

Q. But was that a difficult scene to do with Rhys in Enduring Love?
Yes, we shot it towards the end of the movie and we'd been taking the piss out of each other relentlessly, and it was all over in a flash... thank God!

Q. You mentioned earlier that it was a bleeping struggle finding the cool element of the character? Were you inspired by anyone, or did you watch anyone in particular?
It's not the way I work, I think I just stood up straight in this movie. We discussed the look, what I was wearing was very important, but we wanted to try and keep it as subtle as possible. I mean the fact that I had a couple of very nice suits made and was wearing very nice shirts, as soon as you put stuff like that on, you tend to hold yourself differently. But I didn't go out to make him cool. If he is, then that's a by-product, but I approached it the same way I approach everything.

Q. But you don't steal from real life, in the form of mannerisms?
No, it's about what's here. And I think that makes you behave differently. But I think if you're concerned about the way you look when on camera, that's what it looks like, so I try and steer away from that.
MATTHEW: But I think this whole notion that Daniel is trying to be cool doesn't really fit. You are what you are, and if people find that as cool, then it's just a perception and nothing else. If you make a film thinking, 'I'm going to make a cool film', then you're not. The fact that you've even made that decision means that you're sort of behind. Style, coolness, fashion, you set it and people either agree with you or don't. But believe me, none of us were trying to say we're going to be making a cool movie. But if people are kind enough to be calling it cool, then thank you, but that wasn't the aim.

Q. Do you have a career plan about Hollywood?
I don't know if you can have a career plan about Hollywood. I've got ambitions, and I'm going to make a Hollywood film next year, which is great, but I hope in the meantime I'll probably make something here. I just spice it up as much as possible because I don't want to lose interest.

Q. What is the next Hollywood project?
I've got a Steven Spielberg project.
Q. About the Munich Olympics?

Q. The multi-plex audience hasn't seen much of your work, so how do you strike the balance between doing work that satisfies you and having a public profile?
Just sheer bloody luck, I suppose. Striking the balance never really comes into it. It's a dull answer, but it's job to job and it's whatever interests me at the time. It's where my head is at the time. If something comes to me which is about nothing but hate and pain, and I'm not in that frame of mind, or I don't think I can go there, then I won't do that film. It's as simple as that, because it's a big chunk out of your life, and when you're doing it, I put everything I can into it. So, the choices are completely personal.

Q. So what about an atypical choice such as Tomb Raider; what motivated that?
Money! And the idea of doing it, I mean I'm the same as Matthew. I love big movies, I love multi-plexes; I love getting popcorn, hotdogs, nachos, everything, and just sitting in the front row and watching those big movies. I just love it. So that was the incentive to be in a movie like that. It wasn't a bad experience, but it didn't really turn me on.

Q. Do you have a passion to do comedy at some stage?
I'm not funny. The films I find funny never set out to be funny. The things that make me belly laugh in movies are when the film is just about the truth and the truth is what's funny. And I can't think of an example, but black humour is much more appealing and I think you don't play that for laughs. But I don't have an instinct for it, and I don't have a desire to do it, so it's an accident if the stuff I'm in is funny. I think The Mother is funny, but people take it very, very seriously, yet that for me is real humour.

Q. And what about directing?
Jesus no! First to arrive, last to leave, everybody in oyur ear, constantly, telling you this, telling you that, and at the end of the day you have to stand up and get it right. No, definitely not.

Q. In a lot of the interviews I've read with you - and there aren't that many - it says that you don't particularly like being interviewed. Is that a myth, or are you quite shy?
It's a bit of both. I don't mind talking about work I've done. That, for me, is obvious. I want this people to be seen by people and it was very important that I go out and talk about it. Also, I'm very happy to talk about it because I'm very proud of it, but I just don't pursue it for celebrity reasons. I've got nothing against it, but it's just not for me. I mean, I've got other things to do if I'm not working, I don't want to be just sitting around talking about myself.

Q. Most of your Our Friends in the North colleagues have gone on to make their names in TV, is there a chance you will go back to that medium?
Actually, I'm just about to go and do a film for the BBC, in Latvia, next month. The thing is, we still do make the best television - just. But if you've got a good script in front of you, and it was for television, you'd be stupid to turn it down. I think to get snotty about things is where madness lies and you'll be chasing your tail round.

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z