Touting a box office total of $1.1 billion – a franchise high, no less – and scores of positive reviews, Skyfall is going to be a difficult act to follow. Director Sam Mendes will attempt such a feat later this year though when the Oscar-winner returns to the spy franchise to helm its anticipated successor, Spectre.
It’s no secret that Mendes was hesitant about directing this year’s thriller in fear that lightning wouldn’t strike twice. It’s a feeling that Daniel Craig himself empathized with, too, with the 00 agent revealing that the cast and crew faced a “massive amount of pressure” before the cameras began rolling.
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Speaking with Esquire, the British actor was refreshingly frank in his deduction of Spectre, what it has to do to escape the enormous shadow of Skyfall, and why fans of the classic James Bond can look forward to Mendes’ new entry in this most prestigious series.
Craig’s summary of the feeling among the film-makers as they began to discuss a follow-up to Skyfall: “What the fuck are we going to do?”
“I think everyone was just daunted, understandably,” he says. “Like, it’s ‘the biggest British movie of all time’. What does it fucking mean? Where do we go from there? How do you process that? It could have been an albatross around everyone’s necks. It turned out not to be, but there was a massive amount of pressure at the beginning.”
In the past, we’ve learnt that the filmmaker is aiming to tell an origin story with Spectre, considering that Craig’s weathered agent is effectively left with a blank slate when the credits roll on Skyfall. Exploring the tale of “how Bond became Bond,” Mendes is setting out to craft the most personal and intimate of Daniel Craig’s tenure with the license to kill, and the actor himself teased that the sequel will crank the action up to 11: “It’s Skyfall times 10!”
Esquire rounded out the interview by touching upon the clandestine nature of the character himself, and how James Bond has been criticized in the past for being a womanizer. For Craig, he believes the secret lies in casting compelling actresses in the movies in order to counteract genre stereotypes, with Spectre encompassing roles for Monica Bellucci and the award-winning Léa Seydoux.
“Hopefully my Bond is not as sexist and misogynistic as [earlier incarnations]. The world has changed. I am certainly not that person. But he is, and so what does that mean? It means you cast great actresses and make the parts as good as you can for the women in the movies.”
Finally, what are the chances of Craig returning beyond Mendes’ 2015 actioner? “I don’t know,” the actor admits. “I really don’t know. Honestly. I’m not trying to be coy. At the moment I can’t even conceive it.”
Spectre will slink into theaters on November 6, 2015.