Daniel Craig was drunk when he asked Sam Mendes to direct ‘Skyfall’

Skyfall Daniel Craig James Bond
Image via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Columbia Pictures

Daniel Craig, the longest-standing James Bond actor, reveals that he was under the influence when he asked Sam Mendes to take the directorial lead on Skyfall. Craig, 53, has portrayed James Bond from Casino Royale (2006) to the latest installment, No Time To Die (2021) — the film that Craig decided to make his swan song for the character.

Back in 2005, Craig accepted the role for James Bond — a cultural reset for Bond films and the spy thriller genre alike. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on its original podcast, Awards Chatter, Daniel Craig talks about approaching Sam Mendes to direct Skyfall — the third installment in the franchise. Reuniting at a bar, long-time friends Craig and Mendes conversed over drinks about directors and the film industry; in the midst of the conversation, an intoxicated Craig offered the directorial role to Mendes — without the official go-ahead from Eon Productions and its associate companies.

I was definitely a little drunk and Sam turned up late. He just turned up and I hadn’t seen him for years, I hadn’t seen him since ‘Road To Perdition.’ … We sat down and were having a drink together and it just dawned on me, it was just like one of those… Because we’d been having conversations about directors … and it just became glaringly obvious to me, sitting opposite him. I was looking at him going, ‘Of course.’ … And I just basically went, ‘I’m probably not supposed to say this, but do you want to direct the next Bond movie?’

And he just did this thing, he kinda just looked at me [and squinted] and said, ‘Yes.’ And I went, ‘Okay’, and I went, ‘I’m in s**t now.’ I’m sure there is somebody I have to talk to about that before I go offering directors jobs. It’s not my responsibility, but I was drunk! What can you say?

Daniel Craig via Awards Chatter

Skyfall sees the crown jewel of MI6 come face-to-face with one of the most ruthless Bond villains yet — Javier Bardem as cyberterrorist Raoul Silva. Bond learns that Silva plans to exact revenge on MI6 — and more specifically M (Judi Dench) — for his rejection and abandonment years earlier. Mendes was approached to direct after the release of Quantum of Solace in 2008 — likely after Craig’s ‘subtle’ suggestion.

Before landing the role of James Bond, Craig proved himself worthy of taking over from Pierce Brosnan with his portfolio of unforgettable roles. Craig starred in Enduring Love in 2004, Matthew Vaughn’s Layer Cake in 2004, Steven Spielberg’s Munich in 2005, Edward Zwick’s Defiance in 2008, and David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in 2011. In 2022, Craig will reprise his role as Benoit Blanc in Knives Out 2 — the sequel to the 2018 release.

No Time To Die is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Xfinity, DirecTV, and Google Play. Alternatively, No Time To Die was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 21, 2021.