Excitement for the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, is running sky high thanks to its enormous box office success in the United Kingdom and a plethora of reviews calling it one of the very best movies in the fifty year old series. The film is the first 007 movie to be directed by an Oscar winning director (Sam Mendes), and it makes it clear that actor Daniel Craig is as good a James Bond as Sean Connery ever was.
Recently, both Craig and Mendes sat down to talk with us about Skyfall at the film’s press conference. They spoke about why the franchise remains so potent, what drew Mendes to the film, the casting of key characters and more.
Check it out below.
We Got This Covered: Daniel, looking back to Casino Royale, you didn’t get the opportunity to say whether you wanted your vodka martini shaken or stirred, but you said you wanted to earn it. Did you feel like you earned it when it came to Skyfall and how pleasurable for you was it to include that in the movie?
Daniel Craig: I just felt that when I came on to Casino Royale (which showed the beginning of James Bond) that we couldn’t just cram in the old gags. It would have felt wrong and I was not trying to copy anybody that had come before because they all did the part so well. I didn’t want to be just that person; I wanted it to be me in this. But it’s always been a plan to get those gags put back into the movies in an original and fresh way.
Sam Mendes: We couldn’t have done this movie without Casino Royale because what Martin Campbell did so brilliantly in that film was to bring everything back down to sea level as well as eliminate the assumption that there were going to be those moments. So now we are able to reintroduce them with a sense of fun and mischief.
We Got This Covered: Sam and Daniel, why do you think after fifty years that the Bond movies have remained such a potent franchise?
Daniel Craig: There’s very easy to answer; it’s about retaining what it always had, it’s making movies for the audience, putting it all on the screen and the Broccoli family is the reason for that.
Sam Mendes: There was an interview with Michael G. Wilson (one of the film’s producers) on one of the Bond documentaries where he said “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it because that’s a recipe for disaster.” The truth is he’s right but it takes a hell of a courageous person to know that what you’ve got to do is keep changing it and not make it the same. I think that has ultimately been the reason it’s regenerated so brilliantly; taking the risk to take everything away in order to rebuild it, and that’s why it endures because it’s not the same. Every Bond is different and every generation needs a different Bond, and it’s been able to move with the times. And hopefully we have now set it up for another fifty years.
We Got This Covered: The film looks beautiful. I’d like to attribute some of that to Roger Deakins. What was his reaction when he got the job?
Sam Mendes: I’d like to attribute it to Roger Deakins as well. He contributes what a great cinematographer contributes, which is an unbelievable eye, an extraordinary skill in lighting, an immense amount of work in prep, huge care and dedication from day minus 100 all the way through to the last day of timing which is only a couple of weeks ago. He’s a very shy man and he expresses himself through his work. You put Roger with a camera to his eye and point him in the direction of something interesting and he’s a very happy man. He’d be shooting now if we hadn’t stopped. He would be. He’d be still going. He’s one of the greats, so for me, it’s a privilege to have him on the movie and to give him sequences, and like Daniel says, you’re making four movies and every section of the film feels so distinct from the other, feels so alive, it kind of regenerates in front of your eyes really, the film.
Daniel Craig: He has incredible consistency in his work. I noticed that while watching it. Especially on a movie this size, his assurety, and you feel like it’s a Sam Mendes movie but you feel like it’s a Roger Deakins movie as well. It’s a real stamp and it’s not intrusive. It’s just very magical.
We Got This Covered: Daniel, in this particular film what was the most memorable moment for you?
Daniel Craig: There were many. The thing that stays with me the most is not really any particular thing, but I loved walking onto this set with this cast that we had and Sam at the helm and the crew and everyone were excited and enthusiastic about making this film. That enthusiasm was infectious and that will always be my best memory of it.
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