Daniel Wroughton Craig (born 2 March 1968) is an English actor. Cast as the fictional British secret agent James Bond 007 in October 2005, his first film in the role, Casino Royale, was released in theatres worldwide in November 2006. Craig is an alumnus of the National Youth Theatre and graduated from London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1991 beginning his career on stage. His film debut was in the drama The Power of One (1992). Other early appearances were in the biographical film Elizabeth (1998), opposite Cate Blanchett; and the Disney family film A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995) as well as in the historical war drama television series Sharpe’s Eagle (1993), alongside Sean Bean and the action-adventure drama series Zorro.
Craig’s appearances in the British made-for-TV film Love Is the Devil (1998), the indie war film The Trench (1999) and the drama Some Voices (2000), in which he played a man with schizophrenia, attracted the film industry’s attention. This led to roles in bigger productions such as the action film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), opposite Angelina Jolie; the crime thriller Road to Perdition (2002), alongside stars Tom Hanks and Paul Newman; the crime thriller Layer Cake (2004) and the Steven Spielberg-directed historical drama and political thriller Munich (2005). Craig achieved international fame when chosen as the sixth actor to play the role of James Bond 007 in the official series, taking over from Pierce Brosnan. Though he was initially greeted with scepticism, his debut in Casino Royale (2006) was highly acclaimed and earned him a BAFTA award nomination, with the film becoming the highest-grossing in the series at the time.
Quantum of Solace followed two years later. Craig’s third Bond film, Skyfall, premiered in 2012 and is now the highest-grossing film in the series, as well as the ninth highest-grossing film of all time. Craig’s fourth Bond film, Spectre, will premiere in 2015. In 2006, Craig joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Since taking the role of Bond, he has continued to appear in other films, most recently starring in the English language adaptation of the mystery thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011). Craig made a guest appearance as Bond in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, alongside Queen Elizabeth II.
Craig was born in Chester, Cheshire, England. His parents, living in Whittington, Oswestry currently, Carol Olivia (née Williams), was an art teacher, and his father, Timothy John Wroughton Craig, was the landlord of the pubs Ring o’ Bells in Frodsham and the Boot Inn in Willington, having served as a midshipman in the Merchant Navy. Both of Craig’s parents were of part Welsh descent. Raised on the Wirral Peninsula, he attended primary school in Frodsham and Hoylake. Later, he attended Hilbre High School in West Kirby, along with his older sister Lea, after failing his Eleven plus. When his parents divorced, Craig and his sister lived with their mother, moving to Liverpool.
Upon finishing his compulsory secondary school education at the age of 16, Craig briefly joined Calday Grange Grammar School as a sixth form student. Craig played for Hoylake RFC Rugby Union Club. He began acting in school plays at the age of six, and was introduced to serious acting by attending the Everyman Theatre in nearby Liverpool city centre with his mother. At the age of 16, Craig was admitted to National Youth Theatre (NYT), so he left school and moved to London, where he worked part-time in restaurants to finance his training at NYT. Later on, after multiple attempts at auditioning for drama schools, Craig was accepted to attend the Guildhall School of Music and Drama at the Barbican where he graduated in 1991 after three years of study under Colin McCormack.
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Craig appeared as Joe in the Royal National Theatre’s production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America in November 1993. Also in 1993, Craig appeared in an episode of Yorkshire Television’s Heartbeat, which aired 31 October 1993. An early starring role was as ‘Geordie’ in the BBC’s 1996 drama Our Friends in the North, with early film roles being as Angelina Jolie’s rival and love interest in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), before appearing in Sam Mendes’s movie Road to Perdition (2002), with Tom Hanks and Paul Newman. Other leading film roles include Sword of Honour (2001), The Mother (2003) with Anne Reid, Sylvia (2003) with Gwyneth Paltrow, Layer Cake (2004) with Sienna Miller, Enduring Love (2004) with Rhys Ifans, Steven Spielberg’s Munich (2005) with Eric Bana, Infamous and Casino Royale (2006), The Golden Compass (2007), Quantum of Solace, Defiance (2008), Cowboys & Aliens (2011), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Dream House (2011), and Skyfall (2012).
James Bond (2005-present)
In 2005, Craig was contracted by Eon Productions to portray James Bond. He stated he “was aware of the challenges” of the Bond franchise which he considered “a big machine that makes a lot of money”. He aimed at bringing more “emotional depth” to the character. Born in 1968, Craig is the first actor to portray James Bond to have been born after the Bond series started, and after the death of Ian Fleming, the novels’ writer. Significant controversy followed the decision, as it was doubted if the producers had made the right choice. Throughout the entire production period internet campaigns expressed their dissatisfaction and threatened to boycott the film in protest.
The 5-foot-10-inch (178 cm) blond Craig was not considered by some protesters to fit the tall, dark Bond portrayed by the previous Bond actors, and to which viewers had apparently become accustomed. The Daily Mirror ran a front page news story critical of Craig, with the headline, “The Name’s Bland – James Bland”. Although the choice of Craig was controversial, numerous actors publicly voiced their support, most notably, four of the five actors who had previously portrayed Bond – Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton, Sean Connery and Roger Moore – called his casting a good decision. George Lazenby has since voiced his approval of Craig also. Clive Owen, who had been linked to the role, also spoke in defence of Craig.
The first film, Casino Royale, premiered 14 November 2006, and grossed a total of US$594,239,066 worldwide, which made it the highest-grossing Bond film until the release of Skyfall. After the film was released, Craig’s performance was highly acclaimed. As production of Casino Royale reached its conclusion, producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli announced that pre-production work had already begun on the 22nd Bond film.
After several months of speculation as to the release date, Wilson and Broccoli officially announced on 20 July 2006, that the follow-up film, Quantum of Solace, was to be released on 7 November 2008, and that Craig would play Bond with an option for a third film. On 25 October 2007, MGM CEO Harry Sloan revealed at the Forbes Meet II Conference that Craig had signed on to make four more Bond films, through to Bond 25.
The 19 April 2010-release of Craig’s expected third Bond film (the 23rd overall in the series) was delayed, because of financial troubles with MGM, but the film ( Skyfall) was released on 23 October 2012, and was part of the year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. No. On 8 September 2012, Bond producers announced Craig had signed on for two future Bond films and not five as previously reported. This would bring his total to five films, which would be two fewer than Roger Moore’s record of seven. Craig’s fourth Bond film, Spectre, began filming in December 2014 and will be released in October 2015.
Craig describes his portrayal of Bond as an anti-hero: “The question I keep asking myself while playing the role is, ‘Am I the good guy or just a bad guy who works for the good side?’ Bond’s role, after all, is that of an assassin when you come down to it. I have never played a role in which someone’s dark side shouldn’t be explored. I don’t think it should be confusing by the end of the film, but during the film you should be questioning who he is.” Craig has stated that his own favourite previous Bond actor is Sean Connery, but says, “I’d never copy somebody else. I would never do an impression of anybody else or try and improve on what they did. That would be a pointless exercise for me.” His own favourite Bond film is From Russia with Love. On a James Bond-centric episode of The South Bank Show, Connery divulged his thoughts on Craig’s casting as Bond, whom he described as “fantastic, marvelous in the part”. When told that Craig had taken particular note of his performances, Connery said that he was “flattered” and that Craig really gets the “danger element” to Bond’s character.
Craig sliced off the top of one of his fingers 12 June 2008, while filming Quantum of Solace. The accident was one of a string of incidents surrounding the shoot, including a fire at one of the sets in Pinewood Studios, a car crash that left the stunt driver in a serious condition, and an Aston Martin skidding off the road and plunging into Lake Garda while being transported to the set in Italy.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences extended a membership invitation to Craig in 2006.
In 1999, Craig starred as Richard in a TV drama called Shockers: The Visitor. He portrayed Lord Asriel in The Golden Compass, the 2007 film adaptation of Philip Pullman’s novel. Eva Green, who played Bond girl Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale, also starred in the film, although she did not appear in any scenes with Craig. In a stage version of the book, Asriel had previously been played by Timothy Dalton, one of Craig’s predecessors in the role of James Bond.
In early 2001, Craig expressed an interest in being a part of the Star Trek franchise, professing his love of the series to the World Entertainment News Network and a desire to have a “stint in the TV show or a film. It’s been a secret ambition of mine for years.” On 16 March 2007, Craig made a cameo appearance as himself in a sketch with Catherine Tate who appeared in the guise of her character Elaine Figgis from The Catherine Tate Show. The sketch was made for the BBC Red Nose Day 2007 fundraising programme.
In 2008’s Defiance, he played Tuvia Bielski, a Jewish resistance fighter in the forests of Belarus during World War II who saved 1,200 people. The shot in Casino Royale of Craig sporting swimming trunks has often topped many sexiest male celebrity polls, and in 2009 Del Monte Foods launched an ice pop moulded to resemble Craig emerging from the sea. He co-starred with Hugh Jackman in a limited engagement of the drama A Steady Rain, on Broadway, which played from 10 September through 6 December 2009 at the Schoenfeld Theatre. His performance received praise by the New York Times, with the reviewer writing “Mr. Craig, a highly reputable stage actor in London (“Angels in America,” “A Number”) before he became the screen’s sixth James Bond, creates a more complete portrait as Joey.”
Craig lent his voice and likeness as James Bond for both the Wii game GoldenEye 007, an enhanced remake of the 1997 game for the Nintendo 64, and James Bond 007: Blood Stone, an original game for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, and Microsoft Windows. In August 2010, Craig was cast as crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist in David Fincher’s 2011 adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Craig co-starred with Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde in Cowboys & Aliens, an American science fiction Western film, based on Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s 2006 graphic novel of the same name.
Craig hosted the American late-night live television sketch comedy Saturday Night Live on 6 October 2012.
He and his wife starred in the Broadway play titled Betrayal. It began performances in October 2013, and continued until January 2014. Despite mixed reviews, it grossed $17.5 million, becoming the second highest broadway play of 2013.
Craig was set to star in the courtroom drama The Whole Truth directed by Courtney Hunt. In April 2014 just a few days before filming was set to commence he dropped out of the project for unknown reasons. During June the same year Craig was replaced by Keanu Reeves.
In 1992, Craig married actress Fiona Loudon, with whom he had a daughter, Ella. The marriage ended in divorce in 1994. He is a longtime friend of actor Mark Strong and is the godfather of Strong’s eldest son.
After his divorce, he was in a seven-year relationship with German actress Heike Makatsch, ending in 2001. He subsequently dated film producer Satsuki Mitchell from 2005 until 2010.
Craig and actress Rachel Weisz had been friends for many years, and worked together on the movie Dream House. They began dating in December 2010 and married on 22 June 2011, in a private New York City ceremony, with just four guests in attendance, including Craig’s 18-year-old daughter, Ella, and Weisz’s 5-year-old son, Henry.
In October 2008, Craig paid £4 million for an apartment in a converted old house in Primrose Hill near Regent’s Park, London. He also has a house in Sunninghill outside Ascot. He is a Liverpool FC supporter, as well as an avid rugby fan and former player, having travelled to Australia in 2013 to watch the British & Irish Lions tour, as well as maintains a good friendship with Irish international fly-half Jonathan Sexton. In 2013, he took delivery of an Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster for his 45th birthday. It is not known if it was a gift to himself, a gift from his wife, or a gift from Aston Martin; in 2008 the company offered him any car of his choice.
Daniel Craig made a unique place for himself in the history of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fundraising 8 December 2009, when it was announced that they had raised $1,549,953 in the 21st annual Gypsy of the Year competition, from six weeks of curtain appeals at their hit Broadway drama, A Steady Rain.
He is involved with multiple charities including S.A.F.E Kenya, which uses street theatre to address social issues. As well, he is involved with the Opportunity Network, which provides access to education for low-income students in New York. In 2011, he collaborated with Dame Judi Dench to highlight gender inequality for International Women’s Day. In August 2014, he added his name to a letter to British broadcasters calling for better representation for ethnic minorities.
In April 2015, the United Nations appointed Craig the first global advocate for the elimination of mines and explosive hazards. The role will involve raising awareness for the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), and political and financial support for the cause. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Craig: “You have been given a license to kill, I’m now giving you a licence to save.”
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- Marshall, Sarah (2007). Daniel Craig: The Biography. John Blake Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84454-454-7.
- O’Brien, Daniel (2007). Daniel Craig – Ultimate Professional. Reynolds & Hearn Ltd. ISBN 978-1-905287-44-4.
- Ogle, Tina (2009). Daniel Craig: The Illustrated Biography. Carlton Books. ISBN 978-1-84732-266-1.