It’s something of an understatement to say that Daniel Craig’s rise from British TV actor to Hollywood megastar has been meteoric.
Born in 1968 in Chester, North West England, the first big impression the actor made was playing a character Geordie Peacock in the highly-acclaimed 1996 BBC series Our Friends in the North.
Very soon the film roles started coming in, primarily in British indie dramas where Craig’s ability to inhabit a huge range of characters started to catch the eye of producers on the other side of the Atlantic.
The Road to Hollywood
So, it came as no great surprise that Hollywood soon came knocking and his big breakthrough came in 2002 with a small but important role in the Sam Mendes gangster movie Road to Perdition. Acting alongside Hollywood royalty Paul Newman he more than held his own in illustrious company – and he and Mendes would be working together again a decade later.
Four years later in 2006, Craig landed a starring role in Infamous as Perry Smith, one of the killers made famous in Truman Capote’s iconic true crime novel In Cold Blood. The movie told the story of the writing of the book with Capote being played by fellow British actor Toby Jones. Allowed to be truly menacing on screen, this was obviously laying the groundwork for his next, and biggest, Hollywood role.
The name’s Bond . . .
When it was announced that Craig was to play the latest incarnation of James Bond the news was coolly received by many. Still a relative unknown and very different, physically, from previous 007s like Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton it was hard to imagine how it would pan out.
But when Casino Royale burst onto the screen in 2006 all these questions were answered. There was a Bond very much for the 21st century. Violent, determined and ruthless, Craig’s steely blue eyes and hyper-developed physique made him a mesmerizing presence on screen.
And who can tell how many viewers were encouraged to play online casino real money games inspired by the captivating poker encounter between him and the evil blood-weeping Le Chiffre?
The follow-up to Casino Royale, it has to be said, was something of a disappointment following his explosive performance in the previous film. With a slightly confusing plot and fewer action sequences than most Bond films feature, not to mention a title that defies definition, Quantum of Solacestill only scores 58% on Rotten Tomatoes.
However, the follow-up to this, Skyfall, reunited Craig with Sam Mendes to devastating effect. The plot even gave us more insight than ever before into Bond’s backstory as he headed to the highlands with Judi Dench’s M for a final showdown with the dastardly Raoul Silvaplayed by Javier Bardem at his childhood home, the Skyfall of the title.
The movie was an immediate hit becoming the highest-grossing Bond movie of all time, earning well over $300,000,000.
The next film in the series was the equally well-received, if not quite as high-earning, Spectre. The opening sequence that found Bond embroiled in an assassination attempt in Mexico City on the Day of the Dead is one of the most epic ever.
However, by this point Craig was expressing doubts about how much more battering his body could take in making movies for the franchise. Not surprisingly, the huge pay packet he could now command meant that sympathy was in pretty short supply for the actor.
Nonetheless, he was enticed back for one more performance in No Time To Die– a movie that left us in no doubt at all that Craig would not return as Bond.
Finding his comic touch
Even during his time as the super spy Craig was also making appearances in other movies including the 2017 comedy drama Logan Lucky. Directed by Stephen Soderbergh, it’s the story of a daring racetrack robbery by two brothers played by Channing Tatum and Adam Driver who enlist the services of explosives expert Joe Bang.
His most recent screen appearances have been in the Knives Out movies, directed by Rian Johnson. In these he plays a slightly camp and very perceptive private detective from the Deep South called Benoit Blanc. The movies themselves are intended to be Agatha Christie-style mysteries that only the cunning Benoit can crack.
The first movie proved to be a surprise hit, as did the second. So, there’s now said to be number three in the pipeline. So, it may well be that this grows to be a Bond-sized franchise, at least until Craig decides he’s had enough of being typecast.
But whatever the future holds for him, we can be pretty confident that he is a star that will continue to shine for some time to come.
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