Director Mendes says Craig brings complexity to 007 role

Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:59pm EDT
 
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By Ayla Jean Yackley

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes said on Sunday he would not have made the latest James Bond film "Skyfall" without Daniel Craig playing the MI6 agent because of the complexity the British actor has brought to the character.

Mendes, who won an Academy Award for directing "American Beauty" in 1999, has depicted troubled men with ordinary lives -a far cry from 007, the ultimate action hero.

Bond's playboy image does not reflect the flawed hero in novelist Ian Fleming's books, first published in 1953, Mendes, 46, told a press conference in Istanbul, where "Skyfall" is being shot this month.

"What Fleming created was a very conflicted character," the British filmmaker said. "Some of those things are explored in this movie, because Daniel as an actor is capable of exploring them.

"That was a big thing for me, having a Bond who I believed in, who I felt could take the character to a new level. I could imagine another actor and I wouldn't have wanted to do it."

Craig, 44, reimagined Bond as a dark figure when he took over the role in the franchise's last two films, "Casino Royale" and "Quantum of Solace".

He and Mendes worked closely to develop the story in the latest film. They were afforded extra time to discuss it when production was suspended in 2010 because of financial troubles at MGM, which nearly filed for bankruptcy.

"We were in continued conversation, once Sam agreed to do it," said Craig. "We weren't supposed to talk to each other because MGM hadn't done the deal.   Continued...

 
Actor Daniel Craig and director Sam Mendes (R) pose while launching the start of production of the new James Bond film "SkyFall" at a restaurant in London November 3, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor