Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Last Daniel Craig Bond Film?

As is well known, Daniel Craig sounded aghast at the thought of doing another Bond film in a recent interview, and much of the press made far too much of the fact, as they always do when an actor deviates from the achingly bland routine of film promotion.

The reality is that while nothing is so important for an actor's career as having a franchise (so much so that anyone getting one should count themselves very, very lucky), actually having that franchise, and playing the same role again and again and again, makes them restless. This is all the more the case when it is a franchise of big-budget ($250 million!) with a great deal of location work, and long, post-production publicity tours. And of course, it's one thing to endure the grueling routine (with which few non-Bond films compare) at twenty-seven, another to do it at forty-seven.

In fact, there's a long tradition of Bonds getting fed up with just this aspect of the series, going back at least to Sean Connery in You Only Live Twice.

There is, too, the problem of lengthy association with the franchise. One can do only so movies--and then what? In contrast with a good many other roles, the role is not identified with the actor, but the actor with the role, and especially if they stick with it for too long, what comes afterward is apt to be an anti-climax. (Take, for example, Roger Moore's long career of William Shatner-like self-parody in movies like Spice World. And even Sean Connery had a hard time.)

And again, Craig's age matters. By the time the next Bond film comes out, he could be fifty--and while in this post-Expendables age being a fiftysomething action hero is less implausible than it used to be (Vin Diesel's still playing Dom Toretto is actually much more bizarre given the youth orientation of the Fast and Furious series), the audience has a very fixed idea of Bond as eternally thirtysomething which makes it more of a problem. And it can understandably seem better not to overstay one's welcome (and spare oneself the kind of brutal press Moore was getting by the time of A View to a Kill).

Still, even the spontaneous remarks of the publicity tour are often as "unscripted" as a reality show. Craig might have been blowing off some genuine steam--but it could also have been a trial balloon, one which achieved the predictable effect, eliciting both expressions of stupid shock, and speculation about who might succeed Craig in the role.

Shea Serrano, at least, managed to be interesting as he went about the old game, making a case for Groot getting the job--which actually would be something worth writing about.

Just How Old is James Bond Supposed to Be?
Are Ian Fleming's Novels Midcult?
Spectre: Early Reviews
Just Out. . . (James Bond's Evolution)
Just Out . . . (The Forgotten James Bond)
My Posts on James Bond

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