By The CBn Team on 2005-10-14

    It’s official: Daniel Craig is the new James Bond!

    Eon Productions and Sony Pictures Entertainment made the announcement today at a London press conference, ending more than 18 months of rampant speculation after four-time Bond Pierce Brosnan was dropped from the role in Feburary of last year.

    The new James Bond, Daniel Craig

    The new James Bond, Daniel Craig

    The actor has been signed to a three-picture deal starting with the upcoming 007 film, Casino Royale.

    Craig arrived at the press conference via speedboat escorted by the Royal Navy. “I’d like to thank the marines for scaring the shit out of me,” he joked.

    The press conference was attended by Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli, and director Martin Campbell. Wilson said they looked at over 200 actors, but Craig was the only one they offered the film to. Campbell called his new Bond “fantastic.”

    Craig said he found out on Monday that he had the role. “I need a drink,” was his first reaction. Craig then added, “Together, with Martin, I want to make the best film we can. The most entertaining film we can. And it’s not a question of redefining, but it’s a question of taking it somewhere maybe where it’s never gone before.”

    Wilson confirmed that Casino Royale would be James Bond’s “first mission” as a double-oh agent and that the central relationship with the Bond Girl is more serious and will effect Bond’s character at the end. Campbell said it is “definitely a darker film, more character, less gadgets.”

    The official Casino Royale logo (click to view) sat behind the filmmakers and star as they answered questions from the world press.

    Craig arrives at press conference

    Craig arrives at the press conference

    Daniel Craig’s road to Bond has been a curious one.

    In April, the 37-year-old British actor was suddenly and mysteriously touted by media the world over as having landed the role. However, no official confirmation was forthcoming and reports later confirmed the Bond search was still ongoing.

    Craig then revealed to IGN Filmforce that he had been offered the role by the studio, but not by Eon Productions. Later, trade paper The Hollywood Reporter claimed that Barbara Broccoli wanted Craig, but co-producer Michael G. Wilson did not. Craig is said to be a close personal friend of the Broccoli family.

    Craig’s candidacy disappeared amid reports of younger candidates until CBn exclusively broke the news in its monthly podcast that Craig was back in serious contention for the role, despite comments by screenwriter Paul Haggis and Martin Campbell that Bond in Casino Royale would be a rookie agent of just 28 years old.

    The rumblings and rumours about Craig’s candidacy intensified throughout September and October until the Daily Mail announced on Monday that Craig had, indeed, landed the part. A flurry of unconfirmed press reports followed…ending today with Craig’s official appointment to Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

    Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson, Daniel Craig

    Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson with their new James Bond, Daniel Craig

    Bond fans have been split down the middle about Daniel Craig’s suitability for the part. Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. Fans advocating for Craig believe the actor would bring a new edge to the character, with many highlighting his physical likeness to Hoagy Carmichael, whom Ian Fleming said was his ideal model of how 007 should look. Other fans have been less enthusiastic, arguing the actor to be a far cry from the heretofore standard for the cinematic James Bond.

    Daniel Craig was born in Chester, England in 1968. After growing up in Liverpool and moving to England, he joined the National Youth Theatre at the age of 16 and later secured a place at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 1992 he made theatrical acting debut in the filmic adaptation of Bryce Courtenay’s The Power Of One. Craig’s filmography includes Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Road To Perdition, The Jacket and his critically-acclaimed turn as an unnamed drug dealer in Layer Cake. He will next appear alongside Eric Bana and Geoffrey Rush in Steven Spielberg’s new film, Munich.

    And in 2006, Daniel Craig will make his debut appearance as James Bond, 007 in Casino Royale.

    Casino Royale will be the 21st James Bond film produced by the franchise holders, EON Productions. The MGM/Columbia Pictures production begins shooting in January and is due for release worldwide on November 17, 2006. It will be filmed in the Czech Republic, the Bahamas, Italy and the UK.

    Click to view more photos from today’s event in the CBn ‘Casino Royale’ Gallery

    Watch the full ‘Casino Royale’ press conference

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