First of all, I don’t own the photo (if you’re the owner, let me know the terms of usage — but prove first that you’re the real owner). It was going around on Facebook and seeing it reminded me of how we got acquainted with the biggest James Bond since Sean Connery.
We first saw Daniel Craig in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. We didn’t know his name, I thought his physique was over-the-top and the semi-nude shower scene only reinforced the feeling that he was in the movie as the token male interest. Kind of ironic, really. My generation grew up with movies where women were often little more than decorative and there was Daniel Craig in Lara Croft as a male ornament. And I treated him as such — and I didn’t even think he was such a pretty decoration with his rugged face and too-muscular body.
I saw Daniel Craig next in The Road to Perdition. He didn’t have a big role in the film but I recognized his face — I couldn’t remember his name though. I referred to him as Alex West. We saw Elizabeth (with Cate Blanchett) and The Jacket (with Keira Knightly) on DVD, he was in both movies and we still called him Alex West.
Then, I saw Enduring Love (also on DVD) around the time that news broke out that Daniel Craig would be the new James Bond. We had been making a lot of yuck reactions to the announcement then along came the DVD of Enduring Love. My reaction to the film was the same as my reaction to Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can. I realized that Daniel Craig could act — and act very, very well.
Enduring Love, based on the novel of the same title, is about the chance meeting of two men while trying to rescue a young boy who was being carried away by a hot air balloon that had gone out of control. Joe (Craig) and several others including Jed (Rhys Ifans who would later play Xenophilius Lovegood, Luna’s father, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1) rush to the rescue. Joe and Jed exchange a passing glance that would send Joe’s life crushing down. Jed, suffering from de Clerambault’s syndrome or erotomania (Google it), is thereafter convinced that Joe is in love him and he shows up everywhere disrupting Joe’s life. It’s stalking of the most terrifying kind. No spoilers — see it if you’re curious.
In short, by the time Casino Royale came out, I already had tremendous respect for Daniel Craig as an actor. And he did not disappoint in Casino Royale. Although I did not enjoy Quantum of Solace as much, I look forward to Skyfall which is due for release a few days after my birthday.