Daniel in Arena

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Ang
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Daniel in Arena

Post by Ang » Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:58 am

There's a great interview in this month's Arena, done on the set of Flashbacks of A Fool and some lovely pictures 8)

I've typed out about half of it (please excuse typos) and will finish it off tomorrow hopefully (if anyone can scan it on before then please feel free, it'll save me the typing!! :)

Interview - Richard Galpin

Visits to film sets, much like the final products themselves are very much hit-and-miss affairs. While there’s every chance you could be watching a tyre-screeching car chase, there are also days like today, when I’m peering into a small monitor watching Daniel Craig….having high tea. As I watch, the man best known as James Bond is tackling a china tea set , a large fruitcake and two old biddies. Gripping stuff.

It’s a scorching July day and the last week of filming on Flashbacks Of A Fool at a quaint 15th-century country cottage which used to be one of Hentry VIII’s hunting lodges, on the outskirds of Radlett, Hertfordshire. It’s a far cry from the hoopla of a Bond film and a return to Craig’s independent roots; the thoughtful tale of a hedonistic Hollywood actor (cue sweeping strings-filled score) who has to come to terms with the wrongs of his past. It’s also a very personal project for Craig – his friend, director Baillie Walsh wrote the script with him in mind to play the drugged up, off-the-rails protagoinist who’s seeking some form of redemption. Which means drinking lots of tea, apparently.

“It’s like the English psychiatric treatment, ‘Sit yourself down, have a cup of tea and tell me what’s wrong’” says Craig of this scene where he visits his mother (played by Olivia Williams) and aunt (Helen McCrory) after the death of a childhood friend. “Baillie, who’s my closest friend, wrote it about five years ago with me in mind, showed it to me and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be good if we got this made?’ We both just laughed it off at the time. It was like, ‘Yeah right, when are we going to get a film made?’ but recently things have been going rather well and we managed to raise the money.”

‘Going well’ to any sentient member of the Western world, refers to Craig being cast as Ian Fleming’s 007, and he admits that getting an $11m budget is far easier when you have Bond as your leading man and executive producer.
“Yes, I’m executive producer, how fucked up is that? I pressed the flesh. I could meet and greet with film distributors. It’s all a question of confidence – if you can get two or three people interested, then you have a team and can go, ‘Hey look, it’s a good idea’. But it’s still high risk – getting people to put their hand in their pocket, when there’s a high chance they’re going to lose it. But if it’s going to be a good experience for them, it might be worth them taking the risk”.

Despite his new business commitments, and the fact that he’s nearing his 40th birthday, Craig looks sickeningly fit and healthy; only the laughter lines around his icy blue eyes are a clue he’s not10 years younger. The strict Bond fitness regime might have been more relaxed over the past year, but his muscles are still sharply defined under his T-shirt. When you stand next to him, you can’t help but suck in your stomach (it didn’t make much difference); when I told friends I’d be spending the day with him, I was met with a cacophony of girlish squeals – and that was just from the men.

For once, though, some unrestrained male admiration is justified. At last here was a James Bond we could all root for – a man’s man, a bit rough and ready, a mile away from a slick-haired pretty-boy in a tux. And then there’s the actor himself, intelligent and serious, a man who isn’t afraid to risk ridicule (and if you’ve seen him getting it on with a granny in 2003’s The Mother, you’ll know what I’m talking about). In short.he’s the sort of bloke you could have a pint with watching the rugby.

Craig’s appeal to women is not lost on his Flashbacks co-star Olivia Williams.
“I didn’t know him before, just his work of course, but now he has this aura that he is James Bond. I forced him to sign a pile of Casino Royale DVD’s in the make-up truck at five-o’clock this morning,” says Williams. “He’s a very good-natured man seeing what he has to go through.”

McCrory is more used to Craig’s charms having worked alongside him in Enduring Love and 2000’s bawdy brit comedy Hotel Splendide, and respects the fact he isn’t just riding on the coat tails of Bond’s success. “I worked with Daniel about ten years ago, I’m disappointed to say that he’s no different,” she laughs. “He could be doing any single film he wants to but he’s doing an indie film. I think that says a lot about him and what he’s doing with his career.”

My breathless female friends and the rest of the Daniel Craig fan club will be pleased to hear that the opening scene sees him starkers in his bedroom after a night of coked-up debauchery.
“Well you’ve got to sell the movie somehow,” he chuckles. “It’s just an opening title sequence to get the message across how far this guy’s gone, and the the movie starts. There’s other bits of nakedness it it, but they’re not me. The movie is very sexual, in the flashback scenes my character is confused teenager and sex is a very confusing time. Sex comes along and he’s like, ‘What the fuck is going on here?’ and it sends him into a spin. I don’t think that’s unusual – it happens to us all.”

While personally I like films that blow stuff up, over his career Craig hasn’t been afraid to tackle material that makes you think – Sylvia, Munich, Love Is The Devil, Infamous – and you feel that this interest in explosive personalities rather than, well, explosives is whey he’s been so enthusiastic about getting Flashbacks off the ground.

“One of the key elements of this movie is the defining moments of your teenage years that we all have and remember. They’re very important and you can never get rid of them and the older you get, the more they become key. You think back and can look at it and go, ‘Wow that set me off on that path’. I’m not moralising, but if you don’t take care of business it will come back to haunt you. It doesn’t matter what background you’re from, or how you grew up – at some stage you’ll have to face it.”

When I tell him I’m not sure I want to think about the difficult summer in my teens when I was nicked for pinching a Crème Egg from Woolies, he sympathecially pats me on the arm. “Ah you’ll be alright, it’s good fun and there’s lots of sex.”

North London, five months later.
Flashbacks Of A Fool has wrapped ad is in post production and since July, Craig has been shooting World War Two drama Defiance in the middle of a freezing Lithuanian forest, so it’s no surprise he’s suffering from a heavy cold. We’re travelling from Arena’s shoot at a grotty paintballing venue in Islington to the more salubrious surroundings of Claridge’s.

“I’d wanted to work with [Blood Diamond director] Ed Zwick for a while and this is a true story about brothers rescuing Jews from the Germans by hiding them in the forest. In the end they actually managed to get 1,200 out. My characters philosophy was rather than fighting the Germans it was better to run away and hide. But don’t worry, there was enough blowing things up and ‘die, Nazi scum!’ to keep you happy”.

For someone who is always polite, laughs a lot and has a devilish sense of humour, it’s odd that the media has generally painted Craig as a prickly individual. If you’ve read anything on him over the past couple of years – and it’s been hard not to – they invariably mention a wariness of the press.

One American magazine based its whole cover story around the fact they’d been told he was difficult. It’s something he finds baffling.
“When I was making Bond, the film company were nervous that I wasn’t going to do any press as that’s my reputation for some reason. I don’t think that’s true, it’s just lazy journalism; they want to paint me as a difficult person. I think I’m quite nice, but maybe I’m delusional. In one of the first meetings with my agent after landing Bond, I said we have to do everything. There’s no point making Bond if your not going to sell it. I wasn’t going to do [adopts luvvie voice] ‘Oh no darling, I can’t possibly do this, I’m an artist’.”

It’s true he values his privacy, but in today’s gossip-obsessed world, when every past or potential relationship is investigated to such a degree it puts the CSI team to shame, is that really such a strange thing? Even with someone who’s interviewed him on a number of occasions, there are things he won’t talk about.
I bring up the themes of Flashbacks Of A Fool, asking him what the defining moments of his youth were, and get a typical Craig response.
“Jesus Christ, I’m not getting into that. That’s just the moment I open the car door and chuck you out,” he says with a grin on his face, before opening the door slightly on his past. “I guess for me it was leaving home at 16. Not because of any need to run away, except for the fact I was living in Liverpool and as we all know, Liverpool in the ‘80s, like many cities, was suffering a major depression, and I wanted to be an actor. That was a defining moment for me as I’ve lived in London ever since. More than half my life now.”

When I mention that last week’s copy of Heat came with a free sticker of him emerging from the surf in those now-legendary tight ‘70s cut swim-shorts, he winces visibly.
“Was it a conscious decision of mine when I looked at that particular photograph and went ‘You look good’ to let it go? Yes probably. It did what it had to do at the time. Of course it won’t fucking go away now. If I ever get to a grand old age, hopefully drunk, sitting in a corner of a bar, mumbling, I’d probably be pleased that picture was taken. I have to see the funny side of it, but it would be nice if they moved on. They need to find a better subject. There surely must be other pictures of blokes in their knickers.”
He leans back and laughs. “I have to keep hold of my sense of humour, because you can lose it very quickly and start retreating into yourself; then you can’t go anywhere unless you’re with armed guards. People trying to take pictures of me when I’m having a piss is not welcome and never will be. And yes, that’s happened.”

By the time you read this, shooting for Bond 22 will already have kicked off in Panama, also to take in Bolivia and Italy before heading back to the famous Pinewood sound stage. “If this was six months ago I would have run away screaming because I just wasn’t ready to do it all again. But now I think it’s the right time. I’ve been doing stunt rehearsal for the past week; some of the set pieces are planned well in advance, so we have to get in as much practice as possible.”

Last time around, the headlines were all about Craig’s seemingly controversial appointment to the role (who could forget those “The name’s Bland, James Bland” tabloid headlines?) but this time it’s an altogether different sort of pressure. It’s not ‘can they do it?’ it’s now ‘can they match it and better it?. Casino Royale re-invented M16s dapper assassin to the tune of £293m and earned Craig a BAFTA nomination – not something Roger Moore of Sean Connery can boast.
“Weirdly enough, I think the pressure is doubled now. For the last one there were no parameters, but now we have set them and need to go beyond them, otherwise there’s no point in doing it. It’s about a whole thought process, from designer to cameraman to be on the same page and want to achieve something. If you’re making movies that are swollen with cash, it’s easy to sit back and think everything is covered. You’ve got to watch things; everyone has to be on their toes. We have a standard to set; there have been some exceptional Bond movies in the past that have defined cinema. Even the ones that didn’t work have something, so mediocrity is not an option.”

One of the worst things aobut going back into production on Bond is watching the diet and getting back into double ’0’ shape.
“I was big for the last one, but I won’t be as ‘no neck’ as I was then. I’m doing more boxing and running, but he still need to look like he can kill someone when he takes his shirt off. It’s a pain at the time, but afterwards you have a chance to blow out. We promoted the film round the world and every city we visited we were lucky enough to visit the best restaurant they had. I hadn’t touched food I really loved for seven months, so I was like, ‘Right, I’m eating this and sod you all’. I’ve never drunk vodka martinis in my life but, fucking hell, I drank bucket-loads of them. We celebrated. I had a wild time, well not a wild time but I definitely relaxed. It was such a relief that it wasn’t a flop. If felt I had to soak up every minute, as it might not be like that next time round. I think it’s my Northern sensibilities – you don’t know what’s going to happen, we’re all doomed!’

As we enter Claridge’s foyer, he’s politely accosted by a middle aged American businessman who eagerly shakes him by the hand. “I just had to come over and say, Mr Craig, that you are the best Bond.” Mr Craig is suitably courteous back, then turns to me and winks. “I paid for him to do that just to impress you.”

Flashbacks of a Fool is released in April.

That's all folks (got some spare time to type the rest)! Definitely recommend finding the pictures though - he looks good enough to eat!! :wink:
Last edited by Ang on Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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catasa
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Post by catasa » Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:16 am

Thank you!
/Åsa
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redluna
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Post by redluna » Thu Jan 31, 2008 10:15 am

Awww, thank you so much Ang!
Can you please tell me which issue it is??
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Pandora
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Post by Pandora » Thu Jan 31, 2008 10:38 am

Hey, thanks for going to the trouble! :D

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Post by agrippina » Thu Jan 31, 2008 6:00 pm

Ooo, so nice! Thanks a bunch for the typing and heads up! Have to check the newsstand tomorrow morning for the mag!

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Laredo
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Post by Laredo » Thu Jan 31, 2008 6:06 pm

Naked or starkers again , if they don't show this in the US , I 'm gonna jump off the Skyway bridge !!! lol I 'm begining to love british films... I could picture him in his "luvie voice ". He winces about the bathing suit and appears naked in every other movie he does... can't have it both ways . Thanks for typing Ang !

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Post by Germangirl » Thu Jan 31, 2008 6:45 pm

when I told friends I’d be spending the day with him, I was met with a cacophony of girlish squeals – and that was just from the men.
Surely not the most important part of this great interview, but funny...

Thanks Ang for the effort. :D
Last edited by Germangirl on Fri Feb 01, 2008 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
The top notch acting in the Weisz/Craig/Spall 'Betrayal' is emotionally true, often v funny and its beautifully staged with filmic qualities..

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Post by StarryDannyFan » Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:09 pm

Thanks for the interview - lovely piece of work!

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Deb
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Post by Deb » Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:59 pm

Great work, thanks.
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Post by Mel-DC » Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:35 pm

thanks ang!

i love the mag interviews, he says much more intersting things and sounds more relaxed than on tv.

i like that he mentioned how ppl think hes moody :D

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Daniel in Arena

Post by PAMELA BRAMMER » Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:39 pm

Purchased a copy of Arena tonight and I agree with everyone that is a good interview and that he comes over as much more relaxed in magazine interviews.

There are some gorgeous new pics (especially the front cover) looking rough and ready!!!!!!!!!!!

Cant post the pics as I dont have a scanner but I am sure in the next day or so they will appear. Already checked on the Russian site but they dont appear to have them yet.

PamX :D :D :D :D
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Post by JoniJoni » Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:52 pm

Thanks so much for typing that up. :D

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Post by Daskedusken » Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:58 pm

Great read, thanks so much for posting.
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Post by sigl » Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:47 am

Thanks for posting the article! I'm glad you got to finish it because I'm leaving for vacation in a few minutes and won't have access to my computer for a week! What a great send off for me! I'm going to check at the airport for the magazine, but can't say I've heard of it.

I agree with Laredo...if it doesn't show here, I'll jump off SOME bridge in Minnesota! :x :x :x :x :x
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Post by Laredo » Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:30 am

Come to Fl. we will jump together ...

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