Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal
Casino Royale, Defiance, Logan Lucky
Currently Known For:
2000s - Present
March 2, 1968
Casino Royale, Defiance, Logan Lucky
“You need to impress me, outwit me, compete with me? Go ahead, knock yourself out, I have no problem with that at all.” Known as James Bond to his millions of fans, Daniel Craig is an English actor who is undeniably best known for his portrayal of the legendary British spy. Long before he took over for Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, Craig launched his career in the early 1990s after graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He made his film debut in The Power of One (1992) and went on to appear in Sharpe’s Eagle (1993), A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), Our Friends in the North (1996), and Elizabeth (1998).Advertisements:
Craig’s film career was off to a stellar start as he landed bigger roles in films like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Road to Perdition (2002), and Munich (2005). Then, in 2005, he was invited to take over for Pierce Brosnan as the sixth James Bond beginning with his debut in Casino Royale (2006). The film was highly acclaimed and sealed Craig’s fate as one of the hottest stars in film as he reprised his role in Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), and Spectre (2015). With his next Bond film set to release in 2020, let’s take a closer look at the 50-year-old actor, his rise to fame, and his plans for the future!Early Life Across the Pond
“I think there’s a lot to be said for keeping your own counsel.” Daniel Wroughton Craig came into this world on March 2, 1968, in Chester, England where his mother was an art teacher and his father owned two pubs—the Boot Inn and the Ring o’ Bells—in Cheshire. Craig’s parents divorced when he was four years old, so he went to live with his mother, Carol, and his older sister, Lea, in Liverpool. During this time, his passion for theater blossomed after his mother and sister took him to the first of many productions at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre.
At the age of six, Craig started acting in plays at the Frodsham Primary School where he made his stage debut in a production of Oliver! Because his mother was an art teacher, she encouraged Craig to put his heart and soul into his performance, which is a trait he’s carried throughout his entire career. Coincidentally, his father also played a big role in his acting career when he took him to the movie theater to see the James Bond film Live and Let Die in 1973. At the time, the young Craig never imagined that he’d one day fill Roger Moore’s shoes as the legendary British spy.
Continuing to act in various school productions, Craig attended Hilbre High School in West Kirby, Wirral of Merseyside. While there, he was a star rugby player but not even fans cheering him on from the bleachers could compare to his love of acting. At the age of 16, he was accepted into the prestigious National Youth Theatre acting troupe. He quit school and toured Manchester with the troupe only to realize much later that acting didn’t pay very much. Before long, he took on several part-time jobs working as a dishwasher and waiter at several local restaurants. Although it wasn’t his dream job, Craig didn’t mind since he stuck with the troupe and got to see the world as the group traveled throughout Spain and Russia.
He auditioned multiple times for a spot at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and was rejected numerous times before the academy finally granted him entry. He spent three years studying under the talented Colin McCormack of the Royal Shakespeare Company and befriended fellow actors Ewan McGregor, Alistair McGowan, Joseph Fiennes, and Damian Lewis. In 1991, he graduated from Guildhall and landed his first movie role in The Power of One (1992). He then appeared in the Royal National Theatre’s production of Angels in America (1993) and made his American television debut with guest appearances in Zorro (1993) and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1993).
Although Craig stayed fairly busy throughout the 1990s, he failed to find lasting fame despite appearances in A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), Obsession (1997), Love and Rage (1998), Elizabeth (1998), and The Trench (1999). On television, he made guest appearances in Between the Lines (1993), Heartbeat (1993), Tales from the Crypt (1996), Our Friends in the North (1996), The Hunger (1997), and The Ice House (1997). “I didn’t get into this business to become famous,” Craig said of his early career. “Genuinely, you know what, at the back of my head, there was probably always an idea, ‘God, I’d love to be a movie star.’ But honestly, I come from Liverpool. I thought there would be a fat chance of that happening. I just wanted to be an actor and do my thing and this has happened.”Rise to Fame in the New Millennium
“The genuine truth, and I do think about this a lot, is that I’m one of the least competitive people you will ever meet. Except with myself.” Things drastically changed for Craig in the new millennium when he played Angelina Jolie’s romantic interest in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). His next big hit came a year later when he joined Tom Hanks and Paul Newman in Road to Perdition (2002). Once again, the film pushed Craig further into the spotlight as he joined Gwyneth Paltrow in Sylvia (2003), Keira Knightley and Adrien Brody in The Jacket (2005), and Eric Bana in the Steven Spielberg film Munich (2005).
On the heels of his success in Munich, Craig was invited to meet with Eon Productions who was looking for someone to take over for Pierce Brosnan as the next James Bond. At the time, Craig was hesitant to join the list of Bond alumni—Timothy Dalton, Sean Connery, and Roger Moore. Fans were also hesitant when they heard the news since Craig didn't exactly fit the traditional tall, dark, and handsome Bond with his 5’10” frame and blonde hair. Regardless, Craig’s competitiveness took over and he happily stepped into the role.
“You need to impress me, outwit me, compete with me? Go ahead, knock yourself out. I have no problem with that at all,” Craig said. “I played a lot of sports when I was a kid and I don’t think I was particularly competitive, but the games I loved best were when I forgot completely to be competitive and that’s when I won. And that’s what I try to achieve. If you can get to that place where it doesn’t matter—but really it does—then you win…”
Craig channeled that energy and got into the best physical shape of his life to make his debut as James Bond in Casino Royale (2006), which grossed over $590 million at box offices worldwide to become the highest-grossing Bond film in history. “It’s not like I was trying to be sexy, but I had to get fit because I had to be able to do stunts,” Craig said of getting in shape. “Also, I wanted that, if Bond took his clothes off, he looked like a man who did what he did, which was to kill people for a living. I thought the only way to do that was to work out and get fit and buff and get physically into shape.”
Craig certainly came through in Casino Royale and followed up with Quantum of Solace (2008) and Skyfall (2012), the latter of which broke the earlier record when it grossed over $600 million at the box office. Craig reprised his role again in Spectre (2015) and is set to reprise his role in Bond 25 (2020). But, even with the franchise’s success, Craig refuses to slow down or take off his blinders to critique his performance.
“But hand on heart, going into my third year of drama school and the sh-t was hitting the fan and people were trying to get agents and competing really nastily with each other, well not nastily, but desperately, I was not bothered,” Craig says of his method and mentality. “And every time I’ve failed to replicate that, then sh-t has started to go wrong. I never want to know who went up for the part. I never want to know who my agent’s other clients are. I never want to know what they’re doing, how they’re doing. I do not give a sh-t. As soon as you start doing that, you start questioning your own existence, questioning why you don’t have this and that, and it destroys you. The grass is always greener and there’s always going to be someone with a bigger toy than yours.”Life Outside of Bond
“It’s not about being afraid to be public with your emotions or about who you are and what you stand for, but if you sell it off, it’s gone. It’s precious. It’s worth more than money.” With his commitment to playing James Bond, Craig sealed his fate as one of the hottest stars in the industry but that didn’t push him to slow down. Instead, it made him hungrier for more as he lent his voice and his likeness to Bond in various video games and returned to the silver screen in Infamous (2006), The Invasion (2007), and The Golden Compass (2007).
“There’s no doubt [playing Bond] has changed things. It might have been different if we hadn’t had the success we did with Casino Royale,” Bond said. “It could have been more, let’s say… interesting. I may not have been offered all the jobs you’d expect, but I’ve definitely been shown stuff I wasn’t before. And it’s made me get more active about it. That’s what I’ve always done, gone looking for scripts, and this has given me that extra push…”
Craig has enjoyed that extra push and starred in Flashbacks of a Fool (2008) and Defiance (2008) before he joined Hugh Jackman in the Broadway production of A Steady Rain (2009). His performance earned widespread praise from critics and prompted even bigger work from the British actor as he starred in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2010), Dream House (2011), and Cowboys & Aliens (2011). Adding in a handful of returns to the stage in Betrayal (2013) and Othello (2016), Craig also had an uncredited cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). His most recent work includes Logan Lucky (2017), Kings (2017), and the upcoming Knives Out (2019). On television, he lent his voice to Father Anton Streza in two episodes of Comrade Detective (2017).
Beyond his life in the spotlight, Craig is one of the most private actors in the industry, much to the dismay of his millions of adoring fans and the overly nosy tabloids. Because he is notoriously difficult to interview, very little is known about his personal life. What we do know is that he was married to actress Fiona Loudon from 1992 to 1994 and became a father with the birth of his daughter, Ella. Shortly after his marriage ended, he had a seven-year relationship with German actress Heiki Makatsch, but the relationship ended in 2004. He then met and fell in love with film producer Satsuki Mitchell, whom he was briefly engaged to until the couple called off their nuptials in 2010.
In 2010, Craig and his longtime friend and former Dream House costar Rachel Weisz saw their friendship evolve into romance. They started dating in December 2010 and married six months later on June 22, 2011, in a private New York City ceremony with Craig’s daughter and Weisz’s son in attendance. They spent the next seven years living quietly in New York before Weisz gave birth to their daughter on September 1, 2018.
As for his stardom and his $95 million net worth, it all seems surreal for Craig who still can’t imagine himself as a film icon, at least not yet. “I had a ton of people I admired when I was starting out, but I was as fickle as I could possibly be,” Craig says. “It depended on the movie I’d just seen. Literally, if I came running out of a movie, I was that person for at least ten or 15 minutes, I was as fickle as that. I didn’t care as long as they were cool and good in that movie. I admire people like Paul Newman, the great modern movie actors such as Robert Redford and Steve McQueen. Those guys were not only great actors but movie stars as well.” Although he may not realize it, Craig is certainly a movie star as the world’s current James Bond.