Daniel Craig is back as James Bond 007 in Skyfall, the 23rd adventure in the longest-running film franchise of all time. In Skyfall, Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost. The film is from Albert R. Broccoli’s EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and Sony Pictures Entertainment.
“I have my own, personal relationship with Bond, which began when I was 9 or 10 years old – when Live and Let Die came out,” says Sam Mendes, who helms the 23rd James Bond adventure, SKYFALL. While Mendes might be best-known for directing emotional dramas, he says that high entertainment and artistic integrity aren’t mutually exclusive. “We happen to be living in a time when it’s possible to make a big, entertaining, glamorous, escapist movie that also says something about the world we live in. With Daniel’s performances in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, James Bond feels like a real man in a real situation again. It reminds me of the way I feel when I watch the Sean Connery movies.”
“It’s our 50th anniversary and 23rd film so the pressure’s on to make the best Bond ever. We have an extraordinary cast, an incredibly talented creative team and an emotionally charged script,” explains Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.
At the same time, Mendes felt the freedom to put his own stamp on the legendary franchise, “I have been given an enormous amount of freedom – and I’ve never felt constrained or hidebound by the genre or the franchise,” he says. “Part of that is Daniel and Judi, both of whom I already knew well. I’d love the two of them to be in any movie I directed.”
And it is quite a dangerous journey that 007 faces in SKYFALL – one that shakes MI6 to its core as the agency comes under attack. Mendes says that in directing action sequences, character is as important as stunt and camera work. “If you’re not engaged with the characters, the action is meaningless, however good it is,” he says. “To me, you have to put the characters in a credible and believable situation – you have to make it almost impossible for them to survive – and then show how they survive. That’s the challenge.”
Javier Bardem plays Silva, the man who puts MI6 at risk. The actor is no stranger to playing dark and complex characters, having won the Oscar® for his role as the unforgettable Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men. “When I read the script, I was immediately drawn to the story and the character’s possibilities – and to work with Sam Mendes and to be a part of his incredible cast and crew, I couldn’t say no to an opportunity like this,” says Bardem.
Returning for her seventh film as M, of course, is Judi Dench. She says that her relationship off-screen with Daniel Craig has mirrored the on-screen relationship between M and Bond that has been at the heart of the two most recent films. “Bond and M are two people that work together, she’s obviously very fond of him, and she’s often accused of being preferential towards him, but she can also be ruthless about him. We struck up a good relationship the first time we worked together, and that has developed as each script requires something a little bit more from us.”
They are joined by an all-star cast of newcomers to the franchise. Ralph Fiennes plays Mallory, a government official with oversight of M’s agency. “On the surface, Mallory has a charm, an old-world courtesy, but underneath, there’s a steel there. He is absolutely able to stand up to M and go head-to-head with her.”
Of course, no Bond film is complete without its Bond women. Naomie Harris plays Eve, a field agent. “In recent years, the Bond films have featured two girls – one an exotic type and the other a home-grown type. Naomie manages to be both,” says Mendes.
“Eve is a field agent, very independent, very intelligent, very witty, fun, courageous,” says Harris. “I don’t have half her courage – she’s a woman I admire and would like to be.”
Another key role in SKYFALL is that of Severine, played by Bérénice Marlohe. “If I could have invented a Bond girl, it would be Bérénice,” laughs Mendes. “I wanted to find somebody with all of the classic components of a Bond girl: voluptuous, sexy, a woman and not a girl, mystery. Bérénice is half-Cambodian, half-French – you have a sense that you’re really not quite sure where she’s from. She gives us that mystery. On top of all that, she happens to be a fantastic actress.”
The film’s cast is rounded out by some of Britain’s most respected actors: Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear and the legendary Albert Finney.
SKYFALL has been filming in several locations in Turkey, Shanghai, and the highlands of Scotland. A good portion of the film is set in London, which, oddly enough, Mendes finds the greatest challenge of all. “It’s my home town,” he explains. “I find it very difficult to get any kind of distance on it. I focused on giving it a mythic scale – I tried to give it mood and atmosphere and a sense of a threat. You could say we’ve shot in some of the expected places, but I hope we’ve done it in unexpected ways.”
Albert R. Broccoli’s EON Productions presents Daniel Craig as Ian Fleming’s James bond in SKYFALL. The film also stars Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Ben Whishaw, with Albert Finney and Judi Dench as ‘M.’ Directed by Sam Mendes. Produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. Written by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and John Logan. Director of Photography is Roger Deakins, ASC BSC. Production Designer is Dennis Gassner. Editor is Stuart Baird, A. C. E. Costume Designer is Jany Temime. Distributed through Sony Pictures Releasing.
About Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig is hailed as one of the finest actors of his generation on stage, screen and television. Last summer, Craig starred in Cowboys & Aliens, directed by Jon Favreau and also starring Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde. Craig played the pirate Red Rackham in director Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, theanimated adventure with a cast including Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, and Simon Pegg. Craig starred opposite Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts in Dream House, a tense thriller directed by the multi award-winner Jim Sheridan. In the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, directed by David Fincher, he played lead character Mikael Blomkvist opposite Rooney Mara.
In 2009, Craig returned to the stage for a twelve week Broadway run of “A Steady Rain.” Craig played opposite Hugh Jackman in this contemporary American play based on two Chicago cops who recount their conflicting stories of a harrowing experience. The same year, Craig starred on the big screen in Edward Zwick’s critically acclaimed Defiance, based on the true story of four brothers in Nazi occupied Poland. In 2008, Craig made his second outing as James Bond in Quantum of Solace, directed by Marc Forster and co-starring Judi Dench, Olga Kurylenko, and Gemma Arterton.
Born in 1968 in Chester and raised near Liverpool, Craig was first introduced to theatre at The Liverpool Everyman. When he reached his late teens, he moved to London to join the National Youth Theatre, before continuing his training at the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Craig has since secured eclectic roles in television, theatre and film, and is now regarded as one of Britain’s finest actors.
Craig’s earlier film credits include Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Elizabeth, Hotel Splendide, I Dreamed of Africa, Love and Rage, Obsession, and The Power of One. In 2002, Craig garnered critical acclaim for his role in Sam Mendes’ Road to Perdition, and the following year, hewas seen in The Mother, based on the screenplay by Hanif Kureishi and directed by Roger Michell. In 2004, Craig starred opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in Sylvia, which tells of the lives of poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. In 2005, he was seen supporting Adrien Brody and Keira Knightly in The Jacket, in Matthew Vaughn’s directorial debut Layer Cake, and in Roger Michell’s critically acclaimed Enduring Love (based on the bestselling novel by Ian McEwan).
The following year, audiences saw him in Stephen Spielberg’s Oscar®-nominated film Munich, and he received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Douglas McGrath’s Infamous, which also starred Sandra Bullock and Gwyneth Paltrow. In 2006, he made his James Bond debut in Casino Royale, for which he received a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Actor and an Empire Film Award in the same category; the film became the highest grossing in the history of the 007 franchise. In 2007, audiences saw Craig in The Golden Compass, co-starring Nicole Kidman and Eva Green, and the following year in Flashbacks of a Fool, directed by Baillie Walsh.
A highly accomplished stage actor, Craig’s theatre credits include leading roles in “Hurlyburly” with the Peter Hall Company at the Old Vic, “Angels in America” at The National Theatre, and in “A Number” at the Royal Court alongside Michael Gambon.
Craig has numerous notable television credits, including the BBC adaptation of Michael Frayn’s award-winning “Copenhagen,” “Our Friends in the North,” “Sword of Honour,” “The Ice House,” “The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders,” “Kiss and Tell,” “Sharpe’s Eagle,” and in the two-part BBC film “Archangel,” based on Robert Harris’ book of the same name.