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(Credit: Glyn Lowe)

Film

Watch Daniel Craig in the screen test for 'Casino Royale'

@Russellisation

Departing the James Bond franchise without a bombastic final action sequence, Daniel Craig’s 007 became the very first to die following five daring missions that started with Casino Royale in 2006. Whilst many were not happy with the way that the actor left the series, there’s no doubt that his ending marks a watershed moment in the franchise as it looks to build off the actor’s revolutionary work. 

Back in the mid-2000s, however, Craig wasn’t exactly the preferred choice for the role, with his sharp good looks and blonde hair putting audiences off the choice, though this angst would later be put to rest. Having already demonstrated that he could lead an action movie in Matthew Vaughn’s 2004 film Layer Cake, Craig took to the role of James Bond with immediate international appeal, bringing a far more serious take on the iconic character. 

Appearing far younger than his No Time to Die self, with podgy boyish charm and smart blonde locks, the Daniel Craig that we see in the screen test for Casino Royale is far different from any iteration of the character we had seen before. Playing out a very simple scene where Bond opens the door to a mysterious woman and discusses the whereabouts of Vesper, played in the film by Eva Green, the short video gives us the first-ever glimpse of Craig in character. 

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Distinctly more rugged than his previous James Bond counterparts, from the monochrome opening of Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale it was clear that Craig intended to bring an entirely new identity to the classic character. Snapping to life, this scene was crafted with sophistication and style, exploding into violent life with blinding saturated colour that echoes with the tradition of the franchise whilst winking to the promises of the future. 

Both physical and rugged as well as psychologically fragile, Craig proved to be one of the most interesting James Bond actors of all time. Speaking to GQ in 2020 about his time as the character, Craig noted: “The biggest ideas are the best…And the biggest ideas are love and tragedy and loss. They just are, and that’s what I instinctively want to aim for”. By showing a fallible action hero that suffered from love, loss and regret, Craig proved to be entirely different from the bunch, reflecting the challenges of a modern generation.

There’s no telling which direction the franchise may take next, with many believing that Sony will be looking to bring the first female Bond into the mix in the form of potential actors Claire Foy or Jodie Comer whilst Idris Elba and Daniel Kaluuya also remain firm favourites. 

Whoever comes on board, they’ve got a lot to live up to.