Daniel Craig has transformed what has become one of the most coveted roles in movie history. Craig has taken the role of James Bond back to the basics, encapsulating the true essence of what creator/author Ian Fleming had in mind for the character. This “new” (although technically original) version of Bond, has transcended the MI6 agent into modern day conflicts, and has made both the character and the films realistic and believable. Craig has been praised for his brutal, almost ruthless at times, take on the iconic character. He has added a level of physicality to the role that hadn’t been seen by any of the previous actors, and has truly become England’s ultimate weapon.
The “Craig-Era” has ushered in immense success for the Bond Franchise. Racking in more than 3 billion dollars combined, Craig’s four outings as Bond (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre) have created the most lucrative run for James Bond since the Connery days. So with all this success, why does James Bond himself feel that it is time to walk away? Daniel Craig has been reported, on record, for making rather harsh statements about playing the role in the future. When asked if he would return to the role after Spectre, Craig stated in an October interview, “Now? I’d rather … slash my wrists,” he replied. “No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.” The 47 year old actor may be tired of the long days of filming, the rigorous working out to prepare for the role, or even the tumultuous amounts of press releases/promotional work he has to attend to post filming. The British actor says if he did reprise role, ‘it would be only for the money’. After hearing these comments, it seems obvious that Craig, Daniel Craig, has made his last appearance as Bond.
However, if you’re a fan of Daniel Craig as Bond (as I am myself), and a Bond enthusiast, you wonder back to 2012, when Craig “committed” to playing the role for an additional 2 films after Skyfall, which would place him at a total of 5 films. Regardless of your opinion of Craig as the iconic hero, this story has certainly “shaken” (not stirred) up emotions and questions in the Bond-Universe. The legal-minded folk immediately look to see if Craig is breaching his prior contract with producer Barbara Broccoli and the Sony Company. It seems obvious that if Craig was under contract, which did not warrant for any termination clause, that he would be obligated to return to the role for a fifth film. This seems easy enough, but the question remains: Where is this contract? Craig merely made statements committing to the role in 2012, but an actual contract for a fifth Bond outing doesn’t exist. The Sony Corporation and Barbara could seek litigation, if they truly relied on these comments from Craig, however they run into a statue of frauds issue. The Statute of Frauds is a legal issue arising in contract law, stating that a contract for services of over a year (which would be the case for Craig) needs to be in writing in order to be valid. As there is no actual contract, it will be hard for Broccoli/Sony to force Craig into a fifth film. Plus, who would want someone in a role if they weren’t passionate about it anyway?
Speculating litigation between Craig and the Bond franchise may be a bit dramatic, as Broccoli herself has stated that she wouldn’t be surprised if Craig walked away from that commitment, as many Bond actors in the past have promised more than they can handle. But Fans of the Craig take on James Bond may be able to breath a bit easier, as Daniel Craig has seemingly backtracked on quitting Bond, saying he may return to the franchise but right now he just wants to stop being asked about it and have a nice sit down. “The simple answer at the moment is I don’t want to think about it,” Craig told The Today Show. “I just don’t want to think about it. I want to think about other things. “I want to go home.” James Bond producers are confident Daniel Craig will continue as 007 for a final film, but until then Craig seems to be channeling his inner Dorothy rather than Bond (there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…). Lets hope that Craig sticks around for one last outing as the MI6 super spy so that I can leave the lame Wizard of Oz references alone.