Aug 17, 2017

James Bond needs Daniel Craig, hence the €132m fee

He's the first actor in the series who is 'bigger than Bond'. They were desperate to keep him.


For decades the James Bond series has been the Rolls Royce of British cinema: deluxe film-making that maintains a reputation for excellence, while simultaneously acting as a classy-but-discreet national-esteem enhancer.

From its early-60s inception it has been a solid box-office presence and a middlebrow tastemaker – but no one could ever accuse the Bond films of reinventing the wheel.

That changed dramatically with the release of Skyfall – aka Bond 23 – which became the highest grossing film in the UK (until the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and the second biggest British film ever worldwide (behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2).

With its giant box office take, Bond morphed from a Rolls into a supercar: a Ferrari, or a Lamborghini.

This, in simple terms, explains the desperation of Bond producers Eon to retain the services of Daniel Craig, given that Bond's evolution happened on his watch. Shoring up the value of their product depended a great deal on keeping the key personnel on board, and they only have to look at the likes of Doctor Who – another venerable British franchise – to see the traumas that can accompany the regeneration of a leading actor.

With director Sam Mendes having dropped out – after delivering the goods a second time with the almost-but-not-quite-as-huge Spectre – making sure Craig didn't do the same became a priority. In the face of Craig's continued reluctance to remain, the rumoured sums of money are eye watering: a fee of nearly £50 million (€55 million) for Spectre, and almost £120m (€132 million) for this new film and – possibly – another one.

Craig's overt resentment at the prospect of continuing the role may have merely been a bargaining chip, but it's likely something more.

The Irish Times

by Andrew Pulver