Exclusive report from the new James Bond set
His enemies have been hatching plots to destroy him for more than 40 years — slipping tarantulas under his bedsheets, shoving him into shark tanks, aiming lasers at his private parts — but James Bond has never been up against anything quite like this before. Right now, on this bright, breezy afternoon in March, on the Bahamas set of Casino Royale, 007 is facing a force more dastardly and diabolical than SMERSH and SPECTRE combined: bad press.
Since October, when it was announced that Daniel Craig would become the sixth Bond — replacing the reluctantly retiring Pierce Brosnan — the 38-year-old Brit has been dodging potshots from Prague to the Caribbean. His hair is the wrong color (it’s Bond, not Blond, sneer the hardcore). His blue eyes are the wrong shade (some fans want them brown). He’s not the right size (though at 5’11”, Craig is hardly petite). And that’s just what’s being written about the man on sites like craignot bond.com — a Web page launched for the sole purpose of blasting Craig’s casting that goes so far as to call for a Casino Royale boycott. Not since Michael Keaton put on a cowl for the first Batman movie has the hiring of an actor for an action film unleashed such a loopy storm of fan fury.
As for the more traditional news outlets — particularly the papers in 007’s hometown — they haven’t shown better manners. ”The Name’s Bland… James Bland” is how London’s Daily Mirror greeted the new secret agent. From the day Craig got the gig, the tabloids have been snapping at him like the piranhas in Blofeld’s swimming pool — spinning stories such as the one about how a London dentist was supposedly airlifted to Prague after Craig got his front teeth knocked out during a fight scene (”The Name’s Bond…Broke Bond,” cackled the Sunday Mirror). Or the one about the actor not being able to operate the stick shift on Bond’s new Aston Martin (”Craig’s 007 Can’t Get in Gear”). Or that truly scandalous scoop detailing how Craig got sunburned in the Bahamas (”Ow! Ow! 7”). All of which can be awfully frustrating for the people trying to make the movie.
”No, his teeth didn’t get knocked out,” says director Martin Campbell, taking a break from shooting a scene in which Craig, looking tanned and orthodontically undamaged, chases a bomb-toting baddie. ”What happened was that one of his caps came loose while we were filming in Prague. A local dentist came to the set, put a bit of glue on it, and that was that. The whole thing took 10 minutes.”
”That story about the stick shift was ludicrous,” adds Barbara Broccoli, who produces the Bond franchise with half brother Michael G. Wilson. ”Everybody drives a stick in England. You have to be able to in order to get an unrestricted license over there. The tabloids come up with these stupid stories. Almost everything they’ve written about this movie has been wrong.”