Daniel Craig was in no mood for false promises.
Having wrapped production on the 24th James Bond installment Spectre in early July, just days before an interview with EW, the British actor was facing a question that has dominated the celebrity news cycle for the last few months. And as a reluctant self-promoter under the most optimum circumstances, he seemed none too enthusiastic about answering it.
Post-Spectre, Craig is contractually obligated to appear as 007 in just one more film. As bookmakers and industry observers feverishly handicap the actor’s replacement — Damian Lewis? Idris Elba? Tom Hardy? — I had to ask: How much longer can we reasonably expect him to play Bond?
“I can’t give you an honest answer at this point,” Craig said, reaching for a double espresso in an opulent London hotel suite. “It’s not that I’m trying to play hard to get. I’ve just given it no thought whatsoever.”
“This movie has taken up two years of my life. And I just need a break,” Craig continued. “I need to get back to normal life. I need to reintroduce myself to my family who are not best pleased with me. The idea of planning ahead — I’m not trying to be coy. People want an answer and I don’t have one.”
Longtime Bond producer Barbara Broccoli stops short of confirming the 47-year-old actor will carry on with the role beyond the as-yet unformulated and untitled next installment. But she calls Craig the “beating heart at the center” of the franchise and praised his ability to lure such high-caliber supporting actors as Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz (the villainous Oberhauser in Spectre) and French actress Léa Seydoux (007’s love interest in the film).
“Daniel has reinvigorated this character,” Broccoli told EW on the set of Spectre at London’s Pinewood Studios in May. “He’s made it contemporary, given it depth and resonance and humanity. The part is his. He’s so great and attracts so many people who want to work with him like Christoph and Lea, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw.”
Look out for EW’s Spectre cover story later this month.