James Bond 25 chaos as Daniel Craig is given creative control amid fears he wants spy to be PC


FEAR was etched all over his face.

Sitting three seats away from Daniel Craig inside a makeshift studio in Jamaica, director Cary Fukunaga had the look of one of 007’s victims staring down the barrel of the superspy’s Walther PPK.

Daniel Craig and nervous looking Bond director Cary Fukunaga
Daniel Craig and nervous looking Bond director Cary Fukunaga at the Bond 25 launch

For the US filmmaker, 41, knows he’s not going to be the one calling the shots in the new Bond 25 movie.

Indeed, the real man in charge is the blue-eyed star, who three-and-a-half years ago said he’d rather “slash his wrists” than play 007 again.

Bond head honcho Barbara Broccoli, 58, and makers E-on Productions were desperate for Craig to make a U-turn.

So they handed him a £18.4million pay cheque and complete creative control, meaning he has a say on casting, scripts, locations, costumes, technical team — and even the role of director.

Daniel Craig was handed the keys to the movie to return
Kobal Collection – Rex Features

And the unprecedented move has sparked concern within the Bond camp, with many departments anticipating clashes and meddling by a man who has form for rows and stern words on set.

A Bond insider said: “The move has got people’s backs up. Some are expecting constant arguments, as whatever Craig wants, he gets.”

The tension surrounding the film is a far cry from the acclaim Craig garnered for rebooting the franchise with Casino Royale in 2006.

He then went on to star in 2012’s Skyfall — the most ­successful Bond movie ever and briefly the UK’s highest- grossing film.

Daniel Craig in trainers at the Bond 25 launch with co-stars Lya Seydoux, Ana de Armas, Naomie Harris and Lashana Lynch
Daniel Craig in trainers at the Bond 25 launch with co-stars Lya Seydoux, Ana de Armas, Naomie Harris and Lashana Lynch
Getty Images – Getty

Craig’s current grip on the 007 franchise isn’t the only reason why Bond 25 is heading into crisis mode, with Broccoli admitting Bond “needs to change” in the #MeToo era, but she struggled to explain exactly how.

And huge cracks were screened to the world during Thursday’s official launch when Broccoli and producer Michael G. Wilson, 77, confirmed they still haven’t come up with a title.

Moreover, there is no script — and new Bond girl Ana de Armas indicated she is yet to discuss her role with director Fukunaga.

New Bond girl Ana De Armas

James Bond was once the daddy of film franchises. Now it is in danger of becoming the wrinkly old grandad — with upstart rival Marvel set to bank a record £694million from the opening WEEKEND of Avengers: Endgame.

An insider said: “Bond 25 is chronically underprepared, rudderless and lacking a boss to make any sort of decisions.

“And this for a movie which is potentially make or break for the whole franchise.”

The concern over Craig becoming so involved, particularly in the script, is borne from Quantum Of Solace.

There are fears that Daniel Craig lacks the expertise to direct a successful Bond film
Kobal Collection – Rex Features

Due to a writer’s strike he tried to have humour added to the script and wanted to give a nod to environmental issues.

But critics panned the movie which is now regarded as the worst of his four Bond films.

Speaking in 2011, the year the film was released, he said: “We had the bare bones of a script and then there was a writers’ strike. There was nothing we could do.

“There was me trying to rewrite scenes — and a writer I am not.”

His determination to give the next 007 a sense of humour saw him chase the signing of Fleabag writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, as confirmed by Broccoli at the launch.

She said: “It was Daniel’s idea. We all leapt to it — we loved her.

“She has made a great contribution to it.”

Danny Boyle left his role after clashing with Craig

Craig has already clashed with one director over Bond 25’s plot.

British filmmaker Danny Boyle, 62, was axed last August after failing to agree on a storyline in which he intended to “kill off” Bond.

Both Craig and Broccoli were firmly against the idea.

They also feared his intention to include a Russian villain would alienate fans and dent the film’s chances of matching the success of Skyfall, which made £858million.

Explaining Boyle’s departure, Broccoli said: “We wanted to make different types of movies. We parted ways very amicably.”

Backing Craig, she added: “He’s been very instrumental in all these major decisions.”

Ana De Armas at the Bond 25 launch
Getty Images – Getty

But the choice to involve Craig weakens the role of Fukunaga, who comes highly rated following his achievements on HBO series True Detective.

Yet unlike Boyle, Fukunaga showed early signs of being intimidated by Craig during this week’s event. Without even being prompted, he gushed that Craig was his “favourite Bond”.

The actor’s reaction was magnified when host and Radio One DJ Clara Amfo, 34, handed him another microphone just to record his brief reply.

Embarrassed Daniel said: “Really, er, thank you.”

Being dictated to by Craig isn’t the only worry for Fukunaga and his team of writers.

Since the last 007 film Spectre was released in 2015, the movie landscape has changed significantly thanks to the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements that have come to the fore in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

There were signs of a change in tack in the Bond launch when host Amfo referred to Dr. No pin-up Ursula Andress as “Bond actress”.

When asked if “Bond girl” was no longer PC, Broccoli said: “Some women like to be called Bond women, some don’t mind to be called Bond girls. But they are all very accomplished.”

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is one of the Bond 25 writers
PA:Press Association

Compared to 007s played by Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore and Sean Connery, Craig’s Bond is less of a lothario.

But he slept with a former child prostitute in Skyfall and a widow the night after the funeral of the husband he killed in Spectre.

Feminists will now be heavily scrutinising how Bond treats Cuban-Spanish actress de Armas.

And after classic Bond character Blofeld featured in Spectre, fans will want another brilliant bad guy.

So the pressure is on for new villain Rami Malek.

Despite winning an Oscar for Bohemian Rhapsody, he is seen by some as an unknown quantity.

Rami Malek is viewed as a risky choice as Bond villain

Bond 25 was scheduled for release in October 2019 but was heavily delayed in order to seal Craig’s signature.

It is now scheduled for “early next year”. Craig’s insurance took extra time to sort out too, because of injuries he ­sustained filming Spectre.

Adding to the delays, the actor wanted time to help wife Rachel Weisz, 49, through pregnancy and the birth of their daughter in September last year, while also fulfilling other film commitments.

Craig has become increasingly vocal about spending time with his family.

Speaking after wrapping Spectre in 2015 — which involved trips to Mexico, Austria and Italy — he said: “I want to get home. I have been away for eight months.

“That’s the biggest strain on a film like this. Everybody is away from their families.

“I want to spend some time with them.”

Daniel Craig is putting his family first
Kobal Collection – Rex Features

Despite Craig not being present, early filming has encountered a number of disruptions.

Bosses had planned to shoot a baddie chasing a woman across a frozen lake in Norway but the ice thawed, resulting in the scene being scrapped.

And green protesters hit out at producers for destroying forests while making explosion scenes.

The shambolic preparation was made complete by the launch event for the media at Bond creator Ian ­Fleming’s Jamaica estate.

The cast appeared jet-lagged and void of enthusiasm. Craig even turned up in a pair of old trainers and a baggy blue suit.

What on earth would ­vintage Bond have made of that?


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