It seems feigning that the film industry’s biggest secret — who would replace Pierce Brosnan as 007 — was broken one day early by Daniel Craig’s delighted mother. Her name is Blond — Carol Blond. And it follows that the newly anointed Craig will be the first blond actor to play Ian Fleming’s dark-haired sadist.
Craig is not an obvious choice. Although possessed of a smouldering screen presence and piercing blue eyes, his nickname “Mr Potato Head” suggests that he lacks the clean good looks of his five predecessors as James Bond — Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Brosnan.
Indeed, some think he is not the real goods. Bookmakers are already taking bets that, like Lazenby, he will not survive the first movie.
His comprehensive school background and Liverpool roots highlighted by the tabloids are irrelevant: few of the 007 acting dynasty shared the privileged upbringing sketched by Fleming for his hero. Similarly a well-chronicled fondness for beer and four-letter words do not count against him. But his self-confessed “craggy” face and scrubby complexion might have been a worry for the Bond producers before they awarded him a Ј15m three-film contract.
Craig voiced two reservations about stepping into Bond’s tuxedo: would the role stunt his acting ambitions and could he act as well as Connery? Both concerns seem ill-founded.
Having come to prominence in the BBC series Our Friends in the North and achieved star status by teaming up with Paul Newman and Tom Hanks in Road to Perdition, Craig is in great demand on film and stage. At 37 he has a more bankable reputation than the 32-year-old Connery when the latter inaugurated the Bond series in 1962. Perhaps he was really fretting about his looks, reports Times Online.
According to Daily Mail, Craig had obviously decided against playing up to the part as he arrived at the press conference on the HMS President at St Katharine's Dock in East London.
The producers may have been hoping for a dashing entrance as he zipped up on a Royal Marines speedboat.
But Craig's suit looked more banker than spy.
Add to that his carefully-fitted lifejacket and the way he clung for dear life to the rail, and Bond he wasn't.
In fact, he admitted the experience had 'scared the s*** out of me'.
Craig, who is being paid Ј2million for his first movie - a fraction of his predecessors' paycheques - sighed in relief when the questions were over.
Photo: Reuters P.T.