- Daniel Craig said he panicked when the audience laughed at the opening scene of "Casino Royale" at the 2006 premiere.
- He described the scene in GQ's April cover story, which was published on Monday.
- "I went, 'Oh…,' I was like, 'Oh, f—,'" Craig recalled, adding, "I know why they don't like me. I know why I don't like me. So I know why they don't f—ing like me."
- The crowd's laughs evolved into cheers, but the 52-year-old actor noted that he was acutely aware of the pressure he faced following his James Bond predecessors Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan.
- "All the pressure suddenly was… Because the whole thing of, 'He's not right…' I intellectualized all of it," he said.
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Daniel Craig may hold the longest continuous reign as James Bond in the famous spy franchise, but he wasn't always confident about how fans would receive a blonde-haired newcomer.
In GQ's April cover story, which was published on Monday, the 52-year-old actor admitted that he thought the audience didn't approve of him at the 2006 premiere of his first Bond film, "Casino Royale," which was based on Ian Fleming's first novel in the series.
After Craig's character performed two intensely violent acts in the opening scene, the crowd laughed, which Craig interpreted as a sign of ridicule.
"I went, 'Oh…,' I was like, 'Oh, f—,'" he recalled, adding, "I know why they don't like me. I know why I don't like me. So I know why they don't f—ing like me."
Ultimately, the audience's laughs turned to applause, and he realized that they enjoyed watching him. But in the early days of playing the suave M16 agent, Craig said he couldn't help but grow anxious about the fans' perception of him in comparison to his predecessors: Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan.
"All the pressure suddenly was… Because the whole thing of, 'He's not right…' I intellectualized all of it," Craig explained.
"Casino Royale" ended up being the biggest grossing James Bond film to date, according to GQ. And while Craig's name has become somewhat synonymous with the franchise after his 14-year streak, the actor said that he almost didn't accept the role when it was first offered to him.
He recalled entering the casting office and telling the producers, "I can't do a Sean Connery impression. I can't be Pierce."
When he was offered the role, not everyone thought he fit Fleming's character descriptions, which painted 007 as a man with dark hair. GQ reported that angry fans set up websites such as "blondnotbond.com" and "danielcraigisnotbond.com" in protest of his casting.
Craig said that he remembered calling his mother and asking if she thought he could live up to the task of playing one of the UK's biggest on-screen heroes.
"She was like, 'Of course you can. But I am your mother,'" Craig recalled her saying.
While his fifth Bond film "No Time to Die" will be his last time playing 007 after "Casino Royale," "Quantum of Solace," "Skyfall," and "Spectre," Craig is continuing to make his mark on the series by bringing younger and more diverse talent to the franchise.
For "No Time to Die," he specifically requested that "Fleabag" star Phoebe Waller-Bridge polish the script and write dialogue for some of the characters, making her the second credited female writer in the Bond franchise's 57-year history.
When a reporter from The Sunday Times suggested that the team took on Waller-Bridge in an effort to increase female representation, Craig shut down the notion.
"Look, we're having a conversation about Phoebe's gender here, which is f—ing ridiculous. She's a great writer. Why shouldn't we get Phoebe onto Bond? That's the answer to that," he said.
Craig continued, "She's a f—ing great writer. One of the best English writers around. I said, 'Can we get her on the film?' That's where I came from."
His final film will also make franchise history by featuring the youngest artist ever to sing a Bond film's theme song: 18-year-old Billie Eilish.
During an interview with "BBC Breakfast," Eilish and Finneas O'Connell, her brother and collaborator, spoke about Craig's role in their process.
"He had to like it," O'Connell said, adding, "If Daniel doesn't like it, you don't get the job."
Eilish added, "He's got a big say in it. We learned that from this."
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