That Time Daniel Craig Drunkenly Offered A Director A James Bond Movie At Hugh Jackman’s Christmas Party

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As the true shot-callers of the James Bond franchise, the decision-making buck is supposed to stop with franchise producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. Pretty much any component you could think of falls under their purview, with nothing escaping their final seal of approval. Even outgoing 007 Daniel Craig knows this, but that didn’t stop him from making an offer to an old friend at Hugh Jackman’s Christmas party. The problem was, the negotiated prize was the director’s chair to 2012’s Skyfall

Speaking with THR’s Awards Chatter podcast, Mr. Craig broke out some rather exciting stories about his time in the tuxedo. With his No Time To Die journey marking the end of his days as England’s greatest defender, now’s the time to spill all the beans that he can in the name of candor and entertainment. Which led to this amusing anecdote about how Sam Mendes was offered his eventual post in the franchise: 

I was definitely a little drunk and Sam turned up late. He just turned up and I hadn’t seen him for years, I hadn’t seen him since Road To Perdition… We sat down and were having a drink together and it just dawned on me, it was just like one of those… Because we’d been having conversations about directors… and it just became glaringly obvious to me, sitting opposite him. I was looking at him going, ‘Of course.’… And I just basically went, ‘I’m probably not supposed to say this, but do you want to direct the next Bond movie?’

Knowing the result of this Skyfall story, as well as the fact that it leads to Sam Mendes also reprising his duties on 2015’s Spectre, doesn’t kill this story’s appeal. Thinking about the historical context of this meeting, with Daniel Craig on two completed 007 adventures at this point, this was probably the best and worst time to make such a move. Looking at where this drunken encounter led in the long run, this is probably the most brazen franchise decision made under the influence. At least, it was until Tom Holland saved the Spider-Man franchise under similar circumstances. 

Skyfall became the most successful James Bond movie ever, and some even argue it’s the best in the Daniel Craig era of the series. Working with classic hallmarks and modern twists, Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig delivered a $1.1 billion hit, just in time for the 50th anniversary celebration that took place in its year of release. Now strip away all of that foreknowledge and read the rest of the story about what happened after Craig offered the gig to Mr. Mendes: 

And he just did this thing, he kinda just looked at me [and squinted] and said, ‘Yes.’ And I went, ‘Okay’, and I went, ‘I’m in shit now.’ I’m sure there is somebody I have to talk to about that before I go offering directors jobs. It’s not my responsibility, but I was drunk! What can you say?

While everything turned out for the best and history was made for the better, just imagine the fear that may have run through Daniel Craig’s mind at that moment. Sure, he had all of the faith in the world from Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson from the word go, but that doesn’t mean he had carte blanche privileges. One could imagine the follow-up conversation was over coffee, as well as some serious words involving pitching at any further holiday get-togethers. 

The history of Daniel Craig’s time as James Bond is about to become even more defined, with every new story showing the world just how the process truly did work in this unprecedented era of Bond films. Maybe this means we’ll even get the full story on how Danny Boyle’s scrapped Bond 25 concept caused the ultimate rift that saw his departure. In the meantime, maybe someone should sit Tom Holland down with a couple of drinks and let him try to pitch his way into the world of 007 again. It’s a new year, and there is a job vacancy open in the fictional representation of MI6.

No Time To Die is available in all of its splendor, with options to rent or purchase the 25th James Bond film on physical and digital media. Those of you looking to revisit Skyfall at the time of this writing can do so with a subscription to either Hulu or Paramount+. For a full rundown of what this cinematic year has to offer, turn your attention to the 2022 release schedule, and happy hunting! 

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