Daniel Craig: Had to do lot of practice with guns
Best known for being the new, gritty James Bond, Daniel Craig is a 43-year-old English actor with a highly varied filmography. He's been in both literary adaptations and big-budget films but with this Friday's release Cowboys & Aliens, he takes his first steps into Western territory.
In this e-mail interview with Raja Sen, Craig talks about how good he is with guns, his luminous Oscar-winning wife Rachel Weisz, and just what he was tempted to do with Harrison Ford on the C&A set. Excerpts:
First things first, Mr Craig, it's not listed on your Wikipedia page but I was watching an old episode of Drop The Dead Donkey the other day and I remain convinced that you played a two-bit hood. Is that true or was I just having a Layer Cake hangover?
I think it was a hangover ;)
(The wink says it all. While Wikipedia might not list it, Craig did indeed appear on British sitcom DTDD and Craig's iMDB page lists it. His name on the show was Fixx. So there.)
Image: Daniel Craig
'I watched a lot of westerns before shooting for this film'
Now, about C&A. What's this Jake Lonergan fellow really like as a character?
Jake is a stranger who wakes up in the middle of the desert with no memory, and a fancy bracelet on. And it's brilliant what the writers did, because the part was always very sort of enigmatic and so any dialogue we felt we didn't need we just cut out.
Because it's all about a character that doesn't have to explain what he's doing, he just does it.
Are you personally a fan of the Western? What are the characters in classic Westerns that really left an impact on you? And which of them influenced your version of a new gunslinger, albeit one shooting at decidedly unconventional foes?
I like watching Westerns. I watched so many before we did this, we all watched as many as we could. But I grew up with the Sergio Leone Westerns and then I remember some of the political ones from the 1960s and 1970s like Little Big Man (1970, directed by Arthur Penn), which is probably my favourite Western.
I know films like The Searchers with John Wayne and the John Ford directed movies are great, but they weren't my first touching point with Westerns. For me, it was the Clint Eastwood Westerns, like Fistful of Dollars and The Outlaw Josey Wales, the kind of dirty Westerns where they look like they don't wash (laughs). I love those films. And I've always wanted to play a cowboy. It's a fantastic genre.
Image: Daniel Craig
Photographs: Reuters/Michaela Rehle
'Everything about Rachel is fascinating for me'
Your next release after this film is Dream House, where you play husband to the lovely Rachel Weisz, whom you married last month. With the role obviously not that much of a stretch, was it fun working with her for the first time? And, as an actress, what do you find the most fascinating about her?
She is a brilliant actress and a lovely person. It was a great journey working with her and shooting for Dream House will definitely go down as one of the best memories.
Everything about her is fascinating for me.
You're James Bond, and now you're a cowboy. Is Daniel Craig himself good with guns?
I had to do a lot of practice with the guns. There was a guy that came and worked with us in New Mexico. And I just took a gun and a belt home with me and I was literally practicing when I was watching TV, when I was eating, everything.
Image: Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz
'I was tempted to slip a whip in Harrison Ford's hands'
Weren't you tempted to slip a fedora onto Harrison Ford's head just, well, because?
Not a Fedora but I was just too tempted to slip a whip in to his hands and see Indiana Jones standing in front of me.
You have four movies coming up this year: Cowboys & Aliens, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Dream House and Tintin. As an actor, which of these projects was the most challenging?
I think all these movies have their own challenges and well yeah, I took them all.
Image: Daniel Craig
Photographs: Reuters/Toru Hanai