Throughout his early career, Daniel Craig enjoyed the anonymity that comes with not being an A-list actor. That changed, however, when it was announced that he was considered for the role of James Bond, replacing Pierce Brosnan in the adaptation of Ian Flemings’ Casino Royale.
Born in Chester, Daniel Craig moved to London at the age of 16 to train at the National Youth Theatre and later graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 1992, Craig made his film debut in the coming-of-age drama, The Power of One, wherein he played an Afrikaner soldier who beats and humiliates a white South African boxer (Stephen Dorff) trained by a black man (Morgan Freeman).
Through the eighties, he played roles in several second-tier movies, the best known of which were Moll Flanders (1996) and Elizabeth (1998), the historical biopic starring an Oscar-snubbed Cate Blanchett as the Virgin Queen.
Craig then made the jump to larger Hollywood fare, appearing as old flame and fellow tomb raider Alex West in the live-action take on the popular video game, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). In Road to Perdition (2002), he was the angry son of an Irish mobster (Paul Newman) who treats one of his hit men (Tom Hanks) like the son he never had. He next played poet Ted Hughes, the husband of feminist icon Sylvia Plath (Gwyneth Paltrow), who committed suicide after he left their deteriorated marriage, in the uneven biopic, Sylvia (2003).
Meanwhile, the Bond rumors began to swirl amidst the pending release of Layer Cake (2005), a crime comedy from Matthew Vaughn, producer of Snatch (2001) and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1999). Craig played a cocaine dealer seeking early retirement who’s forced by a crime boss to find the missing daughter of an old pal.
Meanwhile, Craig was cast by Steven Spielberg to star in Munich (2005), the true story of the killing of Israeli athletes by Palestinian freedom fighters at the 1972 Olympics and the secret Mossad mission to exact revenge, delivering a razor-edged performance as the one member of the team who whole-heartedly embraces the righteousness of their mission. Just prior to the release of that film, after months of speculation, Craig was officially revealed as the next James Bond in October 2005, becoming only the second British actor to play the role and the first blond, for the film Casino Royale.
Date and Place of Birth: 2 March, 1968; Chester, England
Height: 179cm (5' 10")
Claim to fame: As Connor Rooney in Road to Perdition (2002) and as James Bond
Quotations: "I go through life thinking it's all going to end tomorrow."
[On the backlash from Bond fans]: "I didn't expect this backlash. You take it in, you can't help it. I've been trying to give 110 per cent since the beginning but after all the fuss, maybe I started giving 115 per cent."
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