‘It’s changed my life’: Daniel Craig on being James Bond for the last time

18 months after its original release date, Daniel Craig's final outing as James Bond is finally getting its big screen release, reports ITV News Arts Editor Nina Nannar

The date avid 007 fans have been waiting for is almost here. After several delays due to the Covid pandemic, the newest installment of the James Bond films, No Time To Die, is being released in cinemas next week following its world premiere in London on September 28.

But while this may bring excitement, it’s also bittersweet for many as it will be actor Daniel Craig’s final outing as the sharply-dressed, enigmatic spy.

Craig is the sixth actor to play James Bond in the Eon Production series, and while everyone has their favourite Bond, his portrayals of the character spanning over 16 years reinvented and reshaped the role.

In full: Nina Nannar sits down with Daniel Craig and film producer Barbara Broccoli

Speaking to ITV News, Craig said James Bond had also done a lot for him.

“It’s changed my life”, he said.

“I knew it would, but who could imagine the way it’s sort of, you know, what it's done for me … the only thing I always say … it's given me the chance to work with some of the best people in the industry.

Actor Daniel Craig on what the film has meant for him

“Barbara (Broccoli, producer) and Michael (G. Wilson, screenwriter) have given me this opportunity and responsibility to take this on and, you know, I'll be forever grateful for that opportunity, but the work is what I've always loved most," he added.

"And that's what I'm going to miss most about this."

No Time to Die, the 25th installment in the long-running James Bond series, and the fifth starring Daniel Craig, was originally due to be released in early 2020, but was delayed several times due to the Covid pandemic which saw cinemas worldwide close their doors.

'We've been so careful about keeping it under wraps'

While the delays caused some disappointment, Craig said it was the right thing to do given the circumstances.

“Everything had to be put into perspective. I mean, it was just like the world has gone crazy and, you know, we locked it (the film) away.

“We've been so careful about keeping it under wraps and we waited … this is a Bond movie, it's meant to be seen in the cinema”, he said.

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Also speaking to ITV News, film producer Barbara Broccoli who oversees the franchise, said the film has “been worth waiting for” and hoped audiences would celebrate it and “celebrate the return to the cinema”.

Despite the delays in its final release, the film has been kept behind a very secret lock and key to avoid leaking the plot or any spoilers before the much-anticipated world premiere.

Even days away from the release, Craig and Broccoli remained tight-lipped about what to expect from the film.

Film producer Barbara Broccoli said viewers can expect something really massive in the film

Asked if something really massive happens, Broccoli said “of course”, “lots happens in this movie”.

Keen not to give anything away, Craig added, “you won’t guess what it is”.

Broccoli said: “It’s a celebration of everything he's done up until now. I mean, the thing that Daniel has done is he's given Bond a really complex, interesting life.

“I don't think you'll be disappointed”, she added.

'It's been a very emotional couple of years'

Asked about her statement “I can’t imagine Bond without Daniel”, Broccoli said it was still true and that she was “in denial” about Craig leaving the role.

But Craig quipped “of course there’s going to be a Bond … James Bond is hopefully eternal. There’s always going to be something”.

“We're in the middle of this and it's been a very emotional couple of years for all sorts of reasons.

"And I think it feels like we just sort of want to get the film out and let's just deal with that. And then, I'll be front row and center when the next one arrives”, he added.

Daniel Craig says he believes a new role "as good as James Bond" should be written for a woman

On the future of the James Bond films, there has been speculation for some time over who would take over from Daniel Craig to be the next 007, and debates circulating online have been around whether Bond should be of a different ethnicity or gender.

Weighing in, Craig explained he had never said the role of James Bond should not be played by a woman, but that “someone should write a role as good as James Bond for a woman”.

While a lot is still uncertain, bookies favourites to take over the role include actors Tom Hardy, James Norton, Bridgerton’s Rege-Jean Page, Idris Elba, Luke Evans and Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden.

And if there were to be a first female 007, Lashana Lynch who played Nomi in the 2015 Bond film Spectre, is a firm favourite.