Movies [in theaters] are back! That's if No Time to Die has anything to say about it. The latest James Bond film is the end of an era for Daniel Craig.
Ahead of the film's release, Shadow and Act spoke with stars Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Jeffrey Wright and Billy Magnussen, as well as director Cary Joji Fukunaga.
Talking about how the role of Bond has impacted him and vice versa, Craig told us, "So many things changed me completely and most of it's just positive. I've had incredible experiences and what was just the most extraordinary people over the years and…I could never have guessed that in my life that I would get a chance to do that."
Still, being a "big movies" kind of guy, it was always Craig's intention to add as much nuance as he could for his era of Bond.
"All I tried to do when I started was I just said, 'Oh, I've got to make this my own. I've got to try and make it about something I understand and about what I see this character,'" he said. "I want it to make it as complicated and as interesting as possible. I love big movies. [I'm] the first person front row, popcorn, big drink, but I want to be touched. I want to be touched by that movie. I want to be moved. I'll happily cry and laugh and do all of the things and what I've ever wanted to do with these movies is try and get a little bit of reality into it and just affect people and that's what we tried to do with this movie and I think we've succeeded. I hope we have."
The new Bond film is definitely a sign that the industry is ready to have people in theaters. As delays plagued the film the past year, the fact that it is finally out means something. For Fukunaga, it's still a weird feeling.
He recalled, "I remember when I got the call that we're pushing and feeling, well, that seems the right choice. We were about to go on this crazy tour in Europe. And I was [thinking], 'Are we really doing this?' All these countries are starting to shut down and I go, 'Now you're going around the world'...as much as I love the tour, you know what I mean? And with each successive one [delay], you're like, 'Oh man, pushing it down, but I guess it's the right choice. It's the right choice.' We got to do that, not only for the safety of everyone involved but to give the film its best shot at being seen."
Ultimately, he realized that the current date was not a false start. "When we decided to stick with this one, it was, 'OK, I guess it's really happening,'" he said. "I mean, how do you believe it's happening? And we're going to see. So I think now that people are starting to show up [and] we're starting to get some numbers in about the audiences...it's a major relief that people feel good and safe and ready to go back to cinemas and are excited to go back to cinemas and I just feel enormously lucky to be a part of that."
For the director, No Time to Die was an opportunity to show how much James Bond has changed as a character while still finding ways to be relevant to the current times.
"I think it's probably a mixture of the time since the last Bond [and] the nature of writing a story that ultimately has a bit of your DNA in it and how that changes things," said Fukanaga regarding the film's relevance. "The amazing thing about Bond films is that, they do reflect the times they're made in and therefore [Bond's] changed a lot since the last 60 years. I don't know if I set out to do anything on a purposeful level different from before. I just knew it would be different by the nature of being a new chapter. I really wanted it to feel like it was a part of the best of Daniel Craig's run and really from Casino [Royale] to Skyfall to here, I feel you have a complete true interconnected arc that concludes in a way that everyone walks away [thinking] 'That was a great run.'"
Fukunaga credits Bond producer Barbara Brocolli with the increased female focus of the film.
I'm just there to help service it," he added. "Phoebe [Waller-Bridge] is an incredible writer with an intelligence and wit that brought more layers to all the characters, not just the female characters. So you have a lot of talented people helping the family pushed the vision forward."
Check out the full interviews below featuring Fukunaga, Craig, Seydoux, Lynch, Wright and Billy Magnussen, as well as director Cary Joji Fukunaga.