The James Bond franchise offered Daniel Craig £68 million for doing two more James Bond films, and he has TURNED THEM DOWN.
No doubt Mr. Craig has perfectly good reasons for doing so – perhaps the £100 million he put in his bank account from the previous four Bond films. That would be a perfectly good reason. Another would be the fear of being typecast. For that kind of money I would be happy to play James Bond until they had to wheel me on to the set in one of Q’s ingenious contraptions that also feeds you intravenously and fires guiding missiles through the handlebars.
Not that I’m likely to be asked now. For one thing, I am even longer in the tooth than Roger Moore was when he made his last Bond appearance in, I think, A View to a Kill. I thought it was a very poor movie to start with, but Moore having obvious trouble just raising an eyebrow it was even more painful to watch.
Anyway, in truth, I am well past being up for the stunts. Sometimes I can still be seen leaping off Undergound trains, but that is because some fool has designed the thing to leave a big gap between the train and the platform. The train company warns us about it with an almost evangelical zeal. ‘MIND THE GAP’, a voice intones gravely every time the train pulls into a station, much to the imperishable delight of Americans and tourists. I think there are ‘MIND THE GAP’ t-shirts.
Even the bloke who made the ‘MIND THE GAP’ recording finally came to the end of his career. A couple of weeks ago I read that he had died. What the Undergound will do now is a question on everyone’s lips, though I imagine that, perhaps knowing the end was nigh, he made a number of recordings to hold in reserve.
For years, by the way, I had mistakenly thought that it was a computer did the intoning for ‘MIND THE GAP’ recordings. But no, it was done by a real person, I think some regularly unemployed actor. I bet Transport for London didn’t offer him £68 million, not even for a lifetime of saying ‘MIND THE GAP’. Not even if he threw in a lifetime of ‘PLEASE KEEP YOUR PERSONAL BELONGINGS WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES’.
I have often wondered, by the way, what that means. Speaking for myself, I’ve always made a point of keeping my personal belongs with me at all times, and in all places, but apparently there are people who leave them scattered all over the shop – a suitcase here, a shopping bag there, a bunch of flowers somewhere else. Why someone would do that I have never been able to work out. Any more than I can work out why Mr. Craig is turning down £68 million for making a couple of films. But there we are: different strokes for different folks, as they say.
Who the new James Bond will be has not yet been announced, but there is a hot front-runner. His name is Tom Hiddleston, or Trevor Huddleston, or something like that. No, not Trevor Huddleston. Trevor, if memory serves, was a human rights campaigner in South Africa some years ago, at a time when campaigning for human rights was the kind of practice that could result in the kind of mysterious deaths or disappearances at the hands of the agents of Apartheid with which agents of SMERSH and SPECTRE used to reserve for British agents. Not, of course, to James Bond. Any man who is worth £68 million for a pair of outings is not going to be so easily bumped off.
Mr Hiddleston, or Meddlesome, or whatever his name is, strikes me as an excellent candidate, judging by his recent appearance in a television series called The Night Manager, in which he played, with the right combination of insouciance and smoulder, a British agent assigned to bringing down a nasty and ruthless arms-smuggler. (The villain was beautifully played by Hugh Lawrie, incidentally, a Bond protagonist in the making if there ever was one.)
Whoever the new Bond is, he follows a hard act. Mr Craig, for all his brutish energy, brought an edgy sensitivity to the role that his predecessors lacked. Widdecombe/Huddersfield, or whatever his bloody name is, will have to come up with a new shtick. How about a Bond who spends much of his time, between leaping across the gap between trains and platform edges, leaving his personal belongings all over the world?
Anyway, good luck with your retirement, Mr. Craig, and I hope you find some new celluloid properties that will keep you in the manner that the previous four Bond films allowed you to enjoy.
Somehow, I doubt that you will.