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‘I didn’t feel I could do it anymore’: Daniel Craig on why he almost quit Bond before

There are many things Daniel Craig is going to miss about playing James Bond. For one, the strangers at restaurants who send him over free martinis.

That has happened “plenty of times, usually at about 11 o’clock in the morning,” Craig, 53, says with a chuckle. “That’s certainly not the time for me to drink cocktails anymore. It may have been in the past.”

He’s less nostalgic for the cheeky selfie requests from fans who ask him to re-create 007’s iconic gun pose in photos.

“I’m such a grump,” Craig admits. “I’m always as nice as I can be, but I’m not that guy, so I let them do the posing. They get to have the fun.”

Review:’No Time to Die’ ends Daniel Craig’s James Bond run with a stirring if flawed effort
Daniel Craig goes on his last mission as James Bond in the long-anticipated “No Time to Die.”

“No Time to Die” (in theaters Friday) marks Craig’s last ride in the Aston Martin as Bond, a role he has gruffly played for 15 years and five movies. The explosive new adventure, which arrives after more than a year and a half of pandemic delays, finds the world’s most famous spy confronting an elusive bioterrorist named Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), who has a connection to Bond’s love interest, Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux).

That Craig is back at all is somewhat surprising. Promoting his last 007 film, 2015’s “Spectre,” the no-nonsense British actor wasn’t shy about his exhaustion with the role and told Time Out London that he’d rather slash his wrists than continue with the franchise.

More:Why Rami Malek wasn’t afraid to go up against James Bond (and what happened to his face?)

“I’ve always tried to be honest about my feelings,” Craig says now. “When I started doing Bond (in 2006’s ‘Casino Royale’), I threw myself into it and was as physical as I possibly could be. I felt like that was really important – that’s who I wanted my Bond to be. I wanted people to believe it was me doing those stunts. However, after ‘Spectre,’ I genuinely felt like I couldn’t do that anymore. I felt like, ‘What was the point?’ Also, it’s at least a year out of my life away from home. And that is really tough on everybody.”

Craig shares a 3-year-old daughter with his actress wife, Rachel Weisz, both of whom also have children from previous relationships. The action star broke his leg during “Spectre” and then his ankle making “No Time to Die,” among many other injuries, which took a physical and emotional toll.

“That call when I go ‘Hi, I got injured, I’m going to the hospital’ is not a great phone call to make,” Craig says. “I didn’t feel like I could do it anymore.”

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A-list couple Daniel Craig, left, and Rachel Weisz walk the Governors Awards red carpet in 2015.

But after conversations with producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson about how to tie up loose ends for the character, Craig agreed to one last hurrah for his Bond, who was betrayed by former flame Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) in “Casino Royale.”

His heartache “was an incredibly strong emotion that pushed through the next three movies, so I felt it would be good to bring that full circle (in ‘No Time to Die’),” Craig says.

“The love story in ‘Casino’ is the real mirror to this film,” says director Cary Fukunaga. When Bond and Swann get together at the end of “Spectre,” it presents the question, “How does somebody who’s been closed off that long open up (to love) again?”

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