Daniel Craig Explains Why He Left James Bond Role: ‘Don’t Want to Do This Anymore’

“If we kill Bond, we can begin again,” Daniel Craig said about finishing his run as 007 in No Time to Die

Daniel Craig and James Bond franchise producer Barbara Broccoli set a timeline for ending his run as 007 just days after 2006’s Casino Royale premiered.

“I was driving away from the Berlin premiere of Casino Royale with Barbara Broccoli,” Craig, 54, told the U.K.’s The Times in a new interview published Sunday. “I had genuinely thought I would do one Bond movie, then it would be over. But by then we knew we had a hit on our hands.”

“I realized the enormity of it, so I said to Barbara, ‘How many more? Three? Four?’ She said, ‘Four!’ ” Craig added. “I said, ‘OK. Then can I kill him off?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ ”

Craig, who finished playing the character with 2021’s No Time to Die, told the outlet that the decision to make the film his final turn as Bond was simple.

“I said, ‘This is it. I don’t want to do any more,’ ” he said.

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“Real tragedy is when you have absolutely no choice,” Craig, who confirmed as far back as November 2019 that No Time to Die would be his last Bond film, told The Times. “We had to find a way to make his death no choice. It was the happiest Bond had ever been because he’d found exactly what he was looking for. Like everyone on Earth, he was just looking for love.”

“If we kill Bond, we can begin again,” the actor said of the effect killing off the character would have. “I think Barbara thought that too. But, bless them, the studio, MGM, were, like, ‘What are you talking about? Are you out of your minds?’ ”

“There was reluctance,” he added. “So we had to do it in secret, really.”

The actor, who now stars as detective Benoit Blanc in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, recalled that he “came in guns blazing and everyone got angry” when he was originally cast as 007 for Casino Royale.

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“‘His ears stick out! He’s blond! Blue eyes!’ ” Craig said of criticism of his casting at the time. “I’m hardly the tall, dark stranger Fleming wrote, but I thought, ‘We have to make it new.’ We can’t just go, ‘Here, audience, here’s the same old stuff we always did.’ ”

While Craig noted to The Times that his line of thought “sounds massively arrogant,” he called his approach to the role “a creative disruption.”

“I felt Bond was big and tough enough to take just about anything,” he told the outlet. “If I’d ended up doing more [Bond], I really would have pushed it.”

“But Bond can take it! It is not fragile. It’s robust,” Craig added. “Sean Connery personified that character in a way that will never go away, so I thought, ‘What do I do to it?’”