The worst-kept secret in Hollywood has now been confirmed: actor Daniel Craig is the new Bond. James Bond. The 37-year-old Craig takes over the billion-dollar Bond franchise from 52-year-old Pierce Brosnan, who found himself shuffled out of the job earlier this year.
Craig was introduced to the world Friday in typically flamboyant 007 style, swept up the River Thames on a power launch to a news conference, escorted by Royal Marines boats.
Dressed in a blue suit and red tie, Craig posed for photos in the shadow of Tower Bridge, telling reporters: "I'm kind of speechless."
Sony Pictures had plans to keep the identity of their newest Bond a secret, but as The Hollywood Reporter's Michael Rechtshaffen told Canada AM, the mystery began to unravel earlier this week.
"This was supposed to be this big splashy 'Guess who we've brought in to replace Pierce Brosnan?'" he said. "But we've known about this for like, at least a week.
"His own mom, Daniel Craig's mom, was talking to a Liverpool newspaper two days ago saying, 'Oh, we're thrilled to bits about the news'."
Craig will star in next year's Casino Royale, the 21st Bond film, which begins shooting in January.
Rechtshaffen says the film's producers are looking to update the Bond franchise, bringing a bit more complexity to the character and returning him to his younger roots.
Other dashing actors who had reportedly been considered for the role included: Clive Owen, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant, Gerard Butler, Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman, and Eric Bana.
"I think Craig is perfect for the direction they're planning to go now for the next Bond movie," Rechtshaffen beleives.
"He's a moodier Bond than what we've seen before. I mean, if you've seen him in Layer Cake, which was I think was the role that clinched it, he was in Sylvia opposite Gwyneth Paltrow and then played Paul Newman's son in The Road to Perdition, he's bringing this kind of darker edge. That's where they're going now."
The film will be based on Ian Fleming's first-ever Bond novel, Casino Royale, published in 1953, which featured none of the trademark Bond gadgets, nor the MI6 gadget-maker, Q.
In the novel, Bond is on a mission to neutralize a high-rolling Russian operative, Le Chiffre, by ruining him at the baccarat table and forcing his Soviet spymasters to "retire" him.
It was previously filmed as a 1967 spoof starring Peter Sellers.
But in the new, modernized film, Bond will reportedly be playing the game of choice in any casino these days -- no-limit Texas Hold 'Em poker.
There will also be a bit of a Canadian twist to the new Bond film.
Canadian-born screenwriter and director Paul Haggis, who got his start writing TV drama scripts, then was nominated for an Oscar for his adapted screenplay for Million Dollar Baby, and recently directed the successful ensemble piece, Crash, will write the new Bond screenplay.
New Zealand-born Martin Campbell is set to direct.
Campbell said the movie would be "tougher and grittier'' than previous films. "It is really the arc in which he becomes Bond,'' Campbell said. "He starts out just having earned his double-0 stripes and comes out at the end the Bond we know and love.'' "A lot of the embryonic Bond things will come out in the film: how he gets the Aston Martin, how he mixes a martini.''
Though the Bond franchise began more than 40 years ago with Dr. No, only five actors have played the British spy: Sean Connery and Roger Moore, who were the most well-loved mainstays; Brosnan, who appeared in four Bond films; George Lazenby, who appeared in just one Bond film; and Timothy Dalton, who appeared in two.
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