Review: Being James Bond (2021)

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Being James Bond (2021)

Directed by: Baillie Walsh | 46 minutes | documentary | Starring: Daniel Craig, Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli, Martin Campbell, Sam Mendes, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Marc Foster, Judi Dench, Eva Green, Javier Bardem, Hugh Jackman, Ben Whishaw, Javier Bardem, Rachel Weisz, Mads Mikkelsen, Bérénice Marlohe, Léa Seydoux, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, Harrison Ford, Monica Bellucci, Gemma Arterton

At the time of writing, it is not yet known who will be Daniel Craig’s successor, so for now we can still say: Daniel Craig is James Bond. Portraying the role of legendary secret agent has had an immense impact on the British actor’s life and career, as it has for his predecessors. When he was announced as the 006th screen Bond in 2005, the paparazzi were lurking, a bunch of bloggers wrote off their dismay at the first blonde Bond on craignotbond dot com and the bar for proving himself seemed set higher than his predecessors. . In ‘Being James Bond’, a 45-minute documentary that was added as an extra to the 4K UHD release of ‘No Time To Die’ (and can also be found on the internet) we get a clear picture of what the ‘Yes, I want’ by Craig to producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson ultimately meant to him, the movies and the fans.

Director Baillie Walsh had access to unique, previously unseen archive footage of all of the Bond films starring Craig and, of course, gets to speak to the actor himself (he can be heard as a voiceover). Craig may come across as a closed book in the films, but he is open about his experiences. For example, he tells what the negative reactions to the announcement that he is the new James Bond did to him and you can’t help but dislike people who have made their judgment, without the actor having shown anything. No sooner had a scene been shot than the press reported that he was the worst Bond ever. Of course, Broccoli and Wilson had known for a long time what a golden move it was to offer Craig the part and boy were they right.

But of course, being a James Bond means much more than positive or negative attention. There is also work to be done. ‘Being James Bond’ also addresses the many physical challenges Daniel Craig endured for his role. His injuries didn’t stop him from continuing, which was especially difficult during ‘Spectre’ – when he actually needed surgery for his broken leg, but postponed it to be able to continue filming.

Many behind-the-scenes films or ‘making ofs’ are only positive about the production process and the finished product, but ‘Being James Bond’ is honest: the makers admit that ‘Quantum of Solace’ has not become the film they want. had in mind. Because the screenplay was not yet finished and filming was already underway, the focus was not on Bond’s development. It’s refreshing to see that they are so outspoken about this and it really only earns more respect for the makers.

Throughout the five films, 007 is surrounded by permanent and changing actors, but the core has remained: it is a family. That much becomes clear in ‘Being James Bond’, the emotions sometimes run high on the set, such as with the last recording of Judi Dench. Even when the last scene of ‘No Time to Die’ is shot, it is of course a moment to reflect on and a visibly upset Craig addresses the cast and crew. Goosebumps. ‘Being James Bond’ is a must-see for Bond fans and people interested in the process of filmmaking and the influence of (gossip) journalism on it.

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