Both Daniel Craig and 007 fans have waited a long time for his final appearance as James Bond. The latest installment, No Time To Die, was originally set to premiere March 2020, before the invisible enemy known as COVID-19 put the movie on hold, but with pandemic restrictions finally being lifted in many places around the world, Bond is back, with the long-awaited blockbuster finally hitting the cinema screens on Sept. 30.
Craig’s stellar turn as Ian Fleming’s iconic British Secret Service agent has garnered critical acclaim, moving the franchise towards a more serious, gritty tone, beginning with Casino Royale in 2006. No Time to Die will be Craig’s fifth and final appearance as Bond, but one aspect of making the movies that he is unlikely to miss is the great physical toll that the series has taken on his body. While making No Time To Die, Craig broke his ankle. This was just another entry on an epic list of ailments. The actor tore the labrum (the connecting cartilage) in his right shoulder during Quantum of Solace and also broke his leg on the set of Skyfall. Speaking on BBC’s Graham Norton Show about his most brutal encounters onscreen the Englishman, now 53, names Dave Bautista’s Mr Hinx as his toughest, leading to a knee injury for Craig, and a broken nose for his adversary.
“That was Dave Bautista, god bless him, who is a professional wrestler!” says Craig. “We were doing a scene. There’s a fight sequence on a train in Spectre, and we learned this (fight) for weeks and weeks … and Dave was being really great with me, but he’s a big, big guy, and I forget how big he is, and he was sort of throwing me against this wall, and he was being gentle, because so he should, [the movie is] pretend, and I just said Dave, come on it’s alright, you can chuck me [around] a bit, don’t worry about it, I’m fine. So, he did! I ended up on the wall, but my knee was sort of over here somewhere,” he recalls.
Craig says that he immediately shrieked in pain and knew that something was seriously wrong. Due to a torn meniscus, the actor required arthroscopic surgery, but impressively, was able to return to filming just two weeks later.
“God bless him. I was out, and then we went back, and we re-filmed it, and I had to film it with a brace on, and it was a struggle to do it,” says Craig. Still, shaken, but not stirred, Bond got his own back by breaking the villain’s nose — for real.
“I didn’t do it deliberately, and clearly it was a mistake,” he says. “Like I said, he’s a big guy, he’s a professional wrestler, you really wouldn’t mess with him, and I threw this punch. I hit him on the nose and I heard this crack, and I went ‘oh god, no’ and ran away because I thought he was gonna come after me (laughs). And he was so sweet, and he literally just [bent his nose back into place] and went ‘nah, it’s fine’. I mean, he’s a lot tougher than I am.”
Craig’s final Bond villain will be Oscar-winning actor Rami Malek’s portrayal of Safin, an unsettling megalomaniac on a revenge spree that turns into a global threat. Following in the tradition of worthy enemies for Bond, Malek described Safin as a “formidable adversary” in a trailer released via YouTube. Daniel Craig will finally be removing his cufflinks and tie after this one, but for Bond, there’s No Time to Die.