Becoming the sixth actor to play Ian Fleming’s fictional British secret agent James Bond has made him a household name, but Daniel Craig actually started his career ‘treading the boards’, after graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1991. His first film role was in fact 007 in the 2006 instalment, Casino Royale.He returned to the stage in 2009, debuting on Broadway in A Steady Rain alongside fellow A-Lister Hugh Jackman at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre or Theater as they like to spell it. The 12 week engagement about two Chicago policemen who inadvertently return a Vietnamese boy to a cannibalistic serial killer believing him to be his uncle was a critical and commercial success. TIME magazine placed the production in it’s Top 10 plays of that year, ranking it second. He is due to play Iago in Othello next year.
On a somewhat bigger stage was the World Premiere of the latest Bond movie, Spectre, at London’s Royal Albert Hall, attended by all the cast, creatives and their HRH’s Wills, Kate and Harry. As perms go this is about as big as it gets. Daniel would be attending naturally, so it presented a chance for me to get this sketch of him and Hugh in A Steady Rain graphed. The event was on Sunday evening. I was in the area the day before and found out that they were making a list for the wristbands. I put my name on it in the 34th position…not a good one if you’re a Formula One driver, but excellent for taking front row at a premiere. However…there’s always an ‘however’ at these things, when I returned the next day, an hour before I was told to, the bands had all been dispensed, including my number 34. I won’t go into the ‘discussions’ that followed. In the end I was given number 0500…not a number that filled me with confidence to get 007’s sig on my sketch. As you can imagine the red carpet for this was very long. The situation did eliminate the dilemma of where to stand. I got told where to go. I managed to secure a place second row on the grid near the paps. Daniel has always thought of his portrayal of Bond as an ‘anti-hero’. “Am I a good guy,or just a bad guy who works for a good side?” he once said. I guess most assassins face this question all the time. However, on a mild Autumnal night he was definitely a good guy and on the right side..the side I was on! Actually he did both sides as you would expect a spy to do. I asked him if he could dedicate it ‘to Mark’ for me, and he penned,’M’, which as Bond specialists know is the also the code name for his boss in MI16. After Daniel signed he suddenly realised and said, “Oh sorry that’s over Hugh” I assured him it was fine, Hugh will do the same over you, one day. Not a bad outcome in the end for 0500.