007 Casting Directors Feared Daniel Craig Wasn’t Traditionally ‘Handsome’ Enough to Play James Bond

Daniel Craig’s debated attractiveness put a target on his back as the new James Bond while casting “Casino Royale,” according to “GoldenEye” helmer Martin Campbell.

The director, who remained part of the 007 casting team, told Express UK that Craig didn’t follow in the “traditional” look of Bond as embodied by past franchise stars Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan, for whom Craig was taking over.

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“My only reticence with Daniel…he was really a superb actor, there’s no doubt about that…It was the fact that with people like Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Pierce Brosnan was that they were all traditional looking Bonds: all handsome guys, all sexy, all very attractive to women and so forth,” Campbell said.

He added, “Daniel was obviously tougher and ruggeder, but he wasn’t a traditional handsome guy. So I just thought about that for a minute and apart from that, absolutely it was always him.”

Campbell continued that Craig was among eight actors who auditioned for the role; the casting directors and producers eventually came to a “unanimous” decision to cast Craig.

“The way they work with Bond and it’s pretty terrific is when they decide on the actor and you audition — in our case, it was eight people — it’s very democratic,” Campbell said. “You sit around a table, eight or nine of you. It was myself and the producers, casting director, etcetera. And you go through the eight people and you put your hand up as you talk through each person and ultimately everybody has to be unanimous in their decision, if you see what I mean.”

Henry Cavill and Sam Heughan have both publicly confirmed they were among the contenders to play Bond, with Campbell saying Cavill would be the second choice runner-up if he was older-looking.

Casting director Debbie McWilliams recalled in Entertainment Weekly in 2021 that Craig taking the 007 mantle was met with “unbelievably negative” backlash.

“The press response was awful and I felt so sorry for him,” McWilliams said, “but in a funny kind of a way I think it almost spurred him on to do his damndest to prove everybody wrong. The whole way through the film, stuff would come out about [how] he couldn’t walk and talk, he couldn’t run, he couldn’t drive a car properly, so much stuff which was completely and utterly untrue. And he just kept his head down, got on with the job and then the film came out and everybody went, ‘Oh wow, I think we quite like him after all.'”

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