Daniel Craig Asked Sam Mendes To Direct Skyfall While Drunk

Daniel Craig has revealed that he drunkenly offered Sam Mendes the Skyfall directing job at a party. Craig, who recently handed back the keys to the Aston Martin after his fifth and final outing as James Bond in No Time To Die, first took on the role in 2006's Casino Royale. Craig's tenure as 007 from 2006 to 2021 makes him the longest-serving Bond to date, holding the role one year longer than Roger Moore, who played the secret agent from 1972 and left the role after 1986's A View To A Kill. Though some were initially unsure about Craig, as a just under 6-foot blonde, the 53-year-old has gone to become one of the best-received Bonds, particularly for bringing a human and vulnerable quality to the role.

Director Sam Mendes, who began as a theatre director before making the jump to film, won the Oscar for Best Director and Best Film with his film debut, American Beauty. A drama, Mendes then moved into other genres with the crime drama Road to Perdition and the war film Jarhead. After two more dramas, Revolutionary Road and Away We Go, Mendes landed the biggest directing gig in the British film industry, directing a Bond movie, when he was announced as the director of the 23rd Bond film. Mendes would go on to be nominated for Best Director again with his 2019 war film, 1917.

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Craig spoke to THR’s Awards Chatter Podcast for his final Bond outing No Time To Die, reminiscing about his time as the secret agent. The British actor recalled how, at a Christmas party thrown by Hugh Jackman, while "definitely a little drunk," he had asked the American Beauty director to direct the next Bond film, Skyfall. After Mendes had accepted, Craig worried he was "in sh*t," realizing there were probably people he had to speak to before "I go offering directors jobs". Read the full quote below:

“I was definitely a little drunk and Sam turned up late. He just turned up and I hadn’t seen him for years, I hadn’t seen him since ‘Road To Perdition.' ... We sat down and were having a drink together and it just dawned on me, it was just like one of those... Because we'd been having conversations about directors … and it just became glaringly obvious to me, sitting opposite him. I was looking at him going, ‘Of course.’ ... And I just basically went, ‘I’m probably not supposed to say this, but do you want to direct the next Bond movie?’”

“And he just did this thing, he kinda just looked at me [and squinted] and said, ‘Yes.’ And I went, 'Okay', and I went, ‘I’m in s**t now.’ I’m sure there is somebody I have to talk to about that before I go offering directors jobs. It’s not my responsibility, but I was drunk! What can you say?”

While Craig's offer to Mendes may have been made while he was under the influence, there were no complaints from the producers as Mendes was swiftly hired. There were few complaints from audiences either, as Skyfall received glowing reviews from critics, who praised the series' return to form after the poorly received Quantum of Solace, while the film went on to break UK box office records. Mendes' follow-up to Skyfall, 2015's Spectre, however, was generally less well-received - and was almost Craig's last outing as 007. Mendes then left the series, leaving Cary Joji Fukunaga to fill the director's chair for Craig's final outing in No Time To Die.

Craig's eagerness to offer the directing job to Mendes, who he had worked with on 2002's Road to Perdition, speaks to the power Craig held in shaping the Bond franchise while he was in the role. Before Fukunaga signed on to direct No Time To Die, Danny Boyle had been hired to direct. It was Craig who reportedly recommended the Slumdog Millionaire director to Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, after working with Boyle on a short film for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Craig also had a big say in the theme song for No Time To Die, as the film's music supervisor revealed that Craig initially did not like Billie Eilish's song, and had to be convinced on a second listen. While Craig's judgment didn't work out when it came to Boyle, perhaps Craig should listen to his judgment after a few drinks more often, as his drunken offer to Mendes to direct Skyfall led to arguably the best Bond movie of the Daniel Craig era.

Next: Daniel Craig Made The Perfect Bond Trilogy (Just A Shame About The Others)

Source: THR's Award Chatter Podcast

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