Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem talk about the “Skyfall” experience

In the history of cinema, no other character has intrigued, enticed and invited viewers to its folklore as much as James Bond. Having completed 50 years on the silver screen this year, the makers of the James Bond series invited journalists from across the world to be part of the premiere of Bond’s new outing Skyfall in London.

Expectations are riding sky high. One obvious question on the mind of Bond fans is whether Daniel Craig would score a hat-trick at the box office in his third outing as Bond? Sitting in a suite at The Dorchester, Craig smiles. He is oozing confidence yet there is a hint of vulnerability as he shifts his body from right to left and then answers, , “Yes, I think we are going to make it.” Craig has been famous for his one-liners and his expressive looks and crackling eyes reflect a long theatre experience.

Skyfall is directed by his friend-turned-foe-turned-friend Sam Mendes, their second outing together. The theatre background is also shared by Javier Bardem, the new Bond villain, in this movie. Craig takes it as compliment and says, “We all are from a drama background and that serves us in a great way. Even, Ralph Fiennes and Judi Dench are great actors. So what we have tried is to bring all the best talent possible, but you never know what clicks, because you can have all the talent in the world but that might not click as well (if not tuned on the same wavelength).”

Looking at the Bond legacy over 50 years from the first film of the series Dr. No — released in 1962 — Bond’s persona has changed a lot. From being a sophisticated Casanova who always wears a suit even while killing people for his living, Craig’s movies have changed Bond to a macho man, I ask him, was it intentional? Craig bursts into a gesture that reflects this is the question he was waiting for. “Yes, I have made him a macho man. And, this was my very cautious and definitive effort. Right from Casino Royale, we tried to make it raw and more realistic. I am pleased that people liked it.”

But, the next question was to unsettle him a little. Having seen the film before this interview, I could not resist asking a question related to a line from the film, “Age doesn’t always bring in experience and youth doesn’t always bring in innovation”, Daniel reacts spontaneously, “Oh! I am not going to talk about that. It will take all the magic away from the viewers but yes, now we are poised and set with a perfect setting for our next venture of the series of Bond films.”

After meeting Bond, the next on my target is his foe in this film Javier Bardem, an Oscar winner and a hugely talented Spanish actor. But was he prepared to die for this role? Javier (replies in his deep baritone, “Playing a Bond villain, I think can be any actor’s dream. I prepared for the role as the director suggested and it is indeed a huge respect to be part of Bond series.”

Javier’s entry on screen in Skyfall has received standing ovation in theatres in Britain. It is a very long dialogue in a single shot, which only an actor from a theatre background could handle. He smiles, “Theatre teaches you acting and it is always better to be an actor than a star.” But, what about the gay overtones to his character? What was his inspiration for this particular trait of Silva, the villain? “We take inspirations and references from the people around us. As an actor I have to perform what I am told by my director. Every human being is vulnerable despite the fact that he may be wielding a powerful position. I am happy to see that people are liking the trait of Silva and that is what matters in the end.”

It has started pouring outside. Coming out of Javier’s suite I can see from the window a double-decker bus passing by with his poster pasted on its side. A new villain has arrived to take on an aging Bond.

(The writer is a senior film critic)