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Wrong Answer, Mr. Craig

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Entertainment Weekly's readers will see a cover story this week featuring new James Bond, Daniel Craig promoting his upcoming debut in "Casino Royale." If you read the full enterprise piece, you will see Mr. Craig come off doubtful of his public perception:

''If I went onto the Internet and started looking at what some people were saying about me—which, sadly, I have done—it would drive me insane,'' Craig confesses. ''They hate me. They don't think I'm right for the role. It's as simple as that. They're passionate about it, which I understand, but I do wish they'd reserve judgment…''

Never, ever do that.

As Craig enters what one would hope will be a mini-career of suave spy flicks, he should be mindful that his predecessor was also doubted by would-be doubters and purists longing for the 1960's. But the 60's and the 90's are over and Daniel Craig is James Bond now.

The movie series received a needed shot in the arm in when "Goldeneye" was released in 1995 and a new Irishman took over. "Casino Royale" will debut May 2, 2008 according to a press release. This is plenty of time for all the critics and the angry mob to settle down and realize that they will probably end up seeing the movie anyway.  It is impossible to settle all critics and silence all voices of detraction. Craig just needs to be as confident and excited as possible and ignore the Internet-enabled haters. This too, will pass.

Doubt is fodder for the news media. CNN led their entertainment section with a report about Craig's lack of confidence with the headline "New 007 Craig: Give me a chance."
When Pierce Brosnan took the reigns, the reaction was good but there was something to prove with Roger Moore and Sean Connery coming before him. Brosnan left the spy life with the completion of his contractual fourth movie and moved on rightly so, citing the unpopularity of Moore stretching his role as Bond well after his 50th birthday. He wasn't forced out to make room for the younger Craig. The younger Craig was brought in because that's what always happens with this series.

"People kept asking, 'Have you done the line yet?' " Craig told Entertainment Weekly's Benjamin Svetkey. In reply to this, Craig said that he had no practiced it or said it out loud because he wants to get it right when the time comes.

Bond, James Bond.

Now you repeat that, Dan. "The name's Bond, James Bond." Say that over and over. Murmur it in your sleep, spell it out with your alphabet soup, sing it in the shower, because if you don't believe it, no one will. Don't say it to practice so you'll get it right when the time comes.  You're a bloody actor.  Be the Bond.

You better get the damn line right when the time comes.  When "Royale" comes out, it is going to be a box office smash, but ticket sales are only one piece of a larger puzzle. Mr. Craig's longevity in the series depends very much on his own ability to sell himself.

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