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Daniel Craig: 14 Facts Even More Charming Than James Bond Himself

Daniel Craig is one of the most recognizable actors on the planet. The English star has gone from having roles in "Layer Cake" and "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" to worldwide fame, largely thanks to the fact that he was cast as James Bond, taking over the role from Pierce Brosnan. Making his debut in the 2006 film "Casino Royale," he appeared in some of the best movies in the series and became a true Hollywood star.

Unlike some actors who have portrayed the fictional spy, Craig has found plenty of success outside of the realm of espionage. He has appeared in projects as varied as "Defiance," "Cowboys & Aliens," "Logan Lucky," and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," in addition to taking on leading roles in several Broadway productions. Most recently, he has dazzled fans in the mystery film "Knives Out" and its sequel "Glass Onion."

Despite his immense fame and high-profile marriage to Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz, Craig tends to stay out of the spotlight as much as possible, meaning that even dedicated fans may not know all that much about his life. Here are some of the most charming facts about the actor that have gone under the radar.

Joined a long line of Bond actors dubbed the sexiest man alive

One of the key elements of the James Bond character is that he is an attractive and confident man, someone who is a hit with the opposite sex and is seen as a desirable partner (via Swagger Magazine). That has been the case throughout the history of the series, so it makes sense then that the actors chosen to play the fictional spy are also handsome and good-looking.

In fact, many of the major stars who have portrayed Bond over the years have ended up topping polls listing the sexiest men on the planet. Sean Connery was named the world's sexiest man by People Magazine in 1989 when he was 59 years old (via St. Louis Post-Dispatch), while Pierce Brosnan won the same award in 2001 after appearing in three "Bond" movies (via ABC News).

So it should come as little surprise that Craig has also come out on top in this category as well. According to Digital Spy, in a poll conducted by condom maker Durex in December 2006 — a month after "Casino Royale" hit cinemas — he beat out the likes of Clive Owen, Jude Law, and George Clooney to be dubbed the sexiest man on the planet.

Craig does a lot of charitable work

While it isn't something that the actor talks about a lot, he is very involved in a number of charities. According to Look to the Stars, he has contributed to 38 charitable causes during his career. Most notably, he has been a supporter of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which provides lifeboats and lifeguards in the United Kingdom. Craig has dedicated awards to the charity and offered signed memorabilia to raise funds.

Other charities include the Afghanistan Relief Organization, Comic Relief, Childline, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and the Neurofibromatosis Association. He has also been a vocal supporter of Barnardo's, a charity that aims to provide help and support to vulnerable children. In 2022, he appeared in a video urging the public to ensure children living in poverty could stay warm in the cold winter months. Meanwhile, the actor also donated £10,000 to a set of three fathers who were carrying out a 300-mile walk in aid of a suicide prevention charity (via BBC).

Craig seems committed to giving away much of his wealth to charities during his lifetime. Speaking to The Independent, he revealed that he does not like the idea of inheritance and that he would rather "get rid of it or give it away before you go."

His acting instructors taught many famous British performers

After deciding to take up a career in acting, Craig enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Offering both undergraduate and postgraduate study, it is widely considered to be one of the best schools for the arts anywhere in the world (via The Guardian). While at Guildhall, Craig studied under several instructors, including both Colin McCormack and Ken Rea.

McCormack was an actor in his own right, appearing on television shows like "Dixon of Dock Green" (via The Guardian). Meanwhile, Rea is a respected senior tutor and someone who has worked at the school for more than three decades (via SMH). These men were not only responsible for teaching Craig how to act but also instructed a number of his contemporaries. These include Ewan McGregor, Orlando Bloom, Joseph Fiennes, and Damien Lewis — all names that should be familiar to anyone who has watched any high-profile movies or television series over the last 20 years.

He is very close friends with Mark Strong and godfather to his son

One of Craig's earliest roles was in the BBC drama "Our Friends in the North." Telling the story of several people living in Newcastle from the 1960s to the 1990s, it featured other up-and-coming actors such as Christopher Eccleston, Gina McKee, and Mark Strong. Although not everyone in the production got along, with Eccelston and Strong having an allegedly strained relationship (via the Metro), it did lead to a lasting friendship between two of the stars.

Speaking to the Radio Times (via The Guardian), Strong revealed that he and Craig had remained close. In fact, Craig was somewhat responsible for Strong not getting a role in an earlier "James Bond" film starring Pierce Brosnan. He spent a night drinking with Craig before an audition to play a villain and forgot most of his lines, leading to someone else landing the part.

Strong and Craig have also lived together in a flat in London during their early careers, and Craig is even godfather to Strong's son, according to Entertainment Weekly. Strong told the Daily Mail in 2019 that his friendship with Craig meant that he would probably never be able to work with him in a "James Bond" film, since people might have a difficult time believing their animosity.

He played rugby in his youth

From the moment that people saw Craig emerge from the water on the beach in "Casino Royale," it has been clear that the actor has an impressive physique. Of course, actors playing James Bond usually have to be in good shape, as they need to fit the role of a spy who does a lot of physical activity in his line of work. But Craig might not have gone through a huge body transformation to play 007, as he has always been pretty active.

The BBC reports that Craig played rugby as a child for Hoylake RFC, a team in the seaside town of Hoylake in Merseyside, near the famous Royal Liverpool Golf Club. He played fly-half for the team and has continued to enjoy the sport, although it is unlikely that he ever gets onto the field nowadays. In a Q&A for the film "No Time to Die," the actor spoke about his love of rugby and named his favorite players, which included England hero Jonny Wilkinson and Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll (via Ruck).

His wedding to Rachel Weisz was a tiny affair

Craig and Rachel Weisz have had a long relationship, having known each other for many years before they even started dating. According to The Telegraph, the pair first worked together in the 1994 play "Les Grandes Horizontales," while other sources such as The Mirror have reported that they initially met while studying at university. Whatever the case, they have certainly known each other for a long time. In fact, they have worked together on several projects, including the 2011 psychological thriller "Dream House" and the Broadway production of "Betrayal."

The pair were officially confirmed to have started dating in 2010, and by June 2011 it was revealed that they had married. However, the ceremony was not a lavish affair, as you might expect for two movie stars. Instead, the two married in secret and had only four guests at the wedding, which included their two children and two family friends acting as witnesses (via The Guardian). They have largely kept their relationship out of the limelight since then and remain private about their children.

Craig is the longest-serving James Bond

Seven actors have now portrayed James Bond. Sean Connery was the first, appearing in six movies from the 1962 movie "Dr. No" to "Diamonds Are Forever" in 1971. Roger Moore went on to play the character across seven films, and Pierce Brosnan starred in four films as the secret agent. Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby are the two other actors to have played 007, although they only appeared in three films between the two of them.

Making his debut in 2006 in the movie "Casino Royale," Craig has now starred in a total of five films, including "Skyfall" and his final outing in "No Time to Die." That puts him third in terms of the number of films he has appeared in as Bond, just behind Connery and Moore. However, in terms of actual years spent occupying the role, he is by far the longest-serving MI6 spy. By 2019, he had beaten Moore's record of 5,118 days (via Press and Journal) and now sits at a mighty 5,830 days since his retirement from the role after his fifth and final film in 2021.

One of his first acting roles was in a school play of Romeo and Juliet

After his parents divorced, Craig moved around several times with his mother and began acting from a very early age. According to Cinenews, he first acted at just six years old, appearing in a primary school production of "Oliver!" after becoming interested in the profession after attending the Liverpool Everyman Theater several times.

He eventually settled in West Kirby and attended Hilbre High School as a teenager, where he was soon involved in other school plays. During this time, he performed in versions of "Romeo and Juliet" and "Cinderella" (via the Liverpool Echo).

According to his drama teacher, the actor showed promise from a young age and was seemingly destined for great things. Hilary Green told the Wirral Globe that "his talent was obvious right from the start" and that "as soon as [she] heard him trying out the first number, [she] knew that there was something really remarkable there."

The actor would have been a waiter if he didn't find success in acting

After leaving school when he was 16, Craig immediately auditioned to join the National Youth Theatre and moved to London when he was accepted into the troupe. However, with the work paying little, he worked as a waiter at several restaurants in the local area (via Cinenews). This is a career path that he may well have taken up permanently if he didn't find success in the world of acting.

Speaking to the Daily Star, the actor confirmed that he had decided that he would return to waiting full-time and turn it into his career if he couldn't find work. He went on to say, "When I went to drama school, I made a pact with myself, which was if I ever went back to waiting, I had to give it up."

Waiting tables wasn't all bad, though, with Craig also explaining how doing that type of job requires people to put on a persona. This is necessary so that the waiters can block out the stressful side of the work and not become bogged down by rude customers (via NPR).

The actor had misgivings about playing Bond

Playing James Bond is a gig that many actors would gladly give their right arm for. The series is one of the most successful movie franchises of all time (via CNBC), and made the star a household name around the world. Yet, when Craig was first approached to play 007, he didn't jump at the opportunity. Producer Barbara Broccoli told Vanity Fair (via The Guardian) that they had to have several meetings with the actor to allay his concerns. She went on to say, "He's someone who's very professional, and he throws himself into whatever he's doing, and he understood it'd be a long commitment."

Craig obviously understood the new level of fame and extra work that would come with playing Bond and was unsure whether it was worth it, especially when he had a young daughter. His decision to remain as the world-famous spy was also something that he questioned throughout his tenure. He once told Time Out that he would "rather break this glass and slash my wrists" than do another Bond movie after finishing "Spectre." After agreeing to return for "No Time to Die," he made it clear in 2019 that this would be his final outing as Bond, as he didn't want to commit to the role anymore (via People).

The actor really dislikes guns

Throughout his career, Craig has consistently outlined his opposition and fear of guns. This may seem strange, considering that he has played the gun-toting spy James Bond for 15 years and appeared in numerous other action films where guns play a huge part.

According to the Evening Standard, the actor told OK! Magazine in 2005 after he had been announced as taking on the role of Bond that he particularly dislikes handguns. Explaining his distaste for the weapons, he said, "Handguns are used to shoot people and as long as they are around, people will shoot each other."

Craig went on to confirm that he has seen first-hand the damage that guns can do to victims. In the same interview, he said, "That's a simple fact. I've seen a bullet wound and it was a mess. It was on a shoot and it scared me. Bullets have a nasty habit of finding their target and that's what's scary about them."

He was terrified to perform a Southern accent in Knives Out

Outside of the world of James Bond, many moviegoers probably know Craig best from his role as the private detective Benoit Blanc in Rian Johnson's "Knives Out" franchise. Yet the actor uses a very different voice in the two mystery films compared to most of his other roles, affecting a thick Southern accent that has divided fans.

Speaking in the "Happy Sad Confused" podcast (via Insider), the actor revealed that he was scared to perform the accent for the first time in "Knives Out." He was especially nervous to have to affect his Southern drawl in front of the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis and the rest of the talented cast.

This anxiety returned for the sequel, but in a different way. Craig wanted to ensure that his accent was not an over-the-top imitation of what he had done in the first movie, as this would be too much for audiences to take (via Esquire). To help him get back into character as Blanc, he worked with an accent coach for several months and luckily found that he fell back into it quite naturally (via Empire Magazine).

Craig refused to dye his hair for the Bond role

Every portrayal of James Bond has had dark hair. This is not just a coincidence, but rather a direction taken straight from Ian Fleming's novels. In the original stories, Bond is always described as a man with short, jet-black hair, so it has made sense for the actors playing the character to also have dark hair. When Craig was first announced, the fact that the actor had blonde hair was something of a headline (via Today).

According to the Evening Standard, Craig was unwilling to dye his hair for the role, despite going through a grueling training regime to ensure he was in the right shape to play Bond. Confirming that he had been asked to dye his hair brown, he instead opted to go for a short haircut to give Bond a more savage demeanor. Similarly, when it came to shooting "No Time to Die," he preferred to keep his naturally graying hair to give the spy a sense that he had matured and was world-weary (via The Daily Mail).

His commitment has led to a number of injuries

Having been involved in the "James Bond" franchise for 15 years, Craig was always going to get the chance to do some stunt work, as the fictional spy often finds himself in situations where he has to perform a risky maneuver to save himself. The actor has proven that he is nothing if not committed to the role during his time portraying 007. He has never shied away from taking on some of the more dangerous parts of the job — and he has the scars to prove it, with the crew working on the various films testifying as to how much he puts into his performances (via The Guardian).

In GQ Magazine, Craig explained some of the injuries he has sustained from his time as James Bond. These have included rupturing both of his calf muscles while filming "Skyfall" to tearing cartilage in his shoulder during the shoot for "Quantum of Solace." Meanwhile, a fight scene in "Spectre" with Dave Bautista ended with the actor snapping his anterior cruciate ligament. He didn't escape injury in "No Time to Die" either, twisting his ankle and damaging the ligaments to such an extent that he required surgery (via The Daily Mail).