Daniel Craig has given his backing to a commercial deal which will see 007 switching to Heineken beer in the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, and revealed that he personally helped recruit Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes to take charge of the film.
The British secret agent, traditionally known for his penchant for Martinis, shaken not stirred, is set to enjoy one of the Dutch brewers' beers in at least one scene in the 23rd official Bond adventure as part of a reported $45m (£28.2m) product placement deal. Craig said the tie-in was a necessary part of the business of making an expensive project such as Skyfall.
"We have relationships with a number of companies so that we can make this movie," he told Moviefone during a break on set. "The simple fact is that, without them, we couldn't do it. It's unfortunate but that's how it is.
"This movie costs a lot of money to make, it costs nearly as much again if not more to promote, so we go where we can. The great thing is that Bond is a drinker, he always has been, it's part of who he is, rightly or wrongly, you can make your own judgement about it, having a beer is no bad thing, in the movie it just happens to be Heineken."
Craig also revealed that he had been instrumental in recruiting Mendes to take charge of Skyfall. "I didn't realise you weren't supposed to go up to people and just ask them," he said. "I was in a social situation with Sam, started chatting to him, and it just came to me in a flash. I said, 'It's not my place to do this but would you be interested?' I got on the phone to (producers) Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson that night. So he came to see them, they really got on and it snowballed from there. It's really been great for me because he takes care of a lot of stuff that I would worry about normally on a film set."
Craig will be playing Bond for the third time in Skyfall, which follows 2006's Casino Royale and 2008's Quantum of Solace. Dame Judi Dench reprises her role as the suave spy's boss, M, for the seventh time, with British actors Albert Finney and Ralph Fiennes in undisclosed parts. Javier Bardem will be one of the villains, while Ben Whishaw debuts in the role of gadget guru Q. Naomie Harris is playing a field agent named Eve and French actor Bérénice Marlohe is set to play an enigmatic Bond girl named Severine.
The film is still shooting in Turkey at the moment as part of a tough schedule that will also take in locations in China, Scotland and England, and Craig said the 12-hour days usually left him "fucked". "We're here about seven in the morning, start work at eight, work until about 8:30pm, then I go to the gym for 40 minutes in the evening, and then I go home to bed," he said. Skyfall's production received some negative publicity yesterday when a stuntman lost control of his motorcycle and smashed into the window of a 330-year-old shop in Istanbul's 15th-century Grand Bazaar, according to Turkish media.
"It is very nice for the Grand Bazaar to be chosen as a location for shooting this kind of movie. But the bazaar's administration … didn't notify us the shooting would be like this," said Mete Boybeyi, the owner of the shop, which once served members of the Ottoman court from the nearby palace. "No one from the movie crew came to ask: 'What are your losses?. We filed a complaint at the police station.
Out on 26 October, Skyfall's plot reportedly centres heavily on Dench's M, with some rumours suggesting she may be killed off. "Bond's loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her", reads the official synopsis.
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