How Daniel Craig’s body became his James Bond signature

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The year was 2006. On the cinema screen, Daniel Craig rose from the azure sea somewhere in the Bahamas, water clinging to abs and trunk alike. It was the writer in the theater, a woman, laboring over each word, leaving many others wondering: “Oh. My. God.” “Casino Royale” was 29 minutes into its run time, but in that moment a new James Bond was born.

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The audience has Craig to thank for that moment, but also someone else: their conditioning coach, Simon Waterson. In the 15 years since the actor was cast as 007, he has repeatedly turned to Waterson. Now, with Craig’s fifth and final outing as Bond in “No Time to Die,” they’re warming up for the last time together.

Waterson, a former Navy man, was involved in the franchise before Craig, as Pierce Brosnan’s personal trainer in “The World Is Not Enough”. When Craig came on board, he arrived with A Cigarette and a Bacon Sandwich. But he also arrived with a vision, Waterson said. “From the beginning he didn’t want a trainer—he wanted a training partner,” he recalls. “Whatever he did, I did.”

That routine has remained the same in all five movies, and it shows. Waterson’s and Craig’s bodies are in equal proportion. With the same crew cut, Waterson is also very similar to the actor.


The man who keeps James Bond fit

For “No Time to Die” he tailored workouts to match the action sequences in the script, to help Craig perform his stunts (when allowed). “It just makes their lives easier,” Waterson said. Easy, not easy. “The shooting schedule is very brutal. Asking a player to perform as an athlete every day six days a week is not an easy task,” he said. “It’s like training for the Olympics, but then doing your schedule every day for seven months.”

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Beyond muscle, Jim was integral to character development from a movie, suggested Waterson. “As far as developing the character’s mindset and physicality is concerned, he had a firm idea of ​​what he wanted to do, which is great,” he said. “The way we work isn’t really around perfect aesthetic. It’s about performance.”

Craig, a wise actor whose subtleties haven’t always been appreciated as much as they should, has played a subversive Bond in many ways. The other 007s tried to live up to the deadly Adonis image; So far Craig has spent four movies with it, while you’re also most likely to see the twig-like twig.

The Craig era has seen the franchise “adopt a more body-centered model of masculinity”, which first appeared in the last Brosnan film “Die Another Day”, argued Lisa Funnell, Bond scholar and associate professor at the University of Oklahoma. “(Craig’s Bond’s) identity isn’t focused on bedridden women, it’s about physical resistance.”

The series’ axis of serial storytelling has reconfigured Bond’s relationship with his body. We all know he could hit a punch, but now we see bruises, and the violence that has been committed has been more visceral, more personal than in previous incarnations. He took a bullet in “Skyfall”, a drill for the skull in “Spectre” and was poisoned in his nether regions in “Casino Royale”. These movies have made a point in saying that the body is not built to endure that much for so long. In “Skyfall”, Bond fails his physical and psychological assessment. He has been repeatedly asked to retire. “There’s this notion in the Daniel Craig era of coming back from the dead,” Funnel said. “Their body becomes this living collection of trauma.”

There has also been a degree of art imitating life. Craig Allegedly He tore his shoulder cartilage in the filming of “Quantum of Solace”, broke both calf muscles in “Skyfall”, broke a knee ligament in “Spectre” and had minor ankle surgery During the shooting of “No Time to Die”. Rehabilitation has become part of the gig.

‘Making Bond’s Journey’

The vulnerability is two-fold, and along with physical trauma, Craig portrays emotional trauma as well. We’ve seen her fall for Vesper Lind in “Casino Royale”, then see her die, make love in “Quantum of Solace”, lose her mentor in M ​​in “Skyfall” and relive her childhood ” Specter”. For a character who was never burdened by the past, Bond is now haunted by him.

“I give Daniel Craig a lot of credit for Bond’s journey, not only physically but in an emotional sense,” Funnel said. “He’s someone who has expressed that he wants to be cast as a serious actor, he wants it to come from the inside, but it’s a character where there’s a lot of outside stuff.”

Vesper Lind (Eva Green) and Bond in “Casino Royale” (2006), Craig’s first outing in the series. Credit: Danjak, LLC/United Artists Corporation

Craig has wrestled with this. “The best acting is when you’re not worried about the surface. And Bond is the opposite,” He said in 2015. “You have to worry about how you look. It’s a struggle. I know how Bond puts on a suit and walks into a room. But as an actor I f—k Don’t want to give a damn about how I look!”

It’s probably a double bond. Craig and Waterston work together to create a physique that meets the character’s masculinity prerequisites, allowing the actor to explore what else Bond could be: vindictive, exhausted, loyal. Loving, even mournful. Yet, the surface still gets attention.

How the physical and emotional journey ends in “No Time to Die” remains to be seen. Speculation that Bond might be killed remains persistent, and will not be completely out of place with Craig’s iconoclastic tenure. Maybe the body really can’t take any more.

In any case, the actor survived the production, so Waterson’s mission can already be considered successful. And if the detective can still pick up a flutter in the audience… well, that’s just the cherry on the cake.


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