Cover Story Excerpt: Daniel Craig, the Man Behind James Bond

007 never lowers his guard, and neither does the man who plays him – until now

Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig on the cover of Rolling Stone. Photography by Matthew Rolston

In the new issue of Rolling Stone, Contributing Editor Erik Hedegaard downs a few beers with Daniel Craig and gets the man who plays James Bond to open up. An excerpt from our latest cover story, "Daniel Craig Blows His Cover":

Here comes Daniel Craig now, slipping into the murky environs of a murky Manhattan hotel, shades on, looking quite sportif in white pants and the thinnest of white V-neck T-shirts, short-sleeved, ­muscle-filled, easing into the further shadows of the room, taking a seat, ordering a beer, saying a few words about what he's been up to since shooting ended on his latest James Bond movie, Skyfall ("Um, drinking heavily. And reconnecting with family and self"), saying a few words about the movie itself ("It's quite good. It's got a lightness of touch and a wink to it, because, after all, this is a James Bond movie, for fuck's sake"), and saying a few words about signing up to do two more Bond movies after this one ("I've been trying to get out of this from the very moment I got into it, but they won't let me go, and I've agreed to do a couple more, but let's see how this one does, because business is business and if the shit goes down, I've got a contract that somebody will happily wipe their ass with"). He looks at his beer. His beer is gone. He orders another one and then proceeds to tell the filthiest joke ever.

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"What's the most disgusting thing you can think of?" He doesn't pause. His Liverpudlian accent jumps right to the punch line. "Shoving five oysters up your grandmother's cunt and sucking out six!"

This leads to considerable open-mouthed laughter on Craig's part, but it is kind of startling to hear those words come out of Craig's mouth, if only because he's not a guy usually given to telling jokes in public. Mainly, he's known for keeping his trap shut and speaking only to complain about the loss of privacy that being Bond has caused him and to say that, nope, no way is he going to blabber about anything personal. And then, there he'll sit, stonily, his face blank, his expression dour.

But today, that Craig is not so much in evidence. He seems loose and agreeable, friendly even and open to talking about his willingness to display full-frontal nudity in films, his past problems with jealousy, the thing he has about his ears, his inability to resist self-Googling, how he once stood lookout in a frozen-duck shoplifting caper, his trips to a shrink, and the definition of "white-man porn." Taken as a whole, they seem to say a lot about the kind of guy Craig, 44, is. Oh, and let's not forget him discussing the age at which he started "finger-banging" girls. That might say something too.

From The Archives Issue 1170: November 22, 2012