Flashbacks With Daniel Craig

What happens when the people we count on to hold us together are barely holding it together themselves? Jonas Pate’s Shrink is a striking, fast-paced expos

Daniel Craig has just made ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘The Golden Compass’, two of the most anticipated blockbusters of recent years. He’s gone from D-List to A-List in a very short period of time but he hasn’t forgotten who his friends are as his appearance in ‘Flashbacks Of A Fool’ proves. The movie was written and directed by Daniels best friend Bailey Walsh, a first time director who previously directed several famous music videos for Oasis, INXS, Massive Attack and Kylie Minogue. Daniel was a big fan of Bailey’s script, so much so that he handed it around to several Hollywood contacts and then came on board as executive producer to help get the film made.

The end result is an absolute gem, Craig plays Joe Scott, a fading Hollywood star looking back on the glory days of his youth. Bailey’s music video background is highly evident in the many stylised scenes that decorate the plot. Craig really feels at home here and as a result we witness some of his finest acting to date. Movies.ie met up with Daniel Craig to discuss this personal project and to find how a smaller production like this compares to the adrenalin rush of a film like Bond.

Q: What does ‘Flashbacks of a Fool’ mean to you?
A: It’s a very personal film really. The fact that Bailey (director) is my best mate, he wrote the script with me in mind over six years ago. It’s a lot to do with who he is and how we both look at life. In the sense that you don’t deal with certain things when you’re a kid, they will come back and get you.

Q: This is your first time producing a film, was it a case that you were able to bring whatever clout you have at this stage in your career to help get a film like this made?
A: It was an important stage for me to go through, it was no great leap for me to be an executive producer. What my job entails on most films is talking to people and asking them ‘do you mind spending some money? I believe in this project, I believe in this director, we have a great cast, we have a great crew, I think we can make a very nice movie, have a punt?’ So it’s not like a huge leap, I kind of end up doing that on films anyway. Unofficially you’re launching a movie when you go talking to people, asking them to invest in a movie, that’s always part of my job.

Q: Was there anything particularly interesting for you about playing the character of Joe Scott, a heavyweight Hollywood actor coming to the end of his career.

A: The fact that he’s a movie star is secondary, he’s a very lonely man in a big house. He could have everything he wants, he could have a career only he’s pushed it all away. What he needs is good friendship, and to support people that genuinely love him. It’s staring him in the face, he’s got his mother and a great family even tho they are very dysfunctional. He’s got this lady Ophelia looking after him, she’s probably the love of his life, who would sacrifice everything for him and its all there but he’s f**king it up.

Q: You mix in acting circles; do you see some of your contemporaries falling into the same trap?
A; I have been around, I’ve seen a lot in my life. Everybody goes down the dark winding staircase at some stage in their life and it’s a bad place to be. That’s why having friends is vitally important because those are the people that pull you out. It can happen to anyone in any profession. The character I play, Joe is an alcoholic drug-addict, probably an evening with him is great entertainment, he’d be fantastic to be with but to live with him would be a night mare and that’s the reality of it.

Q: What keeps you grounded?
A: Friends and family, they let me know what an ass I am.

Q: Harry Eden does a fantastic job playing the younger version of you, how involved were you in his casting?
A:I didn’t have much of a say, Bailey found him and as soon as I saw him I knew he was the right guy. People say we look physically alike but I don’t see it. I just let him get on with it, I figured that a whole life time has passed between his age and my current age. People change irrevocably, I think I just let him get on being who he was. I told him to just be a boy, he plays the role as a moody teenager full of hormones.

Q: How do you approach the sex scenes, do you mind getting naked?
A:I don’t mind, I’ve almost made a career out of it. I work out a lot now, it’s part of my job. I’ve always kept fit but I’ve stopped eating the cakes now I know that I have to take my top off now and then. We’ve started Bond now; we start the physical stuff next week so I’m sure I’m going to be walking wounded for the next six months.

Q: Are you approaching the second Bond movie with a slight sense of relief? Is there less pressure on you?
A:I don’t think so; I don’t think you can say there’s no pressure on a 200 million dollar movie, I think the pressure is plain to see. We’ve got to make it as good as, if not better than the first one. I’m not as nervous as I was first time round but I don’t think I’ll ever feel comfortable about it. However, I’m enjoying what we’ve shot of it and I’m planning to enjoy as much as I can of the filming process because otherwise why do it?

Q: What about a movie like ‘Flashbacks Of A Fool’, is there less pressure while making a movie like this compared to a $200 million dollar movie like Bond?
A:I’d say on set there is very little difference. On set there might be two cameras and a crew, if you’re shooting dialogue with actors it feels the same. The difference might be explosions going off everywhere, then it gets a bit more complicated but the atmosphere is very similar.

Q: Now that you’ve made two Bond films is it easier or more difficult to balance it with other movies?
A:I’ve never done films because I should do them and if I had then it would be unpleasant. I’ve only ever done films if I wanted to do them. I wouldn’t just make a comedy because I’ve just filmed a dark movie, it’s not me. If a script comes along and its equal to the one I just made I’ll quite happily do it and just face the consequences.

Q: Is it easier in the wake of Bond to champion a project like this one?
A:It’s been useful and of course now people are listening to me like I have an opinion which is really disturbing *laughs*, but it’s a nice place to be.

Words : Vincent Donnelly

‘Flashbacks Of A Fool’ is at Irish cinemas from April 18th