Last week, Daniel Craig appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and announced that he was going to return, for a fifth time, as superspy James Bond. A media furore inevitably followed, and the reason that Craig had even gone onto Colbert’s show was lost; that he has a new film out, directed by Ocean’s 11 filmmaker Steven Soderbergh.
Logan Lucky, which tells the story of three siblings planning to pull off a heist during the Coca-Cola 600 race in North Carolina, sees Craig play Joe Bang, a convicted safecracker, in a performance that is already winning the British actor plaudits. And this reminded us, that although he’ll now forever be known as ‘James Bond actor Daniel Craig’, the performer has other excellent roles to his name. Here’s our pick of the best.
The unnamed man, Layer Cake, 2004
Generally accepted to be the role that won Craig 007, Matthew Vaughn’s tale of a London-based criminal working hard to leave the drugs business sees the actor take on a character who could offer both drama and action. Craig won praise for playing his mid-level criminal as incredibly smart man infuriated by his less-intelligent underlings and fellows in the underworld. It’s a dangerous job, impeccably performed and – not to give anything away – it doesn’t end well.
Tuva Bielski, Defiance, 2008
From the role which won him Bond to a role he arguably got because of Bond, Defiance told the story of the Bielski partisans, a group of fighters led by Belarusian Jewish brothers during the Nazi occupation of Belarus. Craig plays one of the brothers, alongside fellow Brits Jamie Bell and George MacKay and, whilst the overall film was met with mixed reviews due to stiff storytelling, the performances were said to save the show.
Will Atenton, Dream House, 2011
Dream House was critically panned. Despite being a collaboration between Craig and his wife Rachel Weisz, the most frequently levelled criticism against the film was that it was far too slow and a little too obvious to be scary. However, one of the saving graces is an excellent performance from Craig, who plays a double role in one of the best-acted reveals of the British actor’s career.
Steve, Munich, 2005
With Steven Spielberg at the helm, Munich was always going to be in safe hands story-wise. And, with Eric Bana and Geoffrey Rush among the cast, the performances were never in doubt either. Craig fits in seamlessly as Steve, a South African Driver and member of a squad of assassins tasked with tracking down and killing the members of Black September, a group who had kidnapped and murdered 11 Israeli athletes.
Mikael Blomkvist, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 2011
Released in the same year as Dream House, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo saw Craig cast in the English remake of the Swedish original film – landing a role competed for by Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Johnny Depp and more. After beating out the heavyweights, Craig made himself a heavyweight – piling on the pounds for the role, and received praise for standing out in his performance even next to the striking titular character, embodied by Rooney Mara.