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The Iconic Skyfall Moment Daniel Craig Totally Improvised

The Iconic Skyfall Moment Daniel Craig Totally Improvised

Some of the greatest moments in cinema history have been the ones even those behind them didn’t see coming. Stand out instances of this include Matthew McConaughey’s completely improvised tribal chest beat from “The Wolf of Wall Street,” or the line “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” from “Jaws.” Even Thor’s beard compliment to Cap in “Avengers: Infinity War” came from Chris Hemsworth himself. All of them were improvised, and all of them found their place as fan-favorite moments that could just have easily never happened.

One movie that happens to host just such a raw, improvised gem is Daniel Craig’s third appearance as James Bond in “Skyfall.” The most successful 007 adventure ever (via Box Office Mojo) is crammed with incredible set pieces, a despicable villain in Javier Bardem’s Silva, as well as a star-studded cast taking the iconic roles of M, Q, and Moneypenny. However, during what some believe to be Craig’s best turn as the super secret agent, the actor delivers a brief but brilliant Bond moment that is entirely off the cuff — literally.

Craig straightening his suit was totally improvised

As with every Bond film, the opening sequence always aims to be something special, warming us up for another action-packed mission for Mr. Bond, and Sam Mendes’ 2012 film “Skyfall” is no exception. 

In the first few minutes of the film, before the iconic opening credits roll, Bond is chasing down a target that has jumped aboard a train, leaving the agent to continue in hot pursuit by way of a JCB construction vehicle. Ripping through the carriage after his enemy, Bond shuffles down the digger’s arm just as it falls away, and he narrowly leaps to safety. As if his death-defying leap couldn’t be any smoother, Bond, in his pristine suit, straightens up his cuff and carries on with the chase.

It’s a moment so perfectly Bond that you can practically smell the Martini seeping through the screen. A simple flourish that acts as a testament to Craig understanding the iconic character he makes his own, the motion makes Bond look completely calm and collected, but surprisingly, it’s done for a very different reason.

Craig didn't plan on looking cool for that iconic moment

Speaking to GQ in 2020, Daniel Craig revealed that the suit sorting has more to do with the real man Bond is, rather than the cool, suave hero we all perceive him to be. Even after all the insane escapades the hero has been on, this moment in particular is testing the agent’s supposed nerves of steel, which is something Craig instinctively thought to put on display while filming the opening scenes.

Craig noted in the interview that the moment was not in the script, but the actor improvised it during shooting and it made it into the final cut of “Skyfall.” “I realised why that came in, why he did it: because he’s scared. He’s f***ing terrified,” said Craig. He goes on to describe the scene, stating, “He’s just jumped off the back of the train. He’s just like, ‘Everything’s fine.’ Otherwise he’s just shooting his f***ing cuff. ‘Isn’t he cool?’ He’s not cool. He’s really not cool at that point.”

It’s moments like this that led Craig to give us a very different Bond to all those that came before him. His interpretation reveals more of the man behind the iconic moniker of 007, and why for some, nobody’s done Bond better than Craig.

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