No Time To Die director: ‘Different directions were debated for Daniel Craig’s finale’

Cary Joji Fukunaga reflects on the "infinite number of possibilities" that Craig's 007 swansong might've explored.

No Time to Die – exclusive

No Time To Die director Cary Joji Fukunaga has admitted that it was no easy task deciding how to conclude Daniel Craig’s era as James Bond 007.

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In an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com, Fukunaga revealed he participated in “tons of roundtable discussions” with Craig and producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson to determine exactly how the film would end.

“There was this table in Michael’s office in EON in Piccadilly – this round table that looks like a Napoleonic era campaign table – and I spent hours sitting around that table with Michael and Barbara and Daniel and sometimes the different writers that were working on the project, just discussing the plot, the story points, the characters.”

Fukunaga revealed that while there were “anchor points that were important to the family to hit” in Craig’s final Bond outing, there was also “a very healthy debate” as to exactly how the story would unfold.

“It was actually really fascinating and I think one of the things I took away from it is how difficult it is to make these films, [and] tell these stories,” he said.

“I think a lot of audiences think it’s just a ‘plug and play’ thing and a computer, an AI program, could come up with one of these popcorn movie storylines, but the logic – making sure the logic works all the way through – is very tricky… and to still have it be entertaining and exhilarating, it takes a lot of thought, a lot of consideration, in terms of who the villain is, and what their goal is, and how that embroils Bond, and how it hits him on a personal level.

“I really actually enjoyed those story sessions. The different directions the story could’ve taken… there’s an infinite number of possibilities there.”

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA - APRIL 25: (L-R) Producer Michael G Wilson, actor Daniel Craig, producer Barbara Broccoli and actor Cary Joji Fukunaga attend the
(L-R) Producer Michael G Wilson, actor Daniel Craig, producer Barbara Broccoli and actor Cary Joji Fukunaga attend the “Bond 25” Film Launch at Ian Fleming’s Home “GoldenEye”, on April 25, 2019 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Known for his work on 2015 war drama Beasts of No Nation and helming the first season of HBO’s True Detective, Fukunaga said he was less concerned with putting his own stamp on the Bond franchise and more dedicated to ensuring that No Time To Die delivered a “satisfying” denouement to Craig’s tenure.

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Read more: No Time To Die’s stars address future of Bond and if we’ll see Q and Nomi again

“There are the kind of moments that the audience comes to expect: the action sequence that leads to the credits, the moment that M delivers a mission or Q gives him the gadgets, right? There’s a lot of those sort of things – the expectations that we knew we had to hit at some point, including when Bond has to say his own name, famously – and I think we’ve found really fun ways to play with tradition but also to keep it fresh.

“In terms of my own personal stamp on it, I wasn’t really too concerned about what I was going to be doing that was different, as much as what I was doing that was hopefully going to make it as satisfying a story as possible.

“I was very aware I was carrying on a tradition rather than trying to take it in a different direction, so I think my main goal was to just make a final chapter for Daniel’s run that felt like a real solid ending – and the challenge for me there was that endings are probably one of the hardest things to do… so how do you do that well? That’s all I thought about.”

No Time To Die will see Bond, retired following the events of 2015’s Spectre, return to active duty after his friend and CIA officer Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) enlists his help in the hunt for a missing scientist.

Soon, Bond encounters the villainous Safin (Rami Malek), who plots to kill millions and who appears to be in some way connected to 007’s beloved Madeline Swann (Léa Seydoux).

No Time To Die is released in cinemas in the UK on 30th September – visit our Movies hub for more news and features, or find something to watch with our TV Guide.