Daniel Craig says leaving Bond is very emotional, Léa Seydoux reveals she knew little of 007 before being cast, Rami Malek says going head-to-head with Daniel was intimidating, and Lashana Lynch jokes about the level of fitness needed to be a secret agent, while Ed Sheeran performs live in the studio.
On the first show of his new series, which starts from 5 October on BBC Brit (DStv channel 120), Graham welcomes the stars of the long-awaited James Bond movie No Time to Die. Together in the studio in front of a live audience are 007 himself, Daniel Craig, French star Léa Seydoux, British actor Lashana Lynch, and Oscar-winner Rami Malek. Global superstar Ed Sheeran completes the stellar line-up.
Daniel, talking about his final outing as 007, says, “At the end of Spectre I was very down on everything and I thought that was it, but I am really, really happy that I was given the opportunity to come back and do this. It wraps up a lot of the stories, and the chance to do just one more was wonderful.”
Asked if he is sad to be leaving, he says, “It’s everything. It’s been close to 16 years of my life, and it’s been incredible to do these films. Bond films don’t get made very often so to have this opportunity has been the biggest thing in my professional career obviously, but also one of the biggest things my life, so it is very emotional. I am glad I am ending it on my terms – I am grateful to the producers for allowing me to do that – but I will miss it.” Adding jokingly, “I will probably be incredibly bitter when the new person takes over!”
Talking about the release of the film after an 18 months delay, he says, “It’s a big deal. We originally closed down Times Square and then nothing. We’re in a brilliant position now as the studio held its nerve about a cinema release. It would have been a tragedy if it had been streamed.”
Revealing nothing about the plot, he says, “It’s shrouded in mystery because we’ve been delayed for so long and we were worried about it getting out so we locked it down. We haven’t shown it to anyone, but we are confident it is very good, and we want people to experience it in the cinema. There’s a lot going on in the movie, but I don’t want to give anything away. I can say we start where Spectre left off, Madeleine and Bond have gone off into the sunset … and then as usual the s**t hits the fan!”
Léa, talking about her role, and asked if she can reveal anything of the storyline, she says, “All I can say is that when it starts, they are in love and in Italy and everything is perfect.”
Asked if James Bond is iconic in France, and whether her family were excited for her being part of that world, she says, “Not at all! They don’t really know about him. I didn’t know about him. I thought, ‘Who is this guy?’”
Lashana, talking about performing stunts, says, “I went to the gym for three months beforehand, but I wasn’t prepared for the level of fitness. It was Ninja level! But I was one of the very few that didn’t injure anything.”
Revealing she crammed Bond films when she was cast, she says, “My dad keeps reminding me that we watched them together when I was about one, which I obviously don’t remember, so I watched all of them from Dr. No onwards but don’t ask me any questions on them!”
Rami, talking about playing Daniel’s final Bond villain, and asked if he knew what a big deal it would be, says, “Of course. Going toe-to-toe with him was huge and I knew that from the very start. I just knew I had to bring my A game and I think it worked out. We have a very special movie on our hands.”
Asked if he is intimidated by big roles, he says, “Not anymore, although seeing Daniel on the 007 stage in full James Bond mode made me drop a few lines!”
Ed performs Shivers from his new album live in the studio before joining Graham for a chat.
Asked if he has ever been asked to compose a Bond theme, he says, “There was some talk but it moved in a different direction. I’d always be up for it, and I have loads of ideas.”
Revealing that he produced the artwork for his new album, he says, “I took up painting in the Lockdown and found it gave me the same enjoyment as music but, as no one saw it and no one was paying for it, there was no judgement.”
And finally, the Big Red Chair is back as Graham pulls the lever on more foolhardy audience members brave enough to tell their funniest stories.
The Graham Norton Show, BBC Brit, Tuesday 5th October, 20:00.
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