Actors don’t just get a fictional license to kill when they’re cast as British superagent James Bond. They get a career boost unlike any other.
What other franchise can transform an ordinary lug into a hero capable of bedding multiple hotties and saving the world – all in under two hours? But so far new Bond Daniel Craig has yet to take advantage of one of the best gigs in the movie business.
Craig’s latest movie, “Dream House,” arrived DOA in theaters over the weekend, and critics weren’t even allowed a glimpse at the film before its release. The flop comes on the heels of “Cowboys & Aliens,” the summer tentpole wannabe which also underwhelmed with critics and crowds alike.
Heard any talk of a “Cowboys & Aliens II?” Me neither.
Craig’s other post-Bond roles, “Defiance,” “The Golden Compass” and “The Invasion,” didn’t make an impression on audiences despite big budgets and capable co-stars.
The craggy-faced star doesn’t want for talent. The underrated crime drama “Layer Cake” proved that. And, in an age of metrosexual leading men, Craig brings a virility to his work that’s impossible to deny. Just ask the ladies who marveled over his choice of swimwear in “Casino Royale,” his first Bond outing.
But Craig isn’t the only Bond to struggle outside the spy franchise.
Pierce Brosnan left his TV career behind for good when he was cast as 007 in 1995’s “GoldenEye,” but his post-Bond life found him slipping into supporting work. Brosnan may not be able to “carry” a film these days, but he’s shrewdly positioned himself as an older, but still remarkably handsome, character actor who can do dramas and comedy with panache. And given his age – he’s closing in on 60 – that’s a pretty sweet spot to occupy in age-obsessed Hollywood.
He just can’t sing a lick, if “Mamma Mia!” is any indication.
Two-time Bond star Timothy Dalton’s post-franchise career proved far less successful, in part because many never warmed up to his take on the iconic film role .
Craig does have a chance at rebranding his career this winter. He’ll star in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” the hotly anticipated film version of author Stieg Larsson’s bestseller. Director David Fincher, fresh from his triumphant 2010 film “The Social Network” could be just the person to tease something more out of Craig than we’ve seen so far.