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Last Updated: Friday, 14 October 2005, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
Daniel Craig: Our Friend in MI6
Daniel Craig and Sienna Miller
Craig starred with Sienna Miller in Layer Cake
The search for a new 007 to fill the tuxedo vacated by Pierce Brosnan is over - with little known actor Daniel Craig chosen by producers. But just who is the new face of James Bond?

Daniel Craig, according to the Washington Post, has been "around for a few years, waiting to happen".

But now that he is the world's most famous spy one can say with some certainty that Daniel Craig has indeed "happened".

He is not a complete unknown, but his roles in films such as Layer Cake - in which he played the enigmatic XXXX - have been noticed more by critics than by audiences.

But rumours of a relationship with current tabloid favourite Sienna Miller have at least brought him to the attention of the readers of some newspapers.

Depicted as the white knight come to rescue Miller after her break-up with fellow actor Jude Law - once a 007 contender himself - it is clear the Bond producers have a keen eye on populist feeling and potential marketing.

But what has won Craig the role as Britain's secret agent of agents?

Four years ago James Bond casting director Debbie McWilliams - who is working on the new film Casino Royale - said in an interview Bond had to be "devastatingly handsome, incredibly fit and available".

Daniel Craig
The actor also appeared in the mini-series Archangel

To many Craig would tick all those boxes and more, yet other observers have picked up on the actor's blond hair.

Bond has been portrayed by dark-haired actors for the last 40 years and was described as having "dark hair" by Fleming himself.

Bond purists may balk at the choice but it is worth noting that Fleming's description of the spy also included a three-inch, vertical scar on his left cheek.

McWilliams also said the role would go to someone "less well known" than actor Russell Crowe, who was also reportedly once in the mix.

Craig again ticks all the boxes; his most high-profile role to date was in the first Tomb Raider film, alongside Angelina Jolie.

Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig
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Raider was a moderate success, as was his role as poet Ted Hughes in the biopic Sylvia, and as the mysterious XXXX in Layer Cake he garnered good reviews for his performance.

Importantly, while he is not a household name in the US, critics warmed to his acting talent in the gritty British thriller.

Born in Chester, north-west England, in 1968, he is four years younger than Pierce Brosnan was when he agreed to become Bond.

He left school at 16 and joined the National Youth Theatre and from there won a place at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Dance.

Like many British actors, his first professional screen work was on television with small one-off roles in series such as Boon, Heartbeat and Drop the Dead Donkey.

Daniel Craig
Craig in his breakthrough role in Our Friends in the North

His breakthrough role was as Geordie Peacock in the nine-part TV series Our Friends in the North, playing a hard man with a troubled past.

But since the turn of the century he has mainly focused on film with standout roles in Sylvia, Enduring Love and Road to Perdition.

He has recently finished filming with Steven Spielberg on his film Munich, about the aftermath of the terrorist attacks at the 1972 Olympics.

And his latest role is as real-life killer Perry Smith, who was immortalised in Truman Capote's book In Cold Blood.

Craig's transition from essentially a character actor to the head of a global franchise will be an interesting one to follow.

The actor himself is aware of the challenges.

"It's a big machine and it makes a lot of money," he has said in a recent interview.

He has also said, before the announcement was made, that he would want to bring more "emotional depth to the character".

"I'd like to see it go back to the books. I think they (the films) need to be dirtier."

So what kind of Bond will Craig make?

The Washington Post film critic described Craig as "the next Steve McQueen".

"He has McQueen's way of dominating without bullying. He's also handsome in a rugged way, thin and strong," wrote journalist Stephen Hunter.

Steve McQueen as James Bond? Now that's casting.

Hear how the first blond Bond wants to handle his role


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