This November, Daniel Craig undertakes some sleuthing in Knives Out, joining an all-star cast for writer-director Rian Johnson’s highly anticipated whodunit.
He plays suave private investigator Benoit Blanc, who is summoned to a vast mansion to solve the mysterious death of wealthy crime writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Did someone within Harlan’s warring and fractious family murder him? That’s where the fun begins, not least because the ensemble is outstanding – Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Colette, Don Johnson, Chris Evans and Michael Shannon are among those playing the suspects.
When you think of Daniel Craig, it’s likely the famous James Bond theme starts playing in your head – indeed, this is inevitable with 25th Bond movie No Time To Die being released next year.
But Craig has enjoyed a long and robust career outside of the long-running franchise. Here’s our pick of his seven most interesting movies – plus a special appearance you may not be aware of…
1. Road to Perdition (2002)
Playing Connor Rooney
Before he became an international star, Craig would make an impact opposite two icons of the silver screen in Sam Mendes’s Depression-era drama.
Craig plays Connor, the bitter and cowardly son of crime boss John Rooney (the late Paul Newman), who sets in motion the events that lead to mob heavy Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) and his son (Tyler Hoechlin) fleeing for their lives.
Having made his Hollywood blockbuster debut in Tomb Raider a year before, this role gave Craig a chance to showcase his depth as an actor, going toe-to-toe with Newman in a series of incredibly tense moments.
2. Layer Cake (2004)
Craig’s role in Layer Cake is seen by many as his unofficial 'audition' for 007. Indeed, it became very easy to see him in the famous tuxedo after this role as a drug dealer struggling to leave his murky business behind.
The actor plays his unnamed role as an intelligent man trying to anticipate the moves of unpredictable foes, in a film full of action and menace with a killer soundtrack. The film also features a young Tom Hardy, an actor who has often been tipped to succeed Craig as Bond.
3. Munich (2005)
Steven Spielberg’s Munich is a hard-hitting drama portraying Operation Wrath of God, an act of vengeance by the Israeli government for the Black September killings at the 1972 Olympics in Berlin.
Part of an incredible cast that includes Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush and Matthieu Almaric, Craig plays South African car specialist Steve, who has a vital part in the perilous espionage mission.
4. Cowboys and Aliens (2011)
Playing Jake Lonergan
Working with director Jon Favreau (Iron Man, The Lion King), Craig plays an outlaw with amnesia who must defend a town in the Old West from an alien invasion.
Working opposite screen legend Harrison Ford, he seems absolutely at home as a Western gunslinger, taking the character seriously despite the wild premise of the movie. An ambitious and overlooked movie, it’s one to check out for Craig completists.
5. The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
Playing Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine/ Red Rackham
Another villainous performance for Craig, playing a flamboyant ship collector who is on the tail of the intrepid Tintin (Jamie Bell). It’s Craig’s second collaboration with Steven Spielberg, and the first time the actor portrays a character via motion capture, whereby his physical performance is replicated as a CGI creation (think Gollum in Lord of the Rings).
It’s a chance to see Craig become a dastardly villain in an adventure that has been compared to Spielberg’s very own Indiana Jones franchise.
6. Logan Lucky (2017)
Playing Joe Bang
Steven Soderbergh’s deep-fried heist movie gave Craig the chance to do something very different. He portrays Joe Bang, a hardened criminal with peroxide blond hair and formidable demolition abilities – and yet this is no serious drama. Rather, Craig gives fans a rare opportunity to witness his comic chops, as he plays brilliantly off wry co-stars Adam Driver and Channing Tatum.
AND COMING SOON...
7. Knives Out (released 27th November)
Playing Benoit Blanc
When a rich author is found dead and his relatives are all suspected of killing him, who better to call in than James Bo... err, we mean Detective Benoit Blanc?
With a thick Southern accent and a flair for the dramatic, Craig’s character is somewhat removed from the famous spy, but the role certainly plays on the actor’s charisma and dry humour. Will Blanc get to the bottom of this seemingly impossible case? We’ll find out soon enough – and don't forget about our Cineworld Unlimited screening of Knives Out on 25th November.
AND A SPECIAL MENTION...
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
Playing FN-1824 (uncredited)
Did you know that Craig plays the Stormtrooper whom Rey (Daisy Ridley) manipulates with her Jedi mind trick? Apparently, Craig was at Pinewood Studios in production on James Bond movie Spectre, and agreed to don the famous white costume.
It’s a fun little appearance and puts Craig in a select club of actors who have been part of both the James Bond and Star Wars franchises. Others include Sir Christopher Lee, Boba Fett actor Jeremy Bulloch and, most recently, Mads Mikkelsen.
What's your favourite Daniel Craig performance? Tweet us your choices @Cineworld.
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James Luxford is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.