Daniel Craig, a blond Bond?


Now we know we're hitting the big time: James Bond has been seen on the streets of Baltimore and will be stationed here for at least another few weeks.

British actor Daniel Craig, set to be introduced as the next 007 at a London news conference today, has been in Baltimore since late last month. He's playing opposite Nicole Kidman in The Visiting, a film about invading aliens - it'll be the fourth screen adaptation of Jack Finney's 1955 novel, Invasion of the Body Snatchers - that is largely being filmed here and in Washington. Work on the film began Sept. 26 and is expected to last 45 days.

Craig, who played a hit man's psychotic son in Road to Perdition and British poet Ted Hughes in Sylvia, was not on the Visiting set yesterday, as filming continued in Homeland.

The blond Craig, 37, seemingly came out of nowhere to win the coveted role of England's most famous, not to mention rakish, spy. Just last month, online ticket-seller Fandango published the results of a survey that asked fans who they wanted to see as Bond, and Craig placed last, with 1 percent of the vote. More popular choices included Jason Statham (The Transporter), with 33 percent, and Clive Owen (Closer), with 23 percent.

Jude Law's name had also figured prominently in speculation - ironic, perhaps, since Law and Craig were reportedly good friends until Craig had a fling last month with Sienna Miller, Law's ex-fiancee, who was angry that Law had been caught cheating on her with his kids' nanny. (No more tangled webs are woven than those involving movie stars.)

Craig doesn't appear to have been the crowd favorite on the other side of the Atlantic, either. A poll by London's Evening Standard, asking if Craig would make a good Bond, had 70 percent of those responding saying "No."

Craig will be the seventh actor to play Ian Fleming's iconic secret agent, following Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, David Niven (who played him in the 1967 spoof, Casino Royale) and, most recently, Pierce Brosnan, who was dropped for unspecified reasons after four films.

Production on the next Bond film, a serious take on Casino Royale (the Fleming book that introduced Bond), is expected to begin early next year.

Craig will bring something new to the franchise. Unless he dyes his hair, he'll be the first blond Bond, a piece of trivia that already has led to plenty of clever twists-of-phrase in media on both sides of the Atlantic, including "Blond Bondshell" and "Blond, James Blond."

Expect many more.

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