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Forming a strong bond

Updated: 2021-11-02 07:30 ( China Daily )
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No Time to Die, the latest installment of the James Bond franchise, is currently screening on the Chinese mainland. [Photo provided to China Daily]

He is back on Her Majesty's Secret Service. Except, of course, it's not that secret. It's actually showing at a screen near you. No Time to Die, Daniel Craig's final outing as James Bond, opened across Chinese mainland theaters on Oct 22, and is topping the country's box office.

As one of the world's longest-running franchises, the iconic British secret agent's missions have fascinated moviegoers for 59 years. But for most Chinese fans, their first experience of the hero who drinks his dry Martinis shaken, not stirred, was Casino Royale, the first Bond blockbuster released on the Chinese mainland in January 2007.

Coincidentally, Casino Royale, then a soaring global hit, out earning all previous 20 movies, was also Craig's first Bond movie, making his face, and pursed lips, the most familiar incarnation of Bond to most Chinese fans.

With five movies in 15 years, a longer tenure than his predecessors, Craig has made himself a Hollywood legend. From enduring huge stress to struggling with pain and injury, Craig has given a grittier, yet more resonating rendering of Bond, shifting the spy created by Ian Fleming from international playboy to a more humanized, fallible man of advancing age suffering trauma and inner struggle.

Discussing his tenure as Bond during an online interview with Chinese journalists, Craig says he feels "greatly relieved and very excited that the movie is going to be seen in China".

"A year ago, I couldn't have imagined that the movie would actually be in cinemas. I think we've all gone through something very difficult over the past 18 months, and cinemas seem to be so low down on the list of priorities. I'm just so grateful that people can go and watch the movie in the cinemas-where it should be-with a group of people," he says.

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