The British-American actor took over as 007 in 2006, from Pierce Brosnan, who starred as the secret agent in GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002).
Campbell, who had worked with Brosnan on the actor’s 1995 James Bond debut, later returned for the franchise’s new 007 launch in 2006.
“He was really a superb actor, there’s no doubt about that,” the New Zealand director said of Craig in a recent interview with The Daily Express, but “it was the fact that with people like Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan was that they were all traditional looking Bonds”.
“All handsome guys, all sexy, all very attractive to women and so forth,” Campbell added. “Daniel was obviously tougher and ruggeder, but he wasn’t a traditional handsome guy.
“So I just thought about that for a minute and apart from that, absolutely it was always him.”
Campbell said that Craig had beat out eight other actors, including a young Henry Cavill, to be Brosnan’s replacement.
Of the “very democratic” selection process, the director explained: “You sit around a table… It was myself and the producers, casting director, etc. And you go through the eight people and you put your hand up as you talk through each person and ultimately everybody has to be unanimous in their decision, if you see what I mean.”
The Knives Out star, 55, has gone on to feature as Bond in five movies: Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015) and No Time to Die (2021).
Among the leading candidates to play the world’s most famous spy are Kraven the Hunter star Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page and Happy Valley’s James Norton – according to the bookmakers, that is.
Casting director Debbie McWilliams recently ruled out younger actors from the role as they “didn’t have the mental capacity” for the iconic part.
British actor Idris Elba, meanwhile, has taken himself out of contention for the coveted film role after he said that the “disgusting and off-putting” discourse around race had put him off.
“Those that weren’t happy about the idea made the whole thing disgusting and off-putting, because it became about race,” he said on the Smartless podcast, adding: “It became about nonsense and I got the brunt of it.”