Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig plays Agent 007, James Bond, for the third time in "Skyfall." (Handout / November 8, 2012)

For 50 years, James Bond has used his license to kill and the coolest of gadgets to dispatch countless villains and, in the end, get the ubiquitous Bond girl.

In "Skyfall," Daniel Craig returns for the third time as the British intelligence operative in the 23rd official Bond adventure--one the actor and his director, Sam Mendes, consider an homage to past Bond films and to the books by Ian Fleming.

"We always go back to Fleming when we just sit and discuss," Craig said during a press conference at the Crosby Hotel in New York. "If you look at the novels, he's so conflicted. ... He's a killer. He kills for a living. It's really kind of a dark place he goes.

"I'm so proud that the writing is so good in this movie and the lightness of touch is back that we all wanted so much."

Mendes and screenwriter John Logan brought back the lightness--you'll see Bond's classic Aston Martin--but there's a lot of darkness as the story focuses on the complex relationship between Bond and his boss, M (Judi Dench), and her past with Javier Bardem's baddie, Raoul Silva.

Craig was once again stretched both emotionally and physically in the role. In addition to his standard Bond fisticuffs, Craig did mixed martial arts training and had to refine his backstroke. Bond falls from a bridge early in the film, which required Craig to spend some time under water. The avid scuba diver said he enjoyed the underwater scenes, but he wasn't thrilled about all the running Bond does.

"I had to do a lot of running in this movie, which I rather hate," the 44-year-old said. "Bond doesn't usually walk through a room. I'm going to have to change that."

Apparently, a wet Bond is a mandatory script element. According to producer Michael G. Wilson, producer Barbara Broccoli insists on it.

"Barbara always makes sure that there are scenes in the film where Daniel gets wet," Wilson said at the same press conference.

"Preferably with a little tiny pair of shorts," Broccoli joked, causing Craig to blush.

Craig talked as if he'd be squeezing into more swim trunks in the future--at least for Bond films 24 and 25. Although he appears to be enjoying the wild ride now, Craig admitted he resisted playing Bond at first.

"I was just a little bewildered that they would even come to me," Craig said of being hired to play 007 in "Casino Royale." "Of course, I was concerned about being typecast but when you weigh it out it's not such a bad thing to be typecast as James Bond, is it? I'm incredibly proud and lucky to be in the position I'm in here. Soon as we get the script, I'll be really up for doing 24."

Maybe he'll be back in another Aston Martin, too.

"It's a gag, but it's a good gag," he said. "The car is beautiful and everybody loves it. You might find another one--you never know."
Miki Turner is a RedEye special contributor.

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page