James Bond fans can breathe easy. Daniel Craig is keeping his license to kill for at least two more movies.
Craig, who has played Bond since 2006’s well-regarded franchise reboot “Casino Royale,” was initially under contract for only three films. That carried him through 2008’s disappointing “Casino” follow-up “Quantum of Solace” and the upcoming “Skyfall” — which will be released in November after an unusually long break in the series due to MGM’s financial troubles.
Now Craig is committed to two more, as reported by fan site MI6 and confirmed by Deadline. Sony Pictures will also continue their relationship with the secret agent, co-financing with MGM and distributing the films.
The untitled and still in development projects would mark the 24th and 25th official films in the Bond series, with tentative target releases in 2014 and 2016. Upon completion, they would make Craig the third most prolific Bond on screen. Roger Moore starred in seven Bond films, Sean Connery starred in six (plus one “unofficial” Bond film, “Never Say Never Again,” made by a different production company), and Craig’s direct predecessor, Pierce Brosnan, starred in four.
While there may have been some question how long Craig would want to stay with the role, the deal seems like a no-brainer. The British-born actor was most recently seen on screen in box office hit “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” but also has a string of commercial disappointments on his post-“Casino” resume, including “Cowboys & Aliens,” “The Golden Compass,” “Dream House” and “The Invasion.”
Meanwhile, “Skyfall” has emerged as one of the most anticipated films of the fall. It’s directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”) and co-stars Javier Bardem, Judi Dench and Ralph Fiennes. It will be the first Bond released on IMAX screens and opens in the U.K. on Oct. 26 ahead of a Nov. 9 opening in the U.S.