BY GEOFF PEVERE

Any way you cut it, Daniel Craig’s last day as James Bond had to be better than Pierce Brosnan’s.

I know this because I had the dubious honour of interviewing Brosnan the very day he heard he was sacked from the role, and he was not happy. Clinically speaking, he was pissed.

I’d encountered this before: sometimes a big star knows the movie they’re out hawking is a stinker (and After the Sunset, our excuse for being in the same room together in the Bahamas in 2004, was certainly that). It was only after I mentioned to the publicist present that Mr. Brosnan seemed unusually testy that I learned.

“Oh boy,” I recall saying, “That’s no way to die.”

“And that’s a great title for the next Bond movie!” the publicist, clearly a glass-half-full sort, chirped.

Image Source: Instagram @007

As you can’t help but know by now, Daniel Craig has announced that No Time to Die (brand new preview clip below) – close enough to sting, by the way – would be his last turn as the baddest and best-dressed ass in all of Her Majesty’s Secret Service. He is the longest-serving virtual James Bond of them all, and he’s decided he’s had enough. Why? The wife, of course.

According to IMDB, the ‘truthiest’ of online movie sources, Craig’s wife, the actor Rachel Weisz, has complained the role is just too taxing for her 51-year-old husband.

According to the website, “A source has said that Weisz has lost sleep at night and cannot fathom seeing her husband getting injured on a big action movie shoot which she has allegedly nick-named ‘the boxing ring.’”

Far be it for me to weigh in on marital stress, but it’s not as though Craig is being cashiered on a stretcher.  On the contrary, his final exit will be in one of the sweetest rides in James Bond movie (or any movie) history.

Check this out, from Regarding Luxury: “If your budget is a little higher, Neiman Marcus has an option – one of seven limited Aston Martin DBS Superleggeras, custom designed in part by Daniel Craig (James Bond himself), at more than twice their regular price – $700,007.”

That’s right. You can drive home in one of Bond’s partly self-designed Aston Martin DVS Superleggeras if you’ve got the scratch. And if you do, you can fill your virtual shopping cart with much, much more.

According to Robb Report, “Other brands that have struck deals in hope of becoming synonymous with Bond’s suave demeanour and effortlessly stylish life include Omega and Aston Martin. Altogether, a staggering $96.7 million in deals is estimated to have been brokered for the next instalment of the film franchise.”

Nothing especially new here – except for the merch, of course. From the very beginning, Bond – or at least Bond accessories – have been for sale. Call the franchise an early adaptor on the product placement front, but the fact is Bond pioneered the art of the conspicuous, not-so-subliminal sales pitch.

Omega’s James Bond Limited Edition set featuring two special On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Seamaster Diver 300M timepieces. Image Source: Instagram @007

In a piece headlined “007 Might be the King of Product Placement,” Hollywood Branded lays out a timeline of stuff Bond has helped shill since 1962: Eveready, Red Stripe beer, Toblerone, Rolex, Canon, Panasonic, Camel cigarettes, Absolut, Swarovski, Gillette, even Scrabble. From Sean Connery’s first entrance as author Ian Fleming’s “blunt instrument of the state” in Dr. No, just about everything Bond has touched has turned into product.

Not every one of us can be Bond, but some of us can certainly buy Bond, or at least those of us with a cool three-quarter million to spend on toys. For the rest, we’ll have to make do with the knowledge the longest-running on-screen Bond will be driving home to his off-screen wife safe, sound and for sale.

James Bond holiday gift ideas on Amazon: Shaken: Drinking with James Bond and Ian Fleming, the Official Cocktail Book

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The James Bond Archives

The Ultimate James Bond Collection [Blu-ray]

Image Source: Instagram @007

Top image: Daniel Craig as James Bond, from Spectre, standing in front of an Aston Martin Lagonda., one of several luxury brands associated with the film franchise. Image source: Instagram @007