As the star of two of the biggest movie franchises in the world, Daniel Craig’s political endorsement would be a high profile coup. That being said, don’t expect to see him stumping on a campaign trail anytime soon. As the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “James Bond” star tells Men’s Journal, he is quite wary of politicians despite their frequent overtures to celebrities.
“Tony Blair started it much more than anybody’s ever done. ‘Go and have tea at 10 Downing Street,'” he said of the former British Prime Minister. “It becomes ‘Mephisto,'” Craig continued, alluding to the famous book about an actor who ingratiates himself to Nazis in hope of winning a prized part.
“You immediately are aligning yourself with a political party. Politicians are sh*theads,” Craig asserted. “That’s how they become politicians, even the good ones. We’re actors, we’re artists, we’re very nice to each other. They’ll turn around and stab you in the f*cking back.”
Blair was well-known for the regular celebrity guest list he entertained at his home. During his initial campaign in 1997, Blair cultivated support from and made appearances with some of the top British celebrities at the time, and continued the practice throughout his time in power. One the stars he met during the 1997 “Cool Britannia” campaign, Oasis’s Noel Gallagher, later ripped Blair for being manipulative.
“The fact that a guy who’d been in a band, owned an electric guitar and has probably had a spliff was Prime Minister really meant something, after years of John Major and Margaret Thatcher. He just might be one of us,” he told one interviewer (via the Daily Mail). “In hindsight, it turned out he was just a politician like all the rest. I was brought up as a Labour voter and it was euphoric when they got into power. I didn’t realize it wasn’t New Labour at all – it was the Tories dressed in red.”
The intertwining of celebrity and politics is perhaps more prominent in the United States, where Hollywood participation reached record highs when, during the 2008 campaign, actors, musicians and other artists came out en force for then-Senator Barack Obama’s campaign for president. Recently, one of the President’s most prominent celebrity campaigners, Matt Damon, had harsh words of disappointment for Obama’s time in office. In fact, Hollywood had a banner year in 2011 when it came to warring with politicians.
For his part, Craig thinks that it requires a certain mastery of issues and one’s own tongue to make political statements as a celebrity, pointing to actor/activist George Clooney as an example of someone who has what it takes to do so.
“George has his finger on the political pulse, and he’s one of those guys who can get up and talk, and I don’t have that,” he says. “If someone shoves a microphone in your face and says, ‘Explain yourself,’ you have to have a 100 percent understanding of why you’re doing it, and unless you’re 100 percent, don’t f*cking do it, leave it alone, let your work speak for itself.”
That isn’t to say Craig doesn’t have a political side. Having grown up in Liverpool amidst the poverty inflicted by Margaret Thatcher’s spending cuts, he spent much of his time in leftist community theater, and still holds many of those values today. Incidentally, his step brother is a leading conservative economics leader and adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron.
Given Craig’s no-nonsense straight talk, one might say he’d actually be a voter’s dream, if he ever decides to run. Safe to say that won’t be happening any time soon. He will, however, be perhaps serving the nation of Britain as James Bond for years and years to come.
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