Film & TV

Inside Daniel Craig's Mind: An Art Critic Examines the Doodle We Stole From James Bond

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For answers, we spoke to Faheem Haider, a painter, art critic for Chronogram magazine and painting instructor at SUNY New Paltz. Haider has one more credential worth noting: he, too, has had an awkward encounter with Daniel Craig.

"There's a gallery here in the Hudson Valley called One Mile Gallery, a good gallery," Haider tells Cultist. "Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig - I wouldn't say they live here but they maintain a home not too far away. I was reviewing a show of drawings and paintings there and who should happen to come by but Rachel Weisz and James Bond.

"He was in a driving cap, in a tightly cut t-shirt, a pair of pants of some sort and shoes. He's my size, so nothing impressive about him. Very quiet and stoic."

As an artist, Haider is a keen observer of the human condition. We asked for his initial impressions of Craig before showing him the drawing.

"Very quiet and stoic," he repeats. "He's very self-possessed but it's the kind of self-possession that seems to connote not contentment, not peace but this kind of fortitude that comes from saying, 'My mode of operation is a big old fuck you to the world. I'm quiet because that's what works for me.'"

And that awkward run-in?

"This is when I used to drink. I've quit drinking. But I was drinking and happened to be standing next to him, so I asked him what he thought of the work. He kind of grunted and didn't say very much. He seemed uninterested. Not in the specificity of the painting but in conversation.

"So I introduced myself to James Bond and said, "Hi, I'm the art critic for blah blah blah and -' He said, 'No, no. It's all right. No interviews.' And I told him I was just curious about his opinion, not for any sort of interview. 'No, we don't do these things,' he said. 'Well, if you want to have a conversation, I'll be around,' I said, just because I was amused he wouldn't even talk to a person standing next to him. 'No, no conversations,' he said. So I walked away."

Okay, now that we're all squared away on context, let's get to Haider's expert opinion.

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B. Caplan