Daniel Craig has admitted that saying he would “rather slash my wrists” than play James Bond again appeared “ungrateful” but that the comment was made as a joke.
The British star, 53, made the comment in an interview in 2015 after finishing previous 007 movie Spectre, having broken his leg during filming.
He is due to retire his licence to kill after the release of the highly anticipated No Time To Die.
Craig told Radio Times: “To be completely honest, I was thinking: I don’t know if I can do another one of these.
“I finished filming Spectre with a broken leg.
“To your point about being in my 50s now, I thought, ‘Do I have this in me? Do I want to go through all of this?’ I needed a break.”
He added: “But a little more skill in the answer might have been better.
“I was joking, but it came across as ungrateful.”
The franchise’s longtime producer, Barbara Broccoli, defended the actor and said: “That was our fault.
“It had been a long shoot. He’d had an injury. And then we said, ‘Why don’t you just do a week of press at the end of the shoot?’
“This would be like saying to somebody, when they’ve run a marathon, as they cross the finish line, ‘When are you running your next one?’ It was our fault.”
It remains unclear who will take over the role of Bond, with speculation an actress or person of colour may be chosen for the role.
When asked if he would support a diverse appointment as his replacement, Craig said: “The answer to that is very simple.
“There should simply be better parts for women and actors of colour.
“Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?”
Craig said the addition of Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge to the writing team was to “spice it up” but she was a Bond fan so “she wasn’t about to take him in a different direction”.
No Time To Die premieres at the Royal Albert Hall on September 28 and is released in UK cinemas on September 30.
Read the full interview in Radio Times, out now.