'Skyfall' premiere brings out the glamour and the stars
JAMES Bond star Daniel Craig declared tonight's red carpet launch of Skyfall his greatest 007 premiere yet as the film series celebrated its 50th anniversary.
The actor, playing the agent for a third time, was the first of the film's stars to arrive at the Royal Albert Hall for the royal premiere.
Craig, wearing a Tom Ford suit, said he was "incredibly proud" to once more be playing the suave hero created by Ian Fleming, who first appeared on the big screen in Dr No in 1962.
Three months after he played a part in the Olympic opening ceremony alongside the Queen, Craig was due to meet her son the Prince of Wales who was the royal guest at the screening.
"I've never been to a premiere like this, it's incredible," he said as he arrived at the venue, where guests filed past a huge gold 007 logo and a classic Aston Martin.
He was joined by fellow stars Naomie Harris, Javier Bardem - who plays Bond's nemesis Silva - and Ben Whishaw, who stars as Q.
Bardem said he was always drawn to Bond villains after seeing the metal-toothed baddie Jaws in Moonraker as a youngster.
Asked about the enduring appeal of the films, he said: "Well, 50 years is a long time. That means they have been doing something really right, starting with the actors who have played Bond. They have all brought their own flavour to it."
Oscar-winning American Beauty film-maker Sam Mendes was brought on board for the latest film, after Craig boldly invited him to work on it.
Also among the hundreds of guests filtering into the Albert Hall was Dame Judi Dench who returns once again as secret service boss M.
Praising tonight's lavish launch, Craig told the BBC: "There's nothing quite like it. This feels even more special than the ones that have gone before for me."
He revealed it had been important to get some of the humour seen in previous Bond films back for Skyfall.
The 44-year-old actor said: "I always wanted to get the old Bond trademarks into the movie, and we had the chance.
"It was just a joy to put some of the gags in and get some of the old characters back. I think they're very important."
He added: "I think Sam Mendes has made a very beautiful movie, first and foremost, but it really is a great Bond movie."
Oscar-winning director Mendes admitted he had had doubts about Craig's suitability to play the famous spy.
He said: "I thought he might be wrong to play the part, I thought he might be the wrong casting. And it took me about 30 seconds of Casino Royale to realise: wrong.
"He's a brilliant Bond and he completely changed it. He hasn't made it better or worse, he regenerated it."
The American Beauty director confessed he had never considered directing a Bond film until Craig himself suggested it.
He revealed: "It wasn't until Daniel asked me 'do you fancy doing a Bond movie?' and I had a feeling immediately, and I'm so glad he asked me the question."
Dame Judi Dench, 77, has played MI6 boss M in seven Bond films, starting with GoldenEye opposite Pierce Brosnan in 1995.
She revealed how honoured she was to be part of Skyfall in the series' 50th anniversary year.
Dame Judi said: "I'd like to be in the list of people who've been in the franchise, I must say, and I hope it lasts for another 50 years."