Director Claire Denis has crafted an odd, affecting, and totally taboo piece of indie sci-fi with her new film High Life. Some of that is because Denis is a legend, but some must be due to the cast she gathered — including her lead, Robert Pattinson. Pattinson took a hard turn post-Twilight into the world of art cinema and High Life is no exception to that transition. But the film could’ve had a much different vibe if one of the people vying for the lead role got the part. Apparently Daniel Craig, 007 himself, was once in contention.
According to an interview with TotalFilm, Denis’ film went through plenty of casting changes over its long time lingering in pre-production, with the likes of Vincent Gallo, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Patricia Arquette considered, wished for, or temporarily hired. Denis even ditched her writing partners, Nick Laird and Zadie Smith, because “we were so opposed on every idea.” “There was not a word we should share,” the director said. Some of this same polarizing attitude transferred to the casting process, as James Bond was briefly considered.
Denis didn’t seek Craig out. She was “asked to consider” him. And, of course, “that would mean another type of film,” Denis said. But she still took the meeting. She traveled to Pinewood Studios (where they shoot Star Wars) to speak with Craig. “I think he had completely forgotten about me,” Denis said. “I went to Pinewood Studio, he was finishing James Bond. His agent was there. I’m not sure he was really interested.”
Whether she’s referring to Craig or his agent in that last sentence is unclear, but regardless, it clearly didn’t work out. Craig is still pretty caught up in the super spy blockbuster game and perhaps won’t be ready for the indie circuit until that chapter of his career is finally closed with Bond 25 — if it indeed does close when the film hits theaters on April 8, 2020.
High Life takes a former vampire, not a secret agent, into space when it hits theaters April 12.