New James Bond ‘seems more real’

He’s a younger, blonder Bond, a cool customer with genuine acting chops. But most moviegoers share the same question about the next 007.

Who is Daniel Craig?

His biggest and best roles to date haven’t been in blockbusters, although he did do “Tomb Raider” duty with Angelina Jolie. The 6-foot, blue-eyed Englishman played a witness to a horrific air balloon accident in 2004s “Enduring Love.” He was a jealous, ill-tempered gangster in 2002’s “Road to Perdition,” and a highly professional coke dealer in this year’s “Layer Cake.” It was this last part that really showcased the stuff that Bonds are made of: Sly confidence, coolness under pressure, a nonchalant way of disposing with problems.

Nothing against Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan, or even George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton. They all put their stamp on one of film’s most prescribed parts.

But Craig just seems a little more … real. You felt his menace and lack of smarts in “Road to Perdition,” but you also felt his anguish at being overlooked by his gangster father (Paul Newman). He let you soak up his unflappable tenacity in “Layer Cake,” but he also allowed a view of the cracks in the facade when crisis called.