NEW YORK: Daniel Craig, the British actor who famously complained he´d rather slash his wrists than play James Bond a fifth time, has finally confirmed he´s returning as 007 after all… one last time.
The New York Times first reported last month that the 49-year-old´s return to the big screen in 2019 was a “done deal” for the 25th movie in a franchise that has thrilled generations of cinemagoers.
But the actor had previously stopped short of confirming the reports.
“I´ve been quite cagey about it,” he admitted Tuesday to US television host Stephen Colbert on CBS´s “The Late Show.”
“I´ve been doing interviews all day and people have been asking me and think I´ve been rather coy, but I kind of felt like if I was going to speak the truth, I should speak the truth to you,” he said.
Asked if he was returning as Bond, Craig replied: “Yes” before standing up and shaking Colbert´s hand with a grin.
“I couldn´t be happier,” he added.
But the star said it would be his last outing as the fictional British secret agent: “I think this is it. This is it. I just want to go out on a high note.”
Craig´s return had been subject to furious speculation for years.
In 2015, he told Time Out magazine: “I´d rather break this glass and slash my wrists… We´re done. All I want to do is move on.”
He has since distanced himself from those remarks, attributing them to being tired straight after a grueling shoot for the 2015 Bond movie “Spectre.”
“Instead of saying something with style and grace, I gave a really stupid answer,” he told Colbert.
Asked how long he had known he would be back for a fifth Bond, Craig said it had “been a couple of months.”
“I always wanted to, I needed a break.”
Bond is set return to US cinemas on November 8, 2019 with an earlier release in Britain and worldwide, says Eon Productions, which oversees everything Bond, and Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, which holds rights to the franchise.
Craig is the seventh actor to play Bond, following Sean Connery, Roger Moore, David Niven, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.