While fans of the James Bond franchise will be sad to see Daniel Craig depart the series after this year’s “No Time To Die”, his casting news was actually met with a lot of backlash.

Casting director Debbie McWilliams chatted with Entertainment Weekly about the casting the past three James Bonds and recalled the “awful” comments about Craig joining the franchise.

McWilliams is responsible for hiring Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Craig.

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“It was unbelievably negative, I have to say,” McWilliams said about the reaction to Craig as 007. “The press response was awful and I felt so sorry for him, but in a funny kind of a way I think it almost spurred him on to do his damndest to prove everybody wrong. The whole way through the film, stuff would come out about [how] he couldn’t walk and talk, he couldn’t run, he couldn’t drive a car properly, so much stuff which was completely and utterly untrue. And he just kept his head down, got on with the job and then the film came out and everybody went, ‘Oh wow, I think we quite like him after all.’”

She continued, “There was a massive search before he was cast and it had started out as a slightly different slant on things. Originally the story of ‘Casino Royale’ was meant to be a sort of new, young tryout growing into James Bond rather than the fully formed character, but we struggled to find anybody who could fill those shoes… then as time went by they decided, let’s just stick with the old formula and let’s look at it again. And that was after a long, long search and Daniel became the obvious choice to me in the end.”

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On bringing someone new to the movies, McWilliams said, “Craig’s going to be a tough act to follow.”

After multiple delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Craig’s last Bond film, “No Time To Die”, will hit big screens Oct. 8.