- Clive Owen, King Arthur, 2003. Succeeding Michael Bay as director, Antoine Fuqua wanted Craig as the king. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer insisted on Owen - because “he was going to be the new James Bond” and that would add extra life to the royal DVD. But, of course, Craig became the next Bond.
- James Purefoy, Vanity Fair, 2003. They battled it out to be Rawdon Crawley. (You can never go wrong with a Crawley). They also battled (but not against each other) to be James Bond. Purefoy lost GoldenEye, 1994; Craig won Casino Royale, 2005.
- Robert Downey Jr. Zodiac, 2006. Who should play the ace journo hunting the serial killer - James Bond or Iron Man? Craig was director David Fincher’s first choice for reporter Paul Avery in what Chicago critic Roger Ebert called “ the All the President’s Men of serial killer movies, with Woodward and Bernstein played by a cop and a cartoonist. It's not merely ‘based’ on California's infamous Zodiac killings, but seems to exude the very stench and provocation of the case.”
- Mark Ruffalo, Blindness, Canada-Brazil-Japan, 2007. Too busy to play the Doctor fighting a “white blindness” epidemic.
- Simon Pegg, Star Trek, 2008. Starting all over with the 11th Trek… Producer-director-rebooter JJ Abrams talked with Craig about becoming the new Scotty. No thanks, one franchise is enough. Next? Ricky Gervais and Paul McGillon also beamed out.
- Jackie Earle Haley, Watchmen, 2008. Not so much “Who watches the watchmen?” as Aristotle asked, but who them playeth? And in the 20 years it took for Alan Moore’s DComic-book to be filmed, directors came and went - Darren Aronofsky, Michael Bay, Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Paul Greengrass. So did their choices for Walter Kovacs aka Rorschach, the masked vigilante: Craig, John Hurt, Doug Hutchinson, Simon Pegg, Sean Penn, Robin Williams - and the prerequisite outsider, Richard Hansard. Unknown then. And now.
- Ewan McGregor, The Ghost Writer, 2009. At first, two Brits only (Craig and Hugh Grant) were up for the British writer of a UK Prime Minister’s memoirs. Craig had a Broadway date and passed on Roman Polanski’s tired, vapid thriller.
- Nicolas Cage, Kick-Ass, 2009. Dan and Mark Wahlberg were also invited to be Big Daddy.
- Chris Hemsworth, Thor, 2010. Hey, one super hero was enough! Playing the Marvel comicbook hero and James Bond, Craig told director Kenneth Branagh, would be “too much of a power-trip.” Also in contention were the future Loki, RoboCop, Tarzan and Magic Mike: Tom Hiddleston, Joel Kinnaman, Alexander Skarsgård, Channing Tatum. Plus baby brother Liam Hemsworth, Charlie Hunnam, Paul Levesque, Tyler Mane, Brad Pitt.
- Ben Drew, The Sweeney, 2011. Damien Lewis, Ewan McGregor were far too expensive for Detective Constable George Carter in the totally unnecessary re-hash of the 1975-1978 Thames TV series about the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad. (Or, Sweeney Todd in Cockney rhyming slang). Drew, aka rapper Plan B, was also a director.
- Josh Brolin, Oldboy, 2012. During the chequered history of re-making Chan-Woo Park’s 2003 South Korean international breakthrough, Oldeuboi - as directors switched from the Fast and Furious ace Justin Lee to Steven Spielberg and, finally, Spike Lee - Craig passed an the ad man kidnapped for 20 years in solitary confinement. As did Spielberg’s intended star, Will Smith.
- George Clooney, Gravity, 2013. When Robert Downey Jr ejected from the science fiction marvel (“technology and Robert are incompatible,” explained Alfonso Cuaron), the Mexican auteur talked “with a bunch of people” for astronaut Matt Kowalski - Kevin Costner, Daniel Craig, Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks (he loves astronauts, right?), John Travolta, Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis. Most backed off, annoyed that the woman astronaut, Sandra Bullock, had most of the film entirely to herself. In Craig’s case, she might have been his wife, Rachel Weisz.
- Matt Damon, The Monuments Men, 2013. James Bond was succeeded by Jason Bourne… Craig’s diary was always too full (and empty in places expecting the next Bond dates). And so the writer-director-star George Clooney called Damon. That’s what friends are for, right ?
Keanu Reeves, The Whole Truth, 2014. If your star splits a week week before Action! and that start was Craig, who do you get to take over the courtroom thriller. Why Reeves, of course. What a stupido question. Really, Keanu Reeves?!!