Dean Dunlevy

Having been born in 1989, Pierce Brosnan was the Bond that i grew up with. He was my favorite 007, and remained so for at least a decade of my life. Whenever the name James Bond entered my head, his image was the one that would appear. From countless hours playing the Goldeneye game to seeing my first Bond film on the big screen in the form of Die Another Day. Then the long hiatus happened from 2002 to 2006 just as my Bond fandom was growing.

It was during those four years that my attraction to the character of Bond and his world really skyrocketed.

Then in 2005 some blonde guy who I only recognized from the abysmal Tomb Raider film become the new 007, and like many others around the world whose image of Bond is defined by that of Pierce or Sean, I was a bit skeptical at first. This skepticism was totally blown away when I saw the first teaser trailer for Casino Royale, the final 30 seconds of which contained things i could see never see Pierce doing like jumping off a crane onto another crane, kicking down a door, and judging by his appearance in Die Another Day, pulling of those now iconic blue swimming trunks.

meeting daniel craig

"Hey…aren't you Dean Dunleavy?"

To cut to the chase, Daniel Craig both shattered and redefined my image of how I saw James Bond to where Pierce Brosnan now looks like a limp-wristed, namby-pamby in comparison.

In 2009, Daniel Craig joined Hugh Jackman for a two man-show on Broadway in NYC called “A Steady Rain”. Living only an hour away from the Big Apple I jumped at the chance to be able to see my favorite Bond in person. Me and my family (all big Craig-Bond fans, especially my mom for obvious reasons) luckily were able to secure tickets to a showing in November when I would be home from college for Thanksgiving break, which was towards the end of the shows run.

So when the day arrived, we boarded a bus and headed to NYC. When we arrived a few hours before our showing my family split up, both my older brother and dad hit some shops on Times Square while me and my mom awaited at the stage door for Craig and Jackman’s arrival.

To my surprise there were no fences to stand behind and only about 3 other people besides us there waiting for their arrival.

It was at this point that my heart began beating at an increasing rapid pace as the time drew closer to their arrival. I’ve seen celebrities before and don’t really get star-struck by them, but this was different because Craig played a character that like so many people around the world, I have such strong feelings towards. Then, having waited for about 45 minutes in the freezing New York weather, a black SUV with tinted windows pulled up right in front of the stage door. My heart was nearly beating out of my chest as I hurriedly prepared my camera and with moments to spare, my mind went blank as I heard the SUV’s door open on the opposite side, I was seconds away from seeing James Bond in the flesh. The door shut and i saw through the tinted windows a man wearing a baseball cap walking around to our side.

This is it i thought, don’t screw it up, your chance to meet James Bond himself.

Hugh Jackman???

Hugh Jackman arrived first and walked right past me into the stage door to get ready for the play. To be honest, I like Hugh Jackman; he’s been in some good films and comes across as a really nice guy which I witnessed in person, but I wasn’t there for him. So I regained myself and mentally prepared for Craig’s arrival. No later then 15 minutes passed when another black SUV with tinted windows pulled up, some light passed through the SUV and I instantly recognized the side profile of its passenger, 007 himself.

It was at this moment i became literally frozen and my mind was racing thinking of how I would act in the following moments: Should I ask for a picture? Try to shake his hand? Say something?

As the passenger side door opened and he got out, my mind had been seemingly erased as he came into view and made eye contact with me. He walked right by me more hurriedly then Jackman and into the stage door. I had a camera in my hand but out of respect I didn’t want to look like a paparazzi or annoy him in some way as he had to get inside to prepare for the play in an hour.

my bond experience

"A great Bond experience"

An hour passes, and my whole family is reunited for the play. The play itself was great; there was really no production or backdrop whatsoever, just Craig and Jackman sitting on stage for 90 minutes in character, which to be fair, is all they needed. When the show ended, Jackman and Craig were out of character and began auctioning off Hugh’s shirt for charity. Both were quite funny and it was great to see their real humor with each other and the audience shine through. Like when the auction of Hugh’s shirt for a charity was brought up, Craig said “Don’t try to run, we’ve bolted the doors”. Thankfully not, and after the auction the audience then spilled out onto the sidewalk to the stage door to see Craig and Jackman leave. Unlike their arrival, when there were no fences and only 3 or 4 other people there, now the fences were in place around the stage door and people rushed to be able to meet the actors as they left.

I fought for and secured a position behind a few people at the front of the fence and now waited for a chance to meet Craig. 20 minutes later he came out wearing an off-white long sleeve Henley shirt and went to the opposite side and began meeting the fans amongst a flurry of camera flashes and screaming.

It was here that I realized that he had a really wide back from working out from Bond. No sooner had i made that random observation did he turn around and begin walking to our side. He began working his way down the line greeting and thanking everyone for coming. I stuck out my arm as far as I could and what seemed like an eternity, he got to in front of where i was and shook my hand, a moment that’s now etched into my brain.

Overjoyed at the fact that I shook hands with my favorite James Bond, I crossed the street to meet up with my family who was waiting for me. My dad knew I shook his hand because as I crossed the street, I held my hand out with a massive smile on my face that wouldn’t leave for the next few hours.

The photo of Daniel Craig above is a picture that someone else took just as he arrived at the stage door; I’m just out of frame on his right.