Daniel Craig didn't think he was "physically capable" of making another James Bond movie.
The 53-year-old actor had intended to bow out as the suave spy after 2015's 'Spectre' because the gruelling six-month shoot had taken its toll on him and he'd damaged his knee during filming, and he couldn't see any possibility of him returning to the franchise again.
He said: "I thought I probably was physically not capable of doing another. For me, it was very cut and dried that I wasn’t coming back.”
However, producers weren't ready for him to bow out just yet so knew they needed to give him "some time" to recover before approaching the idea of returning again.
Barbara Broccoli recalled: "He was so exhausted after that film. We’d had our own trials and tribulations on 'Spectre', and [Daniel] had a massive injury. It was very difficult. So he just needed some time.”
And after allowing almost two years to pass, Daniel - who has 29-year-old daughter Ella with his ex-wife Fiona Loudon and a two-year-old daughter with spouse Rachel Weisz - was open to the idea of returning for a final time for the upcoming 'No Time To Die', which was originally due to be released last year but delayed until September 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He recalled to Total Film magazine: "I went and did other things. I got some separation. My family forgave me for being away from home for that length of time.
“We started talking about it and I went, ‘There might be a story we need to finish here – something we started in 'Casino [Royale]'. Something to do with Vesper, and Spectre, and something that was connected, in a way.’ It started to formulate. And I thought, ‘Here we go.’ "
And now his 14-year relationship with the iconic movie series is about to end, Daniel has had the time and space to reflect and admitted he is "incredibly proud and honoured" to have been a part of it.
He said: "While you’re doing it, the tendency is just to be blinkered, and go, ‘Oh, you know, this is what it is.'
“But I’ve thought about it more than ever, just because it’s my last one, and I’m incredibly proud and honoured to have been a part of it in the way that I was. The reason I would want to get up every day and go to work is because I would look at the people I got to work with, and go, ‘These are the best people in the industry.’ That’s off the charts.
"So I just think: if you can’t get excited about a Bond movie, what can you get excited about?”