NEW YORK – Daniel Craig, the new James Bond, wants critics to give him a chance.
"If I went onto the Internet and started looking at what some people were saying about me — which, sadly, I have done — it would drive me insane," the British actor says in an interview in Entertainment Weekly magazine, on newsstands Friday.
"They hate me. They don't think I'm right for the role. It's as simple as that. They're passionate about it, which I understand, but I do wish they'd reserve judgment."
A group of James Bond fans have launched a Web site, www.craignotbond.com, to protest Craig replacing Pierce Brosnan in the 007 film franchise, and to boycott "Casino Royale," slated for release Nov. 17.
The fair-haired Craig, whose screen credits include roles in "Munich" and "Layer Cake," was tapped last October to play the secret-agent icon.
While filming "Casino Royale," the 38-year-old actor was uneasy about uttering those famous words, "The name is Bond, James Bond."
"People kept asking, `Have you done the line yet?"' Craig tells the magazine.
"But honestly, I didn't rehearse it at all. I didn't practice it in the mirror every morning or anything like that. I didn't want to even think about saying it because I didn't want it to be this weight around my neck. I just wanted to get on with it and not blow it."
Craig decided to take Bond in a new direction.
"I watched every single Bond movie three or four times, taking in everything I could about how the character had been portrayed in the past, then threw all that away once I started doing the role," Craig says.
"There's no point in making this movie unless it's different. It'd be a waste of time unless we took Bond to a place he'd never been before."