Here's How Daniel Craig First Reacted To Billie Eilish's No Time To Die Theme Song

Of the many casualties of the repeated delays experienced by "No Time to Die" throughout the pandemic, one of the weirdest false starts had to be the official unveiling of Billie Eilsh's theme song. The build-up and release surrounding that particular marketing cycle is long gone now that audiences have heard it for themselves and exhausted every possible hot take there could be, but I'm not sure we ever got the opinion of James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, in all its unfiltered glory. In a new secondhand account from the track's producer, we can finally get a sense of how Craig first reacted to the completed song. Apparently, it took him a little bit of time to warm up to it and give it his full seal of approval.

The Moment of Truth

How long has Daniel Craig occupied the role of James Bond? Here's a funny (if obvious) way to look at it: his tenure started with the late Chris Cornell's absolute banger of a theme in "You Know My Name," then progressed to the, ah, ambitious Alicia Keyes/Jack White collaboration "Another Way to Die," arguably reached its high point with Adele's "Skyfall," suddenly turned in unexpected directions with Sam Smith's "Writing on the Wall" (which has grown on me, I can't lie!), and will now conclude with pop singer Billie Eilish as the youngest artist to ever record a Bond theme with "No Time to Die". That's ... certainly a range of musical artists, to say the least!

With "No Time to Die" finally about to become a reality for general audiences, Music Week (via Cinema Blend) spoke to the co-producer of Eilish's Bond theme, Stephen Lipson. Among the many musical tidbits he provided about the production of the track, Lipson also commented on how Craig was brought into the loop and his initial reaction to the theme song.

"Most important was getting Daniel's approval. I finished the mix and everybody was happy but we still had to get Daniel on board. From the start, quite understandably, he wasn't all that sure that the song delivered the right emotional climax for his final Bond outing, so satisfying him was key. I delivered the mix and Barbara [Broccoli], who was more than happy, called me to say that Daniel was coming to London and we needed to play it to him. I suggested that he come to my studio as I knew that, compared to any other location, it was without doubt the best sonic environment in which to hear it."
"...so on the designated day I got in a few hours before Barbara and Daniel were due to arrive just to make sure it sounded as good as it could. Listening to it as if I was Daniel, I realised that the climax needed to be enormous so I spent some time massaging the mix so that, without any perceivable change, it was very much louder at that point. I then set the volume of the song so that it was pretty muscular, knowing that the climax would be earth-shattering. They arrived, I sat Daniel in the chair between the speakers, hit play and waited for his response. When the song finished he didn't look up but asked to hear it once more. Barbara and I had no idea how he felt until the end of his second listening, when he looked up at me and said something like, 'That's f*****g amazing.' As soon as he'd approved it the wheels were set in motion and the news that Billie Eilish was doing the Bond theme song appeared everywhere."

Shaken, Not Stirred

Apparently, one of the perks of being the star is getting final approval on important aspects like the title theme, and thankfully Craig was fully on board with it in the end. No word on whether Craig had any hand in actually recruiting Eilish in the first place, although the visual alone is enough to make me hope that's true. Lipson's interview is well worth checking out in its entirety, in which he gives his insights on helping craft the song in the first place, Hans Zimmer, and working during the pandemic.

After much fanfare, "No Time to Die" arrives in U.S. theaters on October 8, 2021.