Skyfall: Judi Dench as M

British, Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench, returning for her seventh film as M, says that her relationship off-screen with Daniel Craig has mirrored the on-screen relationship between M and Bond that was developed in the two most recent films.

“Bond and M are two people who work well together.  She’s obviously very fond of him, and she’s often accused of being preferential towards him – but she can also be ruthless about him,” she says.  “Daniel and I struck up a good relationship the first time we worked together, and the relationship has developed as each script requires something a little bit more from us. That is especially true with Skyfall.

Producer Barbara Broccoli explains that Skyfall explores the relationship between Bond and M – perhaps more than in any of the 22 previous films. “We wanted to really mine the relationship between Bond and M, because it is the most significant relationship he has in his life,” says the producer. “M is the only person who represents authority to him.  You have two extraordinary actors, and we just thought  let’s go all the way. It’s worked extremely well. It’s a very emotional story.”

“Their relationship is based on mutual respect,” says Craig.  “They both know that every time the chips are down, one of them will have to make a sacrifice – it’s difficult to have a touchy-feely relationship with someone under those circumstances.  But at the same time – and Sam was very keen on this – Bond’s always had in the back of his mind that there’s a bit more.  It’s something he never shows, but the connection is there – and I get a kick out of that as an actor, to play a life you can’t show.”

Agent 007 faces a dangerous journey in Skyfall – one that shakes MI6 to its core as the agency comes under attack.  Mendes says that in directing action sequences, character is as important as stunt and camera work.  “If you’re not engaged with the characters, the action is meaningless, however good it is,” he says.  “To me, you have to put the characters in a credible and believable situation – you have to make it almost impossible for them to survive – and then show how they survive.  That’s the challenge.”