Daniel Craig can't stand listening to Nicole Kidman. In fact, it's so painful that he has stuck his fingers in his ears and is humming loudly to drown her out. Meanwhile, Kidman is happily responding to a question about whether the 38-year-old actor changed after landing his role as James Bond last year.
“Oh, completely,” deadpans Kidman, 39, who was with him, shooting one of their upcoming films, The Invasion, when he got the call. “In 24 hours he became a diva,” she adds, with a nod toward Craig, who continues to hum his tune as the pair sit in the cozy bar of a London photography studio, where they're sharing a bottle of sparkling water. But then Kidman breaks down and tells the truth: “Oh, he didn't change at all,” she says in her haute-Aussie twang. “The thing about Daniel, and the reason I like working with him, is that he's an actor's actor.”
Of course, Craig has heard the whole thing, and he seems far more alarmed by the compliment than by the faux insult. “How dare you!” he shouts, and they both giggle.
It is a chilly, slate gray autumn Saturday, and Kidman, who's barefoot and still wearing a caffe latte—colored Dior gown from the fashion shoot, and Craig, in a navy blue cardigan more suited to Mister Rogers than Mr. Bond, are punchy after a long day posing under hot lights. On Monday they'll return to the London set of The Golden Compass, a fantasy adventure film based on the first book in Philip Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials. The movie, to be released later this year, is their second collaboration, the first being The Invasion, which is loosely based on Invasion of the Body Snatchers and is also due out in 2007.
Despite the photo-shoot fatigue, Kidman and Craig can't seem to get enough of each other. He's decidedly less jittery when she's around, and she brightens—instantly—when he walks into the room.
“She turns me on,” says Craig mischievously in his smooth, deep voice. “In the nicest possible way, you understand. Not in any sordid, horrible way.” And then he pauses, reconsiders and laughs: “Well, come to think of it….”
All kidding aside, the fact is that both Craig and Kidman are already attached to other people. Kidman married country singer Keith Urban last June and moved with him to Nashville, Tennessee. Craig has been dating Satsuki Mitchell, a movie producer whom he met while filming The Jacket in 2005, and is raising his teenage daughter, whose mother is his ex-wife, Fiona Loudon.
It's been a heady few months for Craig, the muscle-bound British fireplug who began touring with the prestigious National Youth Theatre at age 16. Although he's been a working actor for more than two decades, it was only last November, when Casino Royale hit big, that the masses started paying attention to his background: the well-regarded theater work (which included the original London production of Angels in America), the alleged affairs with Kate Moss and Sienna Miller, and even the former nickname, Mr. Potato Head, a reference to his rugged complexion and sticky-outy ears.