LONDON — He's a style icon known to millions as suave superspy James Bond.
So it could be called ironic that Daniel Craig feels at home playing an aging, miserable actor in the low-budget British film "Flashbacks of a Fool."
But Craig says it would be "terribly easy" to become like his character Joe Scot, an embittered, fading star who finds no amount of Hollywood hedonism can fill the void within.
"He has failed as a human being, and I wanted to explore that," Craig told reporters Sunday at the film's world premiere in London.
"I think you have to work hard at not becoming disillusioned about what you do for a living," Craig said. "If you have any success in what you do for a living, you have to maintain an energy and love of it. If you can, that's a great thing."
Craig attended Sunday's London premiere midway through filming on his second Bond thriller, "Quantum of Solace," which is due for release later this year.
The actor has not always seemed comfortable with the level of attention he has received since being cast as 007 in 2005. "Flashbacks" is a return to small-scale, personal projects for Craig. It was written and directed by his longtime friend Baillie Walsh, best known as a director of videos and documentaries for bands including INXS, Massive Attack and Oasis.
A coming-of-age drama centered on Joe's teenage years in the 1970s, the film veers _ at times erratically _ between wistfulness, tragedy and spiky humor. It has a strong British cast that includes Helen McRory, Olivia Williams and Harry Eden as the young Joe, a soundtrack of vintage David Bowie and Roxy Music, and fantastic seaside scenery _ set in a suspiciously sunny English seaside town. It was actually filmed in South Africa.
Craig said the film was "a personal journey" for him.
"The film touches on a lot of things we all went through _ electrifying moments when you're a teenager which form who you are as a human being," Craig said. "I think Baillie has captured that so well."
"I hit 40 this year, but I still think about being a teenager, and hopefully I will for the rest of my life."
And Craig says he has discovered an upside to his new fame _ the power to get projects like "Flashbacks" made. Craig has an executive producer credit on the film, and his clout helped greenlight the script, which Walsh wrote for him several years ago.
"If I can be responsible, even slightly, for getting movies like this off the ground _ movies I can be proud of like this one ... then I am going to get a huge amount of enjoyment out of it," Craig said.