No Time to Die – the Tattoos of 007
With a 15-month delay, the latest James Bond film is finally set to be released in the UK on September 30th. The film, Daniel Craig’s fifth and final, is set to breathe new life into theatres as the business attempts to bounce back after a year of locked doors and minimal capacity. Many a fan of Ian Fleming’s MI6 agent have paid tribute to their hero with celebratory ink throughout the years. While which actor has been the best Bond is certainly a matter of debate, there is no denying that the character is loved by many around the world. However, as far as we know, only a few of his portrayers actually have, or had, their own tattoos.
Sir Sean Connery and his sailor’s ink
The original Bond, the late Sir Sean Connery, was part of a true tattooing tradition. The soon-to-be-actor acquired his two pieces of body art while serving in the Royal Navy, which he joined at 16 years of age. As many a sailor before him, they are done in the spirit of love of home and family.
On his right forearm, Connery inked an image of a bleeding heart pierced by a knife, with the words ‘Scotland forever’ written above. Just below it sits another small tattoo, with a bird holding a banner in its mouth reading ‘mum & dad’. If you are wondering why you haven’t seen Bond with some classic sailor’s ink, it is because they covered it up with make-up for the films.
The mystery ink of Daniel Craig
From the first Bond to the latest. One of Daniel Craig’s most prominent tattoos sits on his right shoulder – a condor which has been done in the style of the famous and mysterious Nazca lines. The pre-Columbian geoglyphs are etched into desert sand in southern Perus with figures depicting various animals and plants. Craig has always been very secretive and private about his ink, and so it is difficult to tell exactly why he chose to have it done.
The same goes for the letters inked in various places on his body. Apart from the letter E on the inside of his left bicep – this stands for the name of his daughter Ella, whom he had with his first wife. On his right inner bicep he has a line that reads ‘A time for timelessness’, followed by the initials HGS. The initials identify this as belonging to Canadian poet Heather Grace Stewart, although the American playwright and author E.E. Cummings has written the same words in one of his poems.
Craig also has the letter H inked just on his right hip, and something on his right inner ankle. However, just as the inner life of his stone-faced, cold-blooded assassin adaptation of everyone’s favourite agent, the exact nature and motive of that tattoo shall have to remain a mystery. Perhaps he should honour the end to his run as 007 with a new piece of ink? While it may not be time to die, it is almost always time for a new tattoo.