Sam Mendes has said that he would not have made the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, without Daniel Craig. The director asserted that that the star of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace brought a complexity to the role of the fictional MI6 agent created by writer, Ian Fleming.

"What Fleming created was a very conflicted character," the 46-year-old Oscar-winning director (American Beauty) said at a press conference in Istanbul yesterday. "Some of those things are explored in this movie, because Daniel as an actor is capable of exploring them.

"That was a big thing for me, having a Bond who I believed in, who I felt could take the character to a new level. I could imagine another actor and I wouldn't have wanted to do it."

Craig (44), who played a much darker and grittier version of 007 in both of his Bond movies to date, worked closely with Mendes in developing the story for Skyfall.

"We were in continued conversation, once Sam agreed to do it," said Craig. "We weren't supposed to talk to each other because MGM hadn't done the deal.

"But we couldn't shut up. It was a chance for us to reread Ian Fleming, and we started emailing each other, 'What about this and what about this?', and that's how it snowballed."

Mendes, 46, said he had long wanted to direct a thriller.