Taglines: Daniel Craig is James Bond 007
Casino Royale is based on Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name. Published in 1953, it was the first book in his James Bond series. EON Productios’ Casino Royale produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli will mark the introduction of Daniel Craig (Munich / Layer Cake) as legendary secret agent, 007. Martin Campbell (GoldenEye / The Legend of Zorro) is directing the film, the 21st in the 44 year franchise.
Casino Royale introduces James Bond before he holds his license to kill. But Bond is no less dangerous, and with two professional assassinotions in quick session, he is elevated to “00” status. Bond’s first 007 mission takes him to Madagascar, where he is to spy on a terrorist, Mollaka (Sebastien Foucan). Not everything goes to plan and Bond decides to investigate, independently of M16, in order to track down the rest of the terrorist cell. Following a lead to the Bahamas, he encounters Dimitrios (Simon Abkarian) and his girlfriend Solonge (Caterina Murino). He learns that Dimitrios is involved with Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), banker to the world’s terrorist organizations.
Secret service intelligence reveals that Le Chiffre is planning to raise money in a high-stakes poker game in Montenegro at Le Casino Royale. M16 assigns 007 to play against him, knowing that if Le Chiffre loses, it will destroy his organization.
“M” (Judi Dench) places Bond undert the watchful eye of the beguiling Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). At first skeptical of what value Vesper can provide, Bond’s interest in her deepens as they brave danger together and even torture at the hands of Le Chiffre.
In Montenegro, Bond allies himself with Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini), m16’s local field agent, and Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), who is representing the interests of CIA. The marathon game proceeds with dirty tricks and violence, raising the stakes beyond blood money and reaching a terrifying climax.
“If you don’t get bruised playing Bond, you’re not doing it properly.” – Daniel Craig
With his starring role in CASINO ROYALE, Daniel Craig joins the elite group of actors who have donned the impeccably tailored tuxedo of quintessential superspy James Bond. Described by longtime Bond franchise producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli as “the definitive British actor of his generation,” Craig says he was honored to be asked to play the iconic MI6 agent, but he was especially drawn to CASINO ROYALE because of the emotional complexity of the script and the way his character evolves throughout the course of the film.
“In this film James Bond is a darker character, which is how Ian Fleming originally wrote him,” says the actor. “We start right at the beginning of Bond’s career, when he has a lot of rough edges. He’s a loner, and he doesn’t like to get involved with people. As the movie goes on, though, he becomes more refined.”
In conducting their exhaustive search for a new lead actor for the 21st installment of the phenomenally successful franchise, Wilson and Broccoli turned to a tried-and-true approach. “When we audition for the role of Bond, we ask actors to do the scene in From Russia with Love, where Bond meets Tatiana Romanova for the first time,” says Wilson. “That scene has everything you want to know about a potential Bond: drama, romance and action.”
Craig passed the test with flying colors, according to Broccoli. “As soon as we met him, Daniel was the obvious choice for James Bond. He is charismatic, versatile and sexy. The role is a big challenge, but he has proven to us that he is an incredible Bond.” Craig, whose previous screen credits include Munich, Road to Perdition and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, was working in Baltimore when he got the news he had landed the coveted role. “I was on my own, so I went out alone to have a drink and celebrate. Of course, I couldn’t very well start telling people in the bar, ‘I’m James Bond!’ They probably would have thrown me out, or called the hospital to collect me.”
However, Craig says, as soon as the reality of the situation sank in, he was anxious to begin preparing for the role. Knowing the physical challenges he would face, the actor embarked on a rigorous fitness regimen to prepare for the shoot. The effort paid off as soon as production began in Modrany Studio outside Prague. The first scene he shot was the pulse-pounding chase sequence in which Bond pursues would-be bomber Mollaka through the Nambutu Embassy.
“I wanted to do as much of the action work as I could so that the audience can see it’s me and it’s real,” says Craig. “I feel like I became a sportsman of sorts, and that meant acquiring injuries and carrying on, bashing through to the next level of pain. Although Gary Powell and his stunt team did fantastic work to make sure that everything was as safe as possible, if you don’t get bruised playing Bond, you’re not doing it properly.”
“Daniel will be a revelation to the audience,” predicts director Martin Campbell, who also directed Pierce Brosnan in his Bond debut, GoldenEye. “He combines toughness with charm and a sense of humor, and because this is a much more character-driven story, his depth and gravitas are a perfect match for the role. At the same time, he’s in great physical shape and proved himself to be excellent in the action scenes.”
Craig repays the compliment, crediting Campbell with galvanizing the cast and crew and even more importantly, translating the electricity on the set to excitement on the big screen. “Martin fires everyone up. You obviously need that level of energy in the action sequences, but it’s equally valuable in quieter, dramatic scenes like the poker tournament.”
“Vesper is not the classic Bond girl, wearing a bikini and firing guns.” – Eva Green
After an extensive search, the filmmakers offered French actress Eva Green the role of Vesper Lynd, the alluring and enigmatic beauty who steals the heart of the seemingly impermeable James Bond.
“The relationship between Vesper and Bond is the spine of the story, and we needed an actress who could hold her own against Bond,” says Campbell. “There is no doubt that this is the best female role in all of Fleming’s books, so we tested extensively to ensure we cast the most suitable actress. Eva has all the qualities we were after: She’s a terrific actress, she’s gorgeous and she has an air of mystery about her, which is essential for the role of Vesper. Eva worked incredibly hard to create this role and take it to places I hadn’t read into the script. It’s been a joy to see her work and expand the character.”
The Parisian-born Green, who made her film debut in Bernardo Bertolucci’s steamy 2003 drama The Dreamers, explains what attracted her to the role of Vesper, the first woman Bond falls for and by whom he ultimately feels betrayed: “It’s one of the best scripts I’ve read in a long time. It’s deep, with lots of twists and turns, and the love story moved me. Vesper is a complex person. She is full of secrets, and I think that is why James Bond is attracted to her, because he can’t really see through her. She is like a Sphinx. She has many layers: she’s sharp, sassy, quick-witted, but also vulnerable. She and Bond spark off each other, they are always bantering and they understand each other on the surface.
“Vesper is not the classic, iconic Bond girl, wearing a bikini, being sexy and firing guns,” continues Green. “There is more to her than that. She is the first woman Ian Fleming wrote about, and she has a great impact on Bond’s life. She is the root of all the Bond women who follow and explains why he behaves the way he does with those women.”
“Hypnotic and magnetic” are the words Green uses to describe her co-star, Craig. “He’s a gentleman and he’s strong, and he’s not mannered. That ruggedness is attractive and probably quite dangerous. He is sexy and not self-conscious, which is very important for a man, and he has a sense of humor – another plus. I definitely feel there’s chemistry between us on screen.”
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Casino Royale (2006)
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Wright, Caterina Murino, Tobias Menzies, Ivana Milicevic, Simon Abkarian, Giancarlo Giannini, Sebastien Foucan
Screenplay by: Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis
Production Design by: Peter Lamont
Cinematography by: Phil Meheux
Film Editing by: Stuart Baird
Costume Design by: Lindy Hemming
Set Decoration by: Lee Sandales, Simon Wakefield
Art Direction by: Peter Francis, James Hambidge, Michael Lamont, Simon Lamont, Steven Lawrence, Dominic Masters
Music by: David Arnold
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action, a scene of torture, sexual content and nudity.
Distributed by Columbia Pictures, Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Release Date: November 17, 2006