|Martin Campbell Director||previously directed The Legend of Zorro|
Casino Royale is the 21st official James Bond movie. Serving as a reboot for the series, the movie opens with Bond earning his 00 rank. Afterwards, Bond is tasked with challenging terrorist financier Le Chiffre at a high-stakes poker game. Daniel Craig's first Bond film.
The only Bond film to have a sequence filmed in black & white.7 More Trivia
James Bond is pursuing a Vesper through Venice while she is wearing a red coat.
|Daniel Craig||James Bond|
|Eva Green||Vesper Lynd|
|Mads Mikkelsen||Le Chiffre|
|Jeffrey Wright||Felix Leiter|
|Jesper Christensen||Mr. White|
|Giancarlo Giannini||Rene Mathis|
|Caterina Murino||Solange Dimitrios|
|Simon Abkarian||Alex Dimitrios|
|Isaach De Bankolé||Steven Obanno|
|See Full Credits|
Not since 1995 has the hunt for a new actor to play James Bond had been even considered. Under much public outcry Daniel Craig was chosen to play the role in the twenty-first Bond film. After earning his 00 status James Bond must win a high stakes poker game against Le Chiffre to find out the organization he is working for.
In the Czech Republic, James Bond (Daniel Craig) kills a contact that MI6 agent Dryden (Malcolm Sinclair) had been meeting with to sell British secrets. Waiting for Dryden in his office, Bond takes Dryden’s gun and empties it. When Dryden returns he attempts to kill Bond but fails. He mentions that M would have sent a 00 agent and that Bond hasn’t been promoted to that status yet. When Bond reveals that the first kill was the contact and the second would be Dryden, Bond shoots the double-crosser, earning his status as 007.
In an African militia village located in Uganda, Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) explains to rebel fighter Steven Obanno (Isaach De Bankole) that he is there on the behalf of his organization to arrange a meeting with Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), and not to guarantee the safety of Obanno’s money. When Le Chiffre arrives he offers Obanno a deal that he can access his funds anywhere in the world if he puts the money in Le Chiffre’s bank. After Obanno agrees to the deal, Le Chiffre makes a call, buying stock in an airline company.
In Madagascar, Bond and a partner are on a mission to retrieve a bomb maker named Mollaka (Sebastien Foucan). However Bond’s partner gives away their position and Mollaka makes a run for it, closely chased by Bond. Although Mollaka retreats to his embassy, Bond continues to follow. After catching Mollaka, Bond is pushed into a corner by the guards. After killing Mollaka, Bond shoots a large canister, causing an explosion and allowing him to escape with Mollaka’s backpack. In the knapsack is a phone and the last text message was a single word: Ellipsis. On Le Chiffre’s personal yacht his card game is interrupted with news of Mollaka’s death by a newspaper article that pins Bond as blowing up the embassy.
Infiltrating M’s (Judi Dench) apartment, Bond uses her computer to find out that the Ellipsis text message came from the Bahamas at a certain hotel. When M arrives she scolds Bond for blowing up the embassy, killing Mollaka, and breaking into her apartment. After she reveals that they wanted Mollaka to find out how a group of terroists are getting their financing she puts 007 on a forced vacation.
“On vacation” in the Bahamas, Bond checks into the hotel the text came from and breaks into the security room. By matching up the time and date he concludes that Alex Dimitrios (Simon Abkarian) sent the text message. While hacking into MI6’s database he finds that Dimitrios is connected to Le Chiffre, which also alerts M that Bond is still on the trail.
That night Bond joins a poker game that Dimitrios is winning. After several hands Bond wipes Dimitrios out and even wins his DB5. Retrieving his new DB5, Bond seduces Dimitrios wife Solange (Caterina Murino). Meanwhile Dimitrios meets with Le Chiffre, who demands that he find them a new bomb maker. Back at hotel room, Solange tells Bond, after a phone call, that Alex is leaving on business to Florida.
Bond leaves her and follows Alex to a museum exhibit in Florida, where he drops off a bag for the new bomb maker to pick up. After Alex attempts to kill Bond, he stabs Alex and chases after the bomb maker to a nearby airport. After calling MI6 for backup, M and her assistant find out that an airline company is revealing their new prototype that night. Bond stops the bomb maker from blowing up the prototype. Le Chiffre receives a phone call telling him that he lost all the money he just got from Obanno.
Back in the Bahamas, the local police find Solange’s dead body. M briefs Bond, telling him that Solange was only one left to question about how Bond knew about the plan to blow up the prototype. M sends Bond to a high-stakes poker game arranged by Le Chiffre in Montenegro at the Casino Royale. He is attempting to win the money back before it’s too late and M needs him to lose so that they can bring him in and talk about the organization he is working for.
While on the train to Casino Royale Bond meets with Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), who is the Treasury agent that is watching over the money that Bond is using to get into the poker game. At the casino Bond checks in using his real name and not the cover ID as well as receives his DBS. Bond and Vesper have a meeting with their contact Rene Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini). That night, Vesper gives Bond his first tuxedo while Bond gives Vesper a dress for a strategy to distract his opponents.
Before the card game starts the Swiss banker has all the players to enter their passcodes and bank account numbers into a singular device. Early on Bond loses to Le Chiffre. He reveals to Vesper and Mathis that it was only to discover Le Chiffre’s tell. During the first break of the night Le Chiffre goes back to his room where his life and his girlfriend's are threatened by Obanno. Obanno lets him go only so that he can win the poker game and get the money back. When Obanno and his man walk out they spot Bond spying on them as he is kissing Vesper to avoid detection. In the stairwell Bond kills both men and sends Vesper to get Mathis to come and hide the bodies. After returning from the rest of the poker game, Bond finds Vesper in the shower in shock from the fight and consoles her.
The next day Mathis hides the bodies in the back of one of Le Chiffre’s cars, causing his chauffeur to be arrested. That night the poker game continues with Bond and Le Chiffre controlling the game with Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) losing chips. Believing that Le Chiffre is bluffing, Bond goes all in to wipe out Le Chiffre. However Le Chiffre bluffed his bluff and wipes out Bond instead. An angry Bond demands that Vesper gives him the five million dollars to buy his way back into the game. When she refuses, Bond grabs a knife and attempts to kill Le Chiffre, only to be stopped by Leiter. Leiter tells him that he’s from the CIA and is after Le Chiffre for the same reasons that Bond is. Leiter tells Bond that the American government will give him the money to buy back in as long as the CIA gets Le Chiffre.
With Bond back in the game he quickly starts beating Le Chiffre. A desperate Le Chiffre has Bond’s drink spiked with poison. Bond leaves the table and runs to his DBS, which has a medical kit inside linked to MI6. With their help, and Vesper's last-second arrival, Bond survives the poisoning and returns to the game. With one last hand to play Bond wipes out the rest of the players including Le Chiffre.
While celebrating at dinner, Vesper leaves Bond to meet Mathis. Suspicious, Bond chases after her only to see her being kidnapped. Chasing down the kidnappers in his DBS Bond nearly runs Vesper over and flips his car. Le Chiffre tells a nearly unconscious Bond that Mathis works for him. Bond and Vesper are then taken to a rusted ship.
Stripped naked, Bond is tortured by Le Chiffre for the passcode to his winnings. Before Bond yields Mr. White arrives and assassinates Le Chiffre. Bond wakes up in the hospital and has Mathis taken away by MI6 agents. Vesper visits Bond during his recovery where she tells him that she loves him. Bond decides to leave MI6 and sail the world with Vesper.
Sailing into Venice, Bond and Vesper spend the night in a hotel. Vesper goes to the bank as Bond receives a phone call from M asking where the money is. Bond thought it was already deposited by Vesper. He runs out and calls the Swiss banker who tells him that the money is being withdrawn right now. Hunting down Vesper, Bond witnesses her handing over a briefcase to a man with an eye patch. Chasing them into a building, Bond witnesses Vesper being locking in an old elevator. While fighting the man with the eye patch and his henchmen, Bond sinks the whole building into the ocean. Bond tries to save Vesper from drowning, but she refuses and breathes in the water, killing herself. Watching Bond bring Vesper's dead body to the surface, Mr. White leaves with the suitcase of money.
Back on his boat, Bond is told by M that Vesper had a fiance that Mr. White’s organization was holding hostage. With Bond returning to MI6, he looks into Vesper’s phone and finds the number of Mr. White. Visiting his lake house Mr. White receives a phone call from Bond, who promptly shoots Mr. White in the kneecap. With Mr. White struggling on the ground Bond introduces himself as “Bond, James Bond.”
For the first time in ten years, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were tasked with looking for a new James Bond. With the completion of Die Another Day, the producers admitted that the film used too much CGI and that once again the Bond franchise had lost its way. To bring it back, they turned to Goldeneye director Martin Campbell. With the rights of Casino Royale finally returning to Eon Productions, the idea to remake the originally Ian Fleming novel was put into motion. In 2004, writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were brought on board to write the first draft with the thought that Pierce Brosnan would still play James Bond.
In 2005, with Pierce Brosnan reaching fifty years old and completing his four-film contract, the actor felt it was the right time to step down as James Bond. And so began the years-long hunt for a new actor to take his place. There were reportedly 200 actors that were seen to play the role. Croatian actor Goran Visnjic was seen but rejected due to the fact that he wasn’t able to pull off a British accent. Along with Sam Worthington, Henry Cavill also auditioned for the role but was turned down since he was too young at 22. Online however there was a different list of actors that could possibly take on the role. Among them were Julian McMahon, Clive Owen, Hugh Jackman, Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor and even Daniel Craig, who was oddly enough the favorite to win on many polls.
Right after Pierce Brosnan stepped down as James Bond, the producers turned to Daniel Craig to play the role. Feeling that the franchise had fallen into a predictable formula, he turned down the role. However, with a new script written that was modeled very closely after the original novel, Craig became interested in the project once again. By May 2005, Craig had the part and the announcement was made in October of the same year. For the press conference, Craig was transported to the press conference over the River Thames by the British Royal Navy.
With the announcement made, the reaction to Craig as Bond was toxic. Several internet and fan base campaigns against Daniel Craig popped up during the production of the film. The main point of contention was that Daniel Craig had not proven himself as an actor (which was false) and that he didn’t look the part. For many people, James Bond was a dark-haired, dark-eyed, six-foot man and not a blonde, blue-eyed, five-foot eleven man. Many cited the original descriptions of James Bond by author Ian Fleming and several drawings that Fleming had made that he felt was what James Bond should look like.
Creating a more realistic Bond film that meant that all the stunts would have to be done for real and that Daniel Craig would have to learn many of the stunts and fighting choreography himself. With the team planning on shooting in Prague, Craig and the stunt team worked for weeks on how this new James Bond would fight and get Craig into shape to handle the role.
A month later the team moved to the Bahamas to film the hotel scenes and all the beach scenes. While in the Bahamas they continued to finish the first big action scene in the film with Sebastien Foucan, who is one of the founders of the new sport Parkour. The idea to bring on Sebastien came from the writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade when they saw a documentary called "Jump London", in which Sabastien and his Parkour co-founders demonstrated their abilities in the streets of London. Excited about the idea of putting Parkour into the new Bond film, the writers brought the tapes to the producers who decided immediately to hire Sebastien Foucan.
The first problem the producers had to overcome was a proper location for the chase scene. Back in 1977, Michael G. Wilson was on the set of The Spy Who Loved Me in which an abandoned hotel was considered for shooting. Remembering the hotel Wilson brought the Bond team back to the hotel in the Bahamas to shoot the chase. To make the building look like an ongoing construction project, the team brought in their own cranes and built a section of building onto the existing hotel. Gary Powell was the stunt coordinator on set who helped designed all the stunts in the chase sequence. With the help of special effects supervisor Chris Corbould, Powell was able to combine the many explosions and destruction seen in the final film with the stuntmen's physical work.
For the bulldozer crash, a false wall was made in the shape of the bulldozer's shovel. It was then filled in with false concrete so that once the bulldozer hit the false concrete, it would crumble and break in a realistic way. For each take, the entire section had to be refilled.
For the fight on the crane, two stuntmen were placed on the actual cranes to pull off the shots. A dummy crane for the actors was built that wasn’t that far off the ground. Both the actors and the stuntmen had to have the fight down to an art to make it look as real as possible. For the jump from one crane to another, a special harness was devised for the stuntman to wear that would suspend him from a third unseen crane. The harness was nothing more than a safety precaution if the stunt were to fail but for all intents and purposes the stuntman was unassisted in the jump. The biggest concern for the jumps was the weather. Even if the winds were 12 mph it would render the whole thing too dangerous to perform. Thankfully on the day of shooting the weather was perfect.
For the Aston Martin flip seen in the film, the stunt team had to work for two months to see how they would even pull it off. Although the DBS was still being designed by Aston Martin at the time the company loaned the stunt team a DB9 that was made to look like the DBS. At first they used several BMWs and a ramp to see how that would work. Thinking that they had figured out the stunt, they brought in the Aston Martin and found out that they would have to redo the mechanics of the stunt since the Aston Martin was much more stable than the BMWs they had used to rehearse.
To solve the problem, they raised the angle of the ramp in an attempt to roll the car in the way that the needed. Sadly, even with the raised ramp, the Aston Martin refused to flip and landed on all four wheels. Determined to get the stunt, the team then installed a powerful air cannon into the back of the Aston Martin. The driver could push a single button to engage the air cannon, which shot a cylinder into the road beneath the car. The car flipped a total of seven times, giving the stunt team a World Record.
For the airport chase, the team worked for weeks to design the chase and months to make it a reality. One of the biggest hurdles the stunt team had to jump was the illusion that a car was being blown away by an airplane engine. By towing the car and harnessing it with a special cable to a crane the team was able to pull off the effect of the car flying backwards. When it came to shooting the stunt on the actual runway, the team was afraid the car would damage the runway upon landing, costing the film a significant amount of money. Therefore, they slightly redesigned the stunt so that the car would land in some nearby grass. At the end of the night, the stunt was successful and the runway was unharmed. One of the cameras was completely destroyed.
To create the sinking house seen in the final action piece of Casino Royale, the entire interior of the house was built on a set. There was difficulty shooting the piece due to the very cramped set and the use of water, which always presents problems. Chris Corbould helped build the set on a giant gimbel that allowed the set to sink into a pool of water to upwards of twenty feet.
All that was left was the card playing scenes, which were difficult to shoot. With so many people around a singular table with each having their own cards, chips, and wardrobe, the crew found it very difficult to keep continuity from shot to shot. On top of that, proper coverage of the scene was necessary to cut the sequence together, so every actor had to be filmed from multiple angles. To help in this, all the actors went to a “poker school” in which they learned how to play poker and better still look like they knew how to play well and belonged at that table. During shooting several of the cast and crew actually took to playing for real off-camera, including producer Michael G. Wilson.
For the main title design, the producers turned to designer Daniel Kleinman. During research Kleinman was inspired by the first Ian Fleming novel "Casino Royale" and its first edition hardcover. The cover had a playing card on it with eight red hearts covered in blood. From this Kleinman went on to make the card motif the central theme of the titles. With the help of Daniel Craig and the stunt team, Kleinman was able to including their fighting by shooting them in silhouette and graphically changing them into playing cards seen in the film. Kleinman also made the choice of not adding iconic female imagery into the titles, feeling that they didn’t fit in with the tone of the film.
On November 14, 2006, Casino Royale premiered in London with the Queen in attendance of her third Bond film (the previous being You Only Live Twice and Die Another Day). Two days later, pirated versions of the film hit the streets. Even Daniel Craig was offered a copy by an illegal seller. Even with the piracy Casino Royale became a worldwide hit, becoming one of the highest-grossing Bond films ever, making nearly $600 million.
Overnight the hate for Daniel Craig as James Bond disappeared. Craig was praised for his realistic portrayal of the iconic character and some even compared him to Sean Connery’s first performances as the character. Aggregate sites put Casino Royale behind only classic Bond films like Goldfinger and Dr. No. Even long-time Bond actor Roger Moore praised Craig, saying that he might be even better than Sean Connery. Craig went on to become the only actor to receive a BAFTA award for playing James Bond.
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