German character actor Ulrich Matthes has declined to play the role of
Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, Matthes reveals in a chat with German newspaper "Die Zeit". The Berlin-born actor, best known in the English speaking world for his
portrayal of Joseph Goebbels in Germany’s 2004 hit The Downfall had to refuse
accepting the role as he already was commited to another project during the
shooting time of Casino Royale.
The actor said, "Yes, it’s true; they wanted me to play the big villain. I
would have loved to do that, to portray a really nasty guy. The most foolish
thing for an actor; to play the devil, to play a dead man, pang pang. There was
this concrete offer from the production company, but my shooting was about to
last thirty days. Unfortunately, I’m commited to a theatre project called
‘Virginia Woolf’ and we’re on tour in South America for a month. That would have
been the month they would have needed me on set." As German news agency DPA
reports, "After the rejection of Matthes, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen was hired
for the part".
Casino Royale is the 21st James Bond film produced by franchise holders Eon Productions. The MGM/Columbia Pictures production began shooting in January and is due for release worldwide on 17 November 2006. Starring Daniel Craig as James Bond, it is currently being filmed in the Czech Republic, the Bahamas, Italy and the UK.