By The CBn Team on 2005-02-03

    Eon Productions have today broken their silence and confirmed that Pierce Brosnan is OUT… director Martin Campbell is IN… and Bond 21 is officially called CASINO ROYALE.

    While none of this is new news to readers of CBn, it’s finally official confirmation from the only source that can make it “official”… Eon Productions.


    Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, producers of the James Bond films, and MGM announced today that Martin Campbell will direct CASINO ROYALE, the 21st film in the 007 franchise.

    This is Campbell’s second time as helmer of a James Bond film. In 1995 he directed the hit GOLDENEYE which introduced Pierce Brosnan to the role of 007 with great success.

    Wilson and Broccoli said: “We are thrilled that Martin has accepted our offer to direct CASINO ROYALE. He is an extremely talented director and we believe he will help take our films in a new and exciting direction. He is currently finishing filming ‘Legend Of Zorro’, the sequel to ‘The Mask Of Zorro’, and will be joining EON Productions shortly to work on the development of the script with our writers, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.”

    MGM Vice Chairman and COO Chris McGurk said: “Martin is an incredibly exciting filmmaker. GOLDENEYE was a wonderful movie and helped reinvigorate the Bond franchise. We’re thrilled to have him back to direct the newest Bond.”

    Born in New Zealand, Campbell moved to England in 1966 and made his directorial debut on the popular TV series’ ‘The Professionals’ and ‘Minder’. He moved to America in 1986 to direct ‘Criminal Law’ and ‘Defenceless’. Following GOLDENEYE, he went on to direct ‘The Mask Of Zorro’, ‘Vertical Limit’ and ‘Beyond Borders’ and is currently directing ‘Legend Of Zorro’.

    CASINO ROYALE will be released in 2006 and distributed world-wide by MGM. No decision has yet been made regarding casting for the role of ‘James Bond’.

    – Official Press Release from EON PRODUCTIONS LTD

    Casino Royale was first adapted in 1954 as a one-hour TV teleplay by CBS with American Barry Nelson playing the screen’s first 007. Because Fleming had already sold the film rights to his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale was not part of the 1961 Cubby Broccoli/Harry Saltzman film rights purchase deal that was the foundation of the James Bond/Eon Productions franchise.

    U.S. first edition

    U.S. first edition

    The rights passed from hand to hand until Charles K. Feldman announced he’d produce a rival Bond film to the Eon series. But this was at the height of Bondmania, and Feldman decided he couldn’t compete with Sean Connery, so in 1967 he and Columbia Pictures turned Casino Royale into a farce comedy starring David Niven and Peter Sellers. (Kaleidoscope, an excellent thriller made in 1966, used plot elements so strikingly similar to Casino Royale that it could almost be called an unofficial adaptation.)

    Fast forward to the late 1990s when Sony (who acquired the Casino rights when they purchased Columbia Pictures) locked horns with MGM over disputed rights to the Bond film Thunderball. The settlement in favour of MGM not only returned the Thunderball rights to Eon, but Sony also surrendered their long-held rights to Casino Royale. This alowed Eon to finally adapt this first Fleming novel.

    Ironically, Sony’s recent purchase of MGM means they will have a major hand in producing Casino Royale after all.

    As always, keep watching CBn for all the latest Bond 21…
    …Whoops! We mean, CASINO ROYALE news.

    Related CBn stories (now confirmed):