1. 'Casino Royale' Casting Clues

    By Matt Weston on 2005-08-31

    Fresh off their scoop linking Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis to Casino Royale, The Hollywood Reporter today sheds light on who we may expect on-screen in the next James Bond flick.

    According to the trade, key stakeholders met in London in November to discuss who will slip into 007’s tux, but reached an impassé. Nine months on, a Sony spokesperson has said, “there is no pending announcement”.

    According to the trade’s sources, Bond producers and four-time 007 Pierce Brosnan reached a stalemate when it came to Brosnan’s salary demands (which one Sony executive reportedly described as “usurious”). Thus, producers were left with the hunt for a new James Bond.

    Bond candidate Daniel Craig

    Bond candidate
    Daniel Craig

    The trade writes of differences of opinion between Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli concerning the casting of the sixth actor to play the superspy. Broccoli reportedly liked Layer Cake star Daniel Craig, but Wilson did not. Broccoli thought X-Men‘s Hugh Jackman was not masculine enough. Phone Booth‘s Colin Farrell was “too much of a bad boy”, Ewan McGregor was deemed too short and Eric Bana simply wasn’t good-looking enough.

    Layer Cake director Matthew Vaughn was also approached to direct Casino Royale, possibly with Craig as Bond. “They loved him more than me,” Vaughn said. “I would have nailed Bond.”

    Director Martin Campbell, meanwhile, has his own opinions on reinventing the series, and is reportedly on the hunt for an unknown. That, however, did not stop him from approaching Clive Owen (whom he directed in Beyond Borders), who, with offers currently flying in, was not interested in playing Bond. Campbell was also keen on Nip/Tuck‘s Julian McMahon, whose representatives requested he turn down a screentest.

    A Sony spokesperson also denied 47-year-old Ewan Stewart had ever tested for the role. Stewart, along with Henry Cavill, Alex O’Lachlan and Goran Visnjic, was touted by the media as one of the so-called “final four” candidates. The other three, however, have all screentested for the role (Visnjic spent 10 days in London with a dialogue coach prior to his test).

    Bend It Like Beckham‘s Jonathan Rhys Meyers also denied ever being approached. “It’s not reality for me at the moment.”

    Former 007 Pierce Brosnan

    Former 007
    Pierce Brosnan

    And in light of all that, industry insiders such as casting agent, Debra Zane and The Complete James Bond Encyclopedia author Steven Jay Rubin feel Pierce Brosnan should have never been dropped in the first place.

    One unnamed former Bond marketer said although the franchise needs to be updated, “the danger of going too young to broaden the appeal is that you alienate the core, which is males over 25. He has to wear the suit well, as Brosnan did. You can’t lose sight of the core.”

    Be sure to read the full article for all the industry opinion on Bond #6.

    The article also sheds new light on the supporting cast for Casino Royale. Whilst Dame Judi Dench has always been set to reprise her role as M, John Cleese is reportedly also tied to the film. Cleese has been quoted in the past as saying the character of Q was not in early drafts of Casino Royale. The search for a new Miss Moneypenny is also underway.

    Keep watching CBn for all the latest news on Casino Royale.

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