1. Casino Royale: Ulrich Matthes First Lined Up to Play Le Chiffre

    By Tim Roth on 2006-03-22
    Ulrich Matthes

    Ulrich Matthes

    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

    , "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.