1. Casino Royale – A Personal Set Report

    By Guest writer on 2006-06-03

    Written by Heiko Lorson

    BKD-members in front of the

    BKD-members in front of the “Casino”: Udo Wöbking, Club President Wolfgang J. Thürauf, Sascha Braun and Oliver Bayan

    With Casino Royale being filmed in the Czech Republic, a number of Bond fans
    from Germany used the opportunity to make short trips to Karlovy Vary to get
    first hand impressions of this beautiful location and maybe catch a glimpse of
    the action. German fan Heiko Lorson was extraordinarily lucky. Read his personal
    report and learn that a properly dressed man can get anywhere he wants. (Click images to enlarge.)

    "On May 24th, I made a visit to Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. In the
    afternoon, I first went to the Grand Hotel Pupp, which doubles as Hotel
    Splendide in Montenegro. On the way there, I passed the Mill Colonade, which
    will be the station in Montenegro and serve as background location when Bond and
    Vesper arrive there.

    The hotel itself is a beautiful "Grand Hotel" and looks very majestic,
    especially with the "Hotel Splendide" signs that have been mounted anywhere on
    the hotel and the cafe that belongs to the hotel. On a nearby advertising
    column, one can see a poster announcing the poker tournament at Casino Royale.
    In the hotel car park, the movie’s two Aston Martin DBS can be spotted, and,
    next to a lot of lighting equipment, cables and trucks, the hotel’s Bentley that
    picks up Bond and Vesper at the station. Just around the corner, the "Kaiserbad"
    is located, decorated with a big sign "Casino Royale" above the entrance and
    brass signs and writings on the doors.

    The Aston Martin The Bentley The Aston Martin

    Bond’s car pool in Karlovy Vary

    I returned to the hotel car park by 8.30 P.M. A "director’s stand" was set
    up, with chairs and monitors, and Martin Campbell was already there. The Aston
    Martin was in bright lights, and the ground in front of it was being sprinkled
    with water. That made it clear: there would be a night shooting today. I was
    lucky that the set hadn’t already ben closed for te public. I was earing my
    "North Face" jacket that night, as I had seen many crew members wearing similar
    ones on previois set pictures (e.g. Martin Campbell). I can tell it now: my
    "disguise" was perfect. I wasn’t kicked from the set, people may have thought
    that I’m a crew member.

    Casino Royale Hotel Splendide

    Casino Royale and Hotel Splendide

    At around 9.40 PM, Daniel Craig showed up and Mr. Bond himself stood right in
    front of me. I was standing within 2 meters distance from Martin Campbell all
    the time, and 3 or 4 meters away, Daniel Craig was shooting a scene with the
    Aston. I could watch twelve takes of a scene – absolutely fantastic. The scene
    which was shot: Bond is squat down, gets up, opens the door of the Aston and
    gets in (from the 7th take, he was already sitting in the car). He’s panting all
    the time, puts a stick into his mouth, spits out something, uses his mobile
    phone and… cut!

    SPOILER: (Highlight to read)

    I guess that’s the scene in which Bond
    gets poisoned.

    Heiko Lorson with Daniel Craig

    Heiko Lorson with Daniel Craig

    Can’t wait to see what makes it into the movie from that scene. I can imagine
    that the cut the "squat down" bit, as they didn’t do that any more after the
    sixth take and they didn’t seem to be really happy about it. After each take,
    Craig and Campbell were standing next to me, watching the camera monitors (4
    different angles) and discussed the shots. Unfortunately, it was too risky too
    take pictures. Flashes were forbiden during the shooting, and they would have
    uncovered me and kicked me out. But when Daniel Craig went to the catering and
    came back with a cup of coffee, I asked him if I could take a picture.
    Immediately, he took the camera out of my hand, held it in front of us and
    pushed the button. After that, shooting was finished and – happy about what I
    just had experienced – I returned back to my hotel room.

    The next day, I returned once again to make a visit at the Cafe Pupp /
    Splendide. Martin Campbell was there, discussing two storyboard pages with two
    crew members. They were later joined by Barbara Broccoli. At another table,
    Lindy Hemming was sitting and discussing with an assistant.

    Sascha Braun with Lindy Hemming and her assistant

    Sascha Braun with Lindy Hemming and her assistant

    Oliver Bayan and Martin Campbell:

    Oliver Bayan and Martin Campbell

    All in all, it was a dream come true for a long time Bond fan, who’s been
    active since 1979 and never got this close before. The meeting on the second day
    with my old friends from Oliver, Wolfgang and Sascha from the BKD (Bondklub
    Deutschland, the German fanclub) was another highlight of two fantastic days in
    Karlovy Vary in May 2006."