1. Daniel Kleinman On Designing Casino Royale's Main Title Sequence

    By Devin Zydel on 2006-11-17

    One of the highlights of every James Bond film is the often visually stunning main title sequence. In a recent interview featured on Digit mag, Daniel Kleinman explains why he went for a new design for Casino Royale which specified no girls, but instead a harder-edged approach.

    Kleinman, who also designed the titles for Die Another Day, The World Is Not Enough, Tomorrow Never Dies, and GoldenEye and follows the work of Maurice Binder and Robert Brownjohn said: ‘the titles have been a defining element of the Bond films for decades. And a defining feature of the titles has been the girls. Given the spirit of this new film, that simply no longer felt appropriate. In addition, the script sees Bond falling in love, so even on a sub-textual level, having a parade of anonymous beauties wasn’t the way to go.’

    ‘I wanted to simplify the look, give it a harder feel than the hi-tech ultra-glam with which the titles have become identified,’ he continues. ‘Graphic design seemed a good way to go in this direction.’

    Director Martin Campbell commented on a possible card motif for the sequence and Kleinman ‘took that and ran with it as far as possible. One starting point was Ian Fleming’s own design for the first edition of Casino Royale, which used the hearts from a playing card. I also remember that a puff of gun smoke stylised into the form of a club symbol came to me early, and I sketched that.’

    Working alongside Kleinman was William Bartlett, head of inferno at Framestore CFC Commercials, who said: ‘The previous film, Die Another Day, was almost the apotheosis of the old style. We’d taken it pretty much as far as it would go–the glossiness, the focus pulls, the fiery transitions–and I was delighted to be taking a new approach. Danny took the essences of the casino world–playing cards, roulette wheels, and the patterns on money itself–as his lead design elements.’

    ‘We wanted to include fight sequences as part of the visuals, but we didn’t want to wander into censorship territory with the violence,’ continues Bartlett. ‘By using an animation-like technique–rotoscoping–over real footage of fights, we could create something that looked fantastic, but which also acted as a cushion or protective layer to the violence. Another reason we liked this so much was that we realised that you could have really quite crude–almost abstract–shapes that, because the movement was so real, were still intelligible.’

    While some Bond fans may miss the girls from Casino Royale‘s main title sequence, Kleinman hinted in a similar interview with the LA Times that they would be returning, saying: ‘By the end of this [film], 007 is more like the Bond we all know and love. So I think those dancing girls may well come back again.’

    Stay tuned to CBn for all the latest Casino Royale coverage.

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