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Writer Paul Haggis reveals interesting change to early Casino Royale script

07-Dec-2007 • Casino Royale

Paul Haggis has revealed details of an interesting change made to the Casino Royale script in a new interview with The Guardian. He also comments on his work on Bond 22 and the WGA strike.

ML: And you're a writer/director, which means at the moment half of you is on strike.

PH: Yes (laughs)

ML: It raises the question of Bond 22, which is tantalisingly listed for you, and you have another film to direct. But at the moment Bond 22 is just not happening?

PH: Yes, it's happening.

ML: But the script. You just can't do any work on it...

PH: Yes, but it was just about finished. I was just doing the last few polishes and it starts shooting in a few weeks.

ML: And that was a surprising project for some people for you to take because you had been seen as an auteur writer - famously not a word changed on your script for Million Dollar Baby. Bond 22 is something different. It's a producer's movie.

PH: Well, yes, when they came to me with Casino Royale I thought they were out of their minds. I asked my agents, "have they seen my movies?" I said, "they know I am going to ruin Bond forever. They know that right?" But they said they'd like to take a chance and it was a collaboration with Michael and Marc and they asked me to work on this one, which I was more than happy to.

ML: And this one's different because there had been other writers on Casino Royale...

PH: There had been on this one as well but they decided to take the plot in another direction, which often happens.

ML: How long do you think the strike will go on?

PH: I'm a cynical bastard, as you can tell by my films, and so I think it will be a very, very long strike, unfortunately, well into the summer next year.

Q3: You seem to be very much an auteur as a director. How did you feel when you were approached to do Casino Royale, which has certain rules and regulations to it?

PH: I really thought I was going to ruin it, but I thought it would be a heck of a lot of fun trying. And so when they encouraged me to take that darker side of Bond I ran with it. I think it's the job of the writer to make the producers nervous and the job of the producers to talk sense into the writer. But they've been very supportive and they are very supportive on this one. We send things back and forth and I like that. I don't always like people who agree with me. I like people who challenge me, because there are too many people in Hollywood who just tell you what you want to hear.

Q3: Were you surprised that it did as well as it did?

PH: Yeah, but I loved the script and I loved Daniel Craig and they were really supportive. They came to me and I said: "I think the biggest problem with the script is that you don't have an act three. Would you like one?" And they said yes ...

ML: So that's Venice?

PH: Yeah, and the draft that was there was very faithful to the book. And there was a confession. So in the original draft the character confessed and killed herself. And then she sent Bond to chase after the villains. And Bond chased the villains into the house. And I don't know why but I thought that Vesper had to be in the sinking house and Bond has to want to kill her and then try and save her and she has to kill herself.

Thanks to `Phil` for the alert.

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