Sir Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Atlantic, will make a cameo appearance in the forthcoming James Bond film Casino Royale...

Sir Richard Branson To Cameo In Casino Royale
4th July 2006

Virgin Atlantic boss Sir Richard Branson will play himself in a cameo role in the forthcoming James Bond film Casino Royale.

The tycoon was in Jamaica today, July 4th 2006, to celebrate the airline's inaugural trip to the island. As well as the latest 007 film shooting a large number of scenes there earlier in the year, Jamaica was also the birth place of James Bond - from the typewriter at Ian Fleming's "Goldeneye" estate.

Dressed in a classic white tuxedo, Branson was joined by Caterina Murino, who plays Solange in the film - a femme-fatale who falls for the dangerous charms of 007.

As well as Branson, the sequence in the film will also include one of the airline's new Airbus A340-600s and a gaggle of check-in staff. The scenes were shot in Prague back in April, although in the film the location will appear to be Miami airport.

Branson said, "James Bond is original, cool and sophisticated – just like an airline I know. Virgin Atlantic is delighted to be a global partner of the new James Bond movie Casino Royale and I’m just a little excited to be playing a cameo role in the film. Having met Daniel Craig and the rest of the team on set, I have no doubt that Casino Royale will be one of the most successful James Bond films ever."

Above: Sir Richard Branson keeps Caterina Murino from getting wet in Jamaica

When asked by reporters if he was nervous before filming, Branson said he was "just a little excited to be playing a cameo in the film".

Above: Branson and Murino

This is not the first time Branson has brushed with Bond however. In an early draft of the screenplay for the 1999 James Bond film "The World Is Not Enough", it was planned for Branson to make a cameo as the tycoon explorer whose hot-air balloon is hijacked by Cigar Girl in the film's opening sequence. For reasons unknown, it never happened.

Later this year, Virgin Atlantic will launch a series of promotional and marketing initiatives connected with the movie, which has been filmed in the UK, the Caribbean and in Prague.

Whilst in Jamaica, Caterina Murino commented on the film and Daniel Craig's casting as 007. She said, "Casino Royale is the first book Ian Fleming wrote and it means we see how James Bond became James Bond. Daniel is giving to this James Bond something else we never saw before. When he's going to kill someone, he looks like a real killer. When he kisses me, when he makes love, he's so sexy."

"This James Bond doesn't look like a little cartoon like before, like the last one or so charming and playful like the first James Bond," she added. "This is new." She also promised fans "you never saw a James Bond like this".

Produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli (Eon Productions) and directed by Martin Campbell, CASINO ROYALE is scheduled for release November 17, 2006. Principal photography started on January 30th 2006, with locations in the UK, Czech Republic (Prague), Italy, and the Bahamas. It will be British actor Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond. He is the sixth actor to play the 007 role in the franchise.

The film also stars Judi Dench, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Caterina Murino, Simon Abkarian, Tobias Menzies, Ivana Milicevic, Clemens Schik, Ludger Pistor, Claudio Santamaria and Isaach de Bankole.

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