"Casino Royale" director Martin Campbell was interviewed on Finnish television to discuss his work on the new James Bond film...

Martin Campbell On Directing 007
28th October 2006

"Casino Royale" director Martin Campbell was interviewed by YLE24 in Finland last week about his work on the latest James Bond film, and how is compares for his first 007 outing with "GoldenEye" in 1995...

The premiere is just around the corner, how do you feel about the film?
Nervous. Palms sweating! All of that stuff... Any film, it doesn't matter if it's Bond or not, but probably more so as we have a new 007 - Daniel Craig in this case - and we've gone back to the book, of which there are many fans. So with those changes, how the public will take it is going to be very interesting.

The fact of having a new Bond is one of the most interesting things about the film. The casting of Daniel Craig has raised very mixed feelings amongst the fans. How did you end up choosing Craig for the part?
Well, let's say for number one, he's a very fine actor. As the film is based on the book, which was the very first James Bond book, Daniel is very much the way Fleming described Bond. very much so, he looks a bit like Hoagy Carmichael, that's the way Fleming once described him. He's a darker character in the book. He's also a slightly more complicated person in the book. It was written back in 1953, and set in the Cold War, which clearly we couldn't set it in as that doesn't exist with Russia any more. The bad guys were SMERSH - the Russia secret service, who also appeared in "From Russia With Love". Daniel absolutely fits the template of Bond in casino Royale.

Above: Director Martin Campbell

A great deal of criticism has been about the look of Craig, but he has this tough guy quality about him.
He certainly does and he has a dark quality about him, which is interesting. I think Connery had that. It was one of the reasons for casting him. Above all, he's got rugged good looks, he's very sexy. There was a lot of criticism about 'how can you have a blonde Bond?', well first of all he's not blonde, let's get that straight. He's got wonderful blue eyes. And if you look back at Roger Moore, he was not a dark haired Bond, he had very sandy coloured hair. The newspapers were way too premature in trying to judge him on looks.

Above: Daniel Craig as James Bond in "Casino Royale"

How would you compare Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig from the director's point of view?
You can't compare them, in the sense that they are so different. Pierce was absolutely fantastic in the movies that he did, which was very much the old template of Bond. They were broad, kind of fantastical, there was also some nutcase trying to take over the world - in the case of GoldenEye it was a raygun up in the atmosphere that wiped out all electronic data. But I think Casino Royale very much has its feet on the ground. Gone is the fantastical element, we're much more in to a real scenario, both in its action scenes and emotionally. The story itself is based in a reality much more so than previous Bonds. We're actually going back to, say, "From Russia With Love", rather than following in the footsteps of say the last four films.


Is Ian Fleming's "Casino Royale" the most realistic James Bond novel?
No doubt about it. Don't forget, being the "first" James Bond film that it's really the birth of Bond. He's only just got his double-o licence and he's a rough diamond. He's a little rough around the edges, he thinks much more with his heart rather than his head at the start, so by the end of the movie he becomes the Bond that we all know and love.

No Q. No gadgets?
Well, we've got gadgets but no Q. Actually, Q never appeared in the book.

This striving for realism may be a little concerning to fans who are used to these elements being an integral part of the Bond films?
Ah yes, but you haven't seen the action in the new film yet. We've got a couple of sequences the likes of which have never been seen before on the big screen. I don't think you'll be missing [the comic element] as there is humour in the film, no doubt about it. There's wit, and there's a couple of old fashioned one-liners from Bond that we all know and love.

Take us behind the scenes as the director of the movie... how would you compare "GoldenEye" with "Casino Royale"?
There's no difference in the sense that they all have to be meticulously planned. First of all, Bond is renowned for going all around the world. You always end up in fantastic locations. It's part of the formula and Casino Royale does exactly that. We went to the Bahamas, we shot in the studios in Prague, we went to Venice, we went to Lake Como, we went back to London, so it's all over the place like most Bond films.

The actual making of the movies was probably the same in the sense that you have at any one time four units all shooting simultaneously. First unit, then a second unit doing part of the action scenes, a model unit and a plate unit. Of course they are an enormous crew, coming up to 500 people. It's really a feat of organisation to be able to plan the whole movie.

Above: Martin Campbell directing "GoldenEye" eleven years ago.

What is the most important aspect of directing action?
The most important thing is to make sure the action is character based. To have an action scene for an action scene's sake is not the way to do it. In the way that an actor playing character in a scene has to be an integral part of how the character would react, actions scenes have to be built the same way. The character should keep in character, and the action should project his character. What you can't do is just have a huge action scene for the sake of it. it's got to be motivated correctly.

Bond is not just any secret agent, it's a huge franchise. What about your freedom as a director? Are they very producer-driven projects?
Well they are, but first of all I remember when I did GoldenEye I came in thinking 'I've got to change all of this'. It was an eight year gap since the previous film so there was a chance to change it completely and re-invent it. But then I stopped myself as I realised it's been hugely successful, and there's a reason it's been so successful. So I kept what I thought made it successful: the great action scenes, humour, all of that stuff. I just tweaked and adjusted a few smaller things. I didn't throw the baby out with the bath water.

They are two fantastic producers, and I've never worked for better. The truth is it's all set in the script. What you do is collaborate with them on the script, you work with the writers, and I work very much in sync with them. Once we've all got an agreed script, I'm let go to go and direct it. They never interfere.

What is the secret to Bond's success as the world's biggest film series?
Two things. The first I think is the character. He's who every man wants to be and who every woman wants to be with. The second thing is the films have always delivered something new, something people haven't seen before. It's always exciting and the expectations are always high.

I remember back to "You Only Live Twice", who had seen a hollowed out volcano in the middle of Japan before? The underwater sequences in "Thunderball" is another example, they were utterly fantastic. The ice palace on the last one "Die Another Day"... They do have this unique quality of always delivering something new.

You've said in the past that Bond is the only white collar hero we have around these days.
That's absolutely true. He can go into any strand of society and mix. Of course he has his traditional martinis, he can go in to the most elegant of place and fit in. I suspect it's all because that's how Ian Fleming wanted it, as a lot of Fleming is in Bond of course.

Above: Director Martin Campbell

After "Casino Royale" there aren't any Fleming novels left to be filmed, so what does the future of Bond look like to you?
Well the novels ran out many years ago, so the last few films have not been based on the books. "Octopussy" for example was just a short story that was developed in to a larger movie. So the series will have to go back to inventing stories to continue the franchise along the lines of "Casino Royale".

Daniel Craig has been signed to appear as 007 again in the next film, what about you?
They haven't asked me. You know I always said after "GoldenEye" that I would never direct another Bond. So it's rather like Sean Connery saying 'I'll never do another Bond', and sure enough he turned up in "Never Say Never Again". So, never say never again.

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