Exclusive: Who are the actresses screentesting for the lead female role in the forthcoming James Bond film Casino Royale? MI6 has the details...

Casino Royale Bond Girl Casting
14th January 2006

At least four actresses are screentesting this week for one of two roles in the forthcoming James Bond film Casino Royale. Bond's first love Vesper Lynd, who turns out to be a Russian double agent, is the lead female role in the film. MI6 can now reveal three of the women who are in contention to star alongside the new 007 Daniel Craig.

Rose Byrne (26)
Australian actress Rose Byrne was born July 24, 1979 in Sydney. Starting her career at the age of twelve, Byrne worked in television until her big screen break in "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones" (2003). Since then the 5'6¼" actress has starred in "Capture the Castle" (2003), "Troy" (2004) and "Wicker Park" (2004). She has recently wrapped work on "Marie-Antoinette".

Above: Rose Byrne and Vera Farmiga

Vera Farmiga (32)
American actress Vera Farmiga was born August 6, 1973 in Passaic County, New Jersey - a Ukranian-speaking enclave. She did not learn to speak English until aged 6, but her Russian language skills could prove useful for her chances as Vesper Lynd. She made her major Hollywood breakthrough in 2004 in "The Manchurian Candidate", and has also starred in "Mind the Gap" (2004), "The Hard Easy" (2005) and "Running Scared" (2006). She has just wrapped shooting on "The Departed" and "Breaking and Entering".

Rachael Stirling (28)
The daughter of former Bond girl Dame Diana Rigg, Rachel Stirling was born May 30, 1977 in London, England. She began her film career in 1998 in "Still Crazy", and has since appeared in "Maybe Baby" (2000), "Redemption Road" (2001), "Freeze Frame" (2004) and "The Truth" (2006), as well as a host of high-profile television drama. Stirling (5' 9") also speaks Russian, and shares the same agent as former Bond girl Rosamund Pike, who made her Hollywood breakthrough as Miranda Frost in 2002's "Die Another Day".

Above: Rachael Stirling

Casting decisions will be finalised by the end of next week. Stay tuned to MI6 for all the latest news and full coverage of Casino Royale.

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 will start 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.

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