Oscar-nominated writer Paul Haggis has joined "Casino Royale" production to polish the screenplay by James Bond regulars Neal Purvis and Robert Wade...

UPDATED: 31st August 2005

Paul Haggis Joins Casino Royale
30th August 2005

A new writer has been brought onboard production of "Casino Royale" according to the latest trade press reports. The Hollywood Reporter today confirmed Paul Haggis has joined the 21st James Bond film to work on an original draft by 007 regulars Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

Oscar-nominated Paul Haggis), whose latest hits include "Million Dollar Baby" and "Crash", will be updating the year-old script from Purvis & Wade.

His work on the screenplay will no doubt include tailoring changes for director Martin Campbell and shaping the script for the sixth James Bond actor - who is yet to be announced.

It's a busy time for Haggis, who recently adapted James Bradley's World War II book "Flags of Our Fathers" for director Clint Eastwood, currently filming in Iceland. Haggis is set to direct New Line Cinema's "Honeymoon With Harry," which he adapted from a novel by Bart Baker, followed by Warner Bros. Pictures' military true story "Death and Dishonor," based on a Playboy investigative piece about a career officer's search for his soldier son, who went missing on his way home from the frontlines of Baghdad, which Haggis also will write and produce.


Above: Writer Paul Haggis

Above: Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

Screenplay Evolution
Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who co-wrote "The World Is Not Enough" (1999) and "Die Another Day" (2002), began work on the first "Casino Royale" draft back in February 2004.

When questioned about which actor they had in mind whilst writing, the scribes said in an interview last year that “as far as we are aware Pierce is still James Bond”. A lot of water has passed under that bridge since, and a decision on Pierce Brosnan's replacement as 007 is imminent.

"Bond 21" was held up for a year as Purvis & Wade wrote a screenplay for the ill-fated spin-off Jinx movie - a role which Halle Berry was to reprise - before MGM ultimately pulled the plug in October 2003.

Adding extra writers throughout a production is not uncommon for the James Bond series. Half of the four movies produced by Michael G. Wilson & Barbara Broccoli have seen changes, with "GoldenEye" in 1995 and "The World Is Not Enough" in 1999 taking on additional scribes.

Timetable Set
Producer Michael G. Wilson revealed details of "Casino Royale" production back in May. Wilson confirmed the start date for principal photography was January 17th 2006, with a release date planned for October 19th 2006. In an MI6 exclusive the following day, Wilson went on to explain the process of selecting a new James Bond and how Ian Fleming's source material will be the basis of the screenplay, "We hope to follow the book at least in part of the film. The book itself is too short to make up an entire film."

Update - 31st August 2005
Robert Wade told ScreenDaily.com that Haggis will do a three-week polish on the second draft of Sony/MGM's Casino Royale, originally penned by himself and co-writer Neal Purvis.

"What I can say on behalf of me and Neal is that we completed all the work we were contracted to do on Casino Royale," Wade said. "It has taken us a year-and-a-half. Everything is written, including the structure – it just needs a polish. If you can bring in a hot talented writer to polish it then great, it is normal on this size of movie. I an sure Paul Haggis will do a great job."

On the subject of the source content of the script, Wade said: "It’s been different really. There is good solid material but it is set around a game of cards and very contained. We are writing it as he has grown to be now and there are expectations we have to meet. A lot of it is our own material. It is quite different: it is the story that shows what formed his character. It’s great to be asked to adapt that and show it in a modern context."

"Casino Royale", the 21st James Bond film, will be directed by Martin Campbell and shooting is scheduled to commence on January 17th 2006 for release on October 19th 2006. No casting decisions have been made officially, including the role of 007. Stay tuned to MI6 for the latest and most accurate coverage of Casino Royale.

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