MI6 launches the first edition of the Casino Royale Production diary with news on a delayed start, Aston Martin status, title theme and Bond girl race...

Casino Royale Production Diary #1
13th December 2005

The lead story for the first Casino Royale Production Diary on MI6 will not be good news to fans. The start date for principal photography of the 21st James Bond film has been delayed until January 30th 2006. Originally slated to commence on January 17th, the two week delay follows news that shooting at Pinewood Studios has been cut back to only a single week.

This delay does not affect the release dates though, with the film still on schedule to open in the USA and UK on November 17th 2006. Sony Pictures have published a full list of international release dates.

Theme Song
Crooner Tony Christie, who recently re-found fame with a charity version of his hit song "Amarillo", has been claiming through the tabloid press since May that he is writing a song for Casino Royale. The latest twist to this story came this week when Christie said he was approaching Robbie Williams to sing the theme, which will be recorded in February.

MI6 has learned that the production is currently in the process of deciding the style of the song and discussing possible artists, but has not commissioned anyone officially.

Tony Christie is writing this song off his own bat, much like Alice Cooper did in 1974, when the rocker submitted a theme for "The Man With The Golden Gun". David Arnold will be composing the score, contrary to IMDB errors that lead to speculation that he had left the production.

Above: James Bond #6 - Daniel Craig

Above: Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Aston Martin
Internet rumours suggested that some Aston Martin cars were delivered to Casino Royale special effects wizard Chris Corbould last month at Pinewood Studios, but the identity of the car model was not known. MI6 can reveal that as of today, Aston Martin still do not have an official deal to appear in the 21st James Bond film.

Although parent company Ford have a three picture contract with Eon Productions, which started with 2002's "Die Another Day", Aston Martin are yet to hear of an agreement between the parties. Despite the lack of an official deal, the car for the film is still expected to be the Vantage V8, which was tipped by company Design Director Henrik Fisker back in February 2004.

Another rumour doing the rounds over the past month was a rumour that the rooftop chase sequence originally filmed but cut from 1969's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" will be featured in "Casino Royale". The Bond series has often reused scenes either dropped from previous productions or skipped from Fleming's novels, so the inclusion of a traditional chase across rooftops will not be a surprise to long term Bond fans.

Villain Casting
Is he or isn't he? Bollywood actor Gulshan Grover can't seem to make his mind up about his involvement with the film. MI6 first revealed back in May that Grover had been meeting with American-based casting, followed up by the actor claiming he had a role. It seems the Indian press had misquoted Grover somewhat, and he retreated by saying he was only under consideration. Last week Grover "confirmed" to the Indian press that he was playing a bad guy role in the film.

Perhaps more credible though, is the latest casting story. Pop singer Seal has been linked to a villain role as a South African money launderer called Solari. After the British tabloids had claimed their exclusive on Sunday, the German press followed up with calls to Eon Productions, who declined to comment on the story.

Casino Royale was originally planned to shoot in South Africa, which would explain the rumoured role's nationality, and Solori could be writers Purvis & Wade recycling the draft name for "Die Another Day"'s space weapon Icarus, which was originally called Solaris. Bond gamers will recall that Seal's wife Heidi Klum played Bond girl and femme fatale Katya Nadanova in the 2004 videogame "007: Everything or Nothing".

Above: Seal with wife Heidi Klum

Bond Girls
Ever since Daniel Craig was unveiled as the sixth 007, media speculation on which women will co-star with the new Bond has been rampant. Three names have received more media coverage than others: Angelina Jolie, Kimberley Davies and Charlize Theron. At first the rumours of Angelina Jolie appeared to be based purely on her past history with Craig in "Tomb Raider", but the story soon expanded to include talk of scripts and Jolie demanding a darker character to the traditional Bond girl - which Vesper Lynd surely satisfies.

Australian actress Kimberley Davies was the next name to be linked with a Bond girl role, with German media outlets citing "insider" sources claiming she was under serious consideration for both her looks and her acting ability. But Davies has already played a Bond girl. Gamers may recall that she voiced the Australian character Alura McCall in the 2002 videogame "NightFire".

South African actress Charlize Theron is the latest name to be linked with a role, as the The Daily Mirror "exclusively" reported that Academy Award winner was being lined up as Vesper. According to the paper, "she is British director Martin Campbell's first choice". Cynics may point to the fact that Theron is currently promoting her latest movie, "Aeon Flux", in which she is reported to have commanded a £6 million pay day.

Above: Charlize Theron, Angelina Jolie, Kimberley Davies

International actress Cassandra Hepburn has been rumoured for a screen test too, but Cecile De France and Jasmine Lennard have both reportedly had auditions but have been ruled out of the running.

Above: Dame Judi Dench will reprise her role as M despite the character of 007 going back in time to the start of his career.

In other production news, director Martin Campbell confirmed that despite the back-to-basics approach for the film, 007 will not be seen smoking in the film - because of the "need for Hollywood to set an example to young people". Casino Royale will also "only feature one explosion" according the Campbell. The budget of the movie has been rumoured to be $100m, down slightly on the last outing due to the cost saving in switching to Prague.

Judi Dench confirmed her return as M for her fifth appearance as the MI6 spy chief, but is yet to meet up with the director "I haven’t seen Martin [Campbell] since we did Goldeneye. I haven’t seen him. I haven’t seen him lately, just been told I’m going to do it. And he’ll tell me how to do it."

As MI6 reported back in September, Gary Powell has confirmed his position as Stunt Coordinator. Stunt legend Vic Armstrong, and Bond mainstay since "You Only Live Twice", will not be joining the team.

Omega will be supplying James Bond's watch in the film, maintaining their involvement since the beginning of the Pierce Brosnan era, but the former Bond will be ending his contract as brand ambassador at the end of this year. The new watch is rumoured to be the Omega Planet Ocean, rather than the traditional Seamaster.

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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