News on location shooting in the Bahamas and roof-top action, plus a full casting round-up and the latest on the 21st James Bond production...

Casino Royale Production Diary #3
29th January 2006

Bahamas Location Shooting
A popular hotel in the Bahamas is about to be transformed into the Liberian Embassy in Madagascar for the purposes of the pre-titles sequence in Casino Royale. The Buena Vista, a 200-year-old mansion hotel, will double for the location in the film. The old colonial building will be painted to make it look even older when it is transformed into the embassy, where the new James Bond will take on bad guys in the upcoming Casino Royale. Filming starts there on February 23rd.

Above: The Buena Vista hotel at day (left) and night (right).

As previously revealed by MI6 in the first Casino Royale Production Diary (#1), a roof-top chase sequence that was originally cut from the 1969 film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" will be resurrected for a Casino Royale action sequence.

French "free runner" Sebastien Foucan has been hired to appear in the film. A chase scene is planned which will unveil the new Bond in the form of actor Daniel Craig. Foucan will be performing the stunts of Bond's adversary in the sequence which is currently being shot on location in the Bahamas.

Above: Sebastien Foucan in action

This news three points that have been rumoured recently: firstly that the Bahamas location will be doubling for an African country - Madagascar, secondly that the location will be used early on in the film, and lastly that a roof top chase sequence will feature as a major action sequence.

Aston Martin Bonds Again
The famous auto-maker confirmed this month that it will return in Casino Royale but this time with a new secret model - the Aston Martin DBS. The press release only contained a concept sketch of the latest car, but Daniel Craig got to see the machine at first hand as he visited the Aston Martin headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, on Friday to view the featured car. While there he met Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ulrich Bez, and members of the workforce and also took the opportunity to take a short test drive. MI6 can reveal that despite earlier comments by director Martin Campbell, the DBS will be fitted out with the latest gadgets and gizmos for an exciting car chase.

Above: Aston Martin DBS concept sketch

MI6 exclusively announced last week that the classic Aston Martin DB5 will also be making an appearance in the film. The classic DB5, which first appeared in Goldfinger (1964) and then Thunderball (1965), will be making a brief return in Casino Royale. Devoid of its original Q-Branch gadgetry, the DB5 will be used as Bond's personal car, much like it's appearance in GoldenEye (1995) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). Two original DB5's are being shipped to the Bahamas where location shooting with Daniel Craig is expected to commence in one month's time. The latest rumours are that Bond will win the DB5 in a poker game early in the film.

Corgi unveiled miniatures of the Aston Martin's set to feature in the film at the London Toy Fair. The cars will cost £11.99 GBP and will be available in October 2006 in anticipation of Casino Royale opening in theatres.

A Balanced Bond
Daniel Craig let slip a few of his thoughts on his forthcoming work on Casino Royale to the press this month.

"There is something universal about a hero who is flawed. 007 does shitty things, but what's interesting is how he gets to that point. Hopefully that's what the movie will look at. Bond is basically a dislikable human being, and yet so incredibly likeable because he is such a rogue. That's the balance I would like to strike with him."

On the subject of costume, Craig told The Observer that James Bond will not be wearing his traditional tuxedo in the film. "Actually, he doesn't wear one in this version. I'm not sure if I should tell you that though".

Meanwhile, Dame Judi Dench - who will be reprising her role as M in the film - said of Craig, "I have met him and I liked him enormously. We had a laugh and that always bodes well."

Above: James Bond #6 - Daniel Craig

Above: Ludger Pistor

Casting Update
MI6 revealed earlier this week that German actor Ludger Pistor had personally confirmed that had signed to play a substantial role. Speaking from his vacation in India, Ludger Pistor confirmed that he will be playing a Swiss Banker in Casino Royale.

Despite winning the role, Pistor has still not seen the complete script or all of his lines, which will not surprise those following the latest rumours that the screenplay is being hastily rewritten. "I have only seen fragments of it", Pistor said.

"I do not even know whether I stand on the good or bad side. That is a secret so far". But the actor explained that even if he did know something, he would say nothing - to keep his part secure.

The 46-year old's role will take him to Prague, Italy and the Bahamas, and he confirmed he has been told to expect to shoot for four to five weeks throughout the course of the production.

In other villain casting news, French actors Michael Youn and Romain Duris screentested for the role of the main villain. French newspapers reported that Simon Abkarian had won the role over Youn. Despite this "confirmation", Youn went on the record that he had made it down to the last five contenders and was still to hear either way. It was also reported that Seybina Baldi had been cast as a villain's henchman. MI6 also revealed that Icelandic actor Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson had screentested for a henchman role. 31 year-old Haraldsson said that he is still hopeful of landing the role, but at the time to screentesting, the script was still not finalised.

Bond Girl Race & Rumour Round-Up
According to the French press, Italian actress Caterina Murino has been signed up to play a major "bad girl" role. According to the paper, Murino will play Solonge, Demetrius' girlfriend in the film. Murino will shoot in the Bahamas and in Prague.

Following MI6 revealing three of the main contenders screentesting for a Bond Girl role, the Mail On Sunday claimed that favourite Rose Byrne had been signed - "Australian-born Rose, now based in London, was one of four starlets vying to play opposite Daniel Craig as Vesper Lynd".

British actress (and daughter of former Bond girl Diana Rigg) Rachael Stirling also screentested and had been in contention since Craig's announcement in October 2005. The news was backed up by intel received by AICN. But rival newspaper The Sun countered by claiming that Thandie Newton had been cast following a successful screentest.

Meanwhile on the rumour mill, Angelina Jolie bowed out of the running due to her pregnancy, "King Kong" star Naomi Watts was apparently chased by producers, and glamour model Katie Price was vying for a cameo as a casino croupier.

Above: Caterina Murino

Production Wrap
In other production news, Crowley Maritime Corp confirmed that they will carry 28 pickup trucks, 25 production trailers, 11 excavators, cranes and other equipment to Nassau next month for filming of "Casino Royale". Soho-based company root6 has been appointed to provide editorial support. Post-production will be centred in Prague, Pinewood Studios and Soho, where root6 has worked with equipment hire company LEM and the editorial team to design the required workflow for the project. Casino Royale is the third Bond feature supported by the root6 team which also worked on Die Another Day and ‘The World is Not Enough.

Teaser Trailer Imminent?
The teaser trailer for the 21st Bond film may not be far away. Sony Pictures' "The Da Vinci Code" is reported to be carrying the Casino Royale teaser trailer in theatres when it opens on May 19th in the USA and UK.

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.

Related Articles
Casino Royale Production Diary #2
Casino Royale Production Diary #1
Casino Royale Coverage
Casino Royale Production Status
Casino Royale Release Dates
Casino Royale Press Conference Video
Daniel Craig Press Conference
Official: James Bond 007 #6 is Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig Biography