The villains of Casino Royale enjoy the limelight for this edition, plus the latest production updates and rumour quashing...

Casino Royale Production Diary #6
18th April 2006

Villains Revealed
The first photo of Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen as villain Le Chiffre has surfaced online. The Casino Royale baddy has been shooting in Prague for three weeks, and has three weeks left to complete his scenes. Mikkelsen revealed in an interview with a Danish newspaper that his first week on set in Prague was without Daniel Craig (James Bond) and director Martin Campbell, who were still in the Bahamas.

Mikkelsen also reveals in the article that his character, Le Chiffre, invites the world's best poker players to an "everything or nothing" high stakes game. Bond, of course, takes part in an attempt to bankrupt the terrorist financier. The image (hosted on AICN) shows Mikkelsen in full character make-up for his role as Le Chiffre, complete with an eye-scar

Isaach de Bankole has been cast as Obanno, one of the villains in the forthcoming James Bond movie "Casino Royale" - reports Variety. The 48 year-old Ivory Coast actor recently wrapped the role of Neptune in Universal's "Miami Vice". Isaach was discovered on the streets of Paris while studying to be an airline pilot. He has a degree in Acting from Cours Simon and a Masters in Mathematics from the Universite de Paris.

Few details of his character have been released, but Obanno is thought to be a rogue African military chief who gives Le Chiffre fund to looks after.

Above: Isaach de Bankole will play Obanno

Production Schedule Update
Director Martin Campbell is scheduled to conclude principal photography on Casino Royale in the Czech Republic at the end of May. The final shots in the country will take place in Czech spa town Karlovy Vary, which will double as Montenegro - reports Screen Daily.

Above: Pinewood Studios

MGM executives toured the set of Casino Royale in Prague on April 6. In town to promote the planned launch of the MGM Channel in central Europe, MGM chairman and CEO Harry Sloan, COO Rick Sands, MGM Networks executive VP Bruce Tuchman and others toured Barrandov Studios sound stages where Campbell was filming a critical gambling scene between James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, and villain Le Chiffre, played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen.

Although Bond and Le Chiffre play baccarat in Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel, the game will be Texas Hold ‘Em poker in the 21st Bond film. Casino Royale’s filming in the Bahamas wrapped April 5th. The Caribbean location stands in for Madagascar, where Casino Royale begins with Bond chasing down and apparently killing a villain.

From Prague, filming will move to Venice for exteriors for five days, after which it returns to Pinewood Studios in the UK. The climactic action scenes will make use of the water tank on Pinewood’s 007 stage. The existing tank is being made deeper for Casino Royale, growing from a current depth of 8 feet to 20 feet.

Craig On Bond
Daniel Craig told BBC One's Film 2006 host Jonathan Ross all the traditional Bond elements would be in place. Craig, then on location in the Bahamas, said: "I just wanted to see him make a few mistakes. I want to make the audience believe that it's all going to go wrong and then when it goes right it's much more exciting."

Craig also explained how grueling chase scenes and fight sequences high up on cranes meant the role demanded a high level of fitness. He said: "Every day you pick up an injury and you're battered and bruised. If you're not physically fit then it's difficult to get through.

To answer his critics, Craig said: "I'm a Bond fan. If I go and see a Bond movie there are certain things I think should be in it. And they're there. We've got them in spades. Nobody knows more than I do how important this is, and it's my job to get it right."

Rumour Wrap-Up
Key players in the production team came out fighting in an Entertainment Weekly report in an attempt to lay various rumours to rest once and for all. "No, his teeth didn't get knocked out," says director Martin Campbell, "What happened was that one of his caps came loose while we were filming in Prague. A local dentist came to the set, put a bit of glue on it, and that was that. The whole thing took 10 minutes."


Above: Bond gets briefed by M.

Above: Bond waits for the arrival of his second target which will assure him his "00" status in the film's pre-title sequence.

"That story about the stick shift was ludicrous," adds Barbara Broccoli, "Everybody drives a stick in England. You have to be able to in order to get an unrestricted license over there. The tabloids come up with these stupid stories. Almost everything they've written about this movie has been wrong."

"It's not a prequel or a period piece or anything like that — it's set today, right now" explains Broccoli. "Daniel Craig is an incredibly funny, charming, sexy guy. Fans are going to love him — they just don't know him yet."


"The way we look at it, it's Classic Bond", explained Broccoli (pictured opposite) in another interview with Globe & Mail. "Casino Royale is the definitive Bond story. It was always an ambition of [Cubby Broccoli & Harry Saltzman] to be able to make this story, but sadly, they were never able to. So when it finally became available to us, we leapt at the chance. I like to think that I'm doing this for my dad".

"James Bond is a very dark, complex character the way he was originally conceived by Fleming," she notes. "So this film is going to explore elements of the character that have not been seen before. It will really surprise people when they see it."

Co-producer Michael G. Wilson then discussed the change in tact from the hugely successful "Die Another Day", which netted nearly $450 million at the global box-office. "Well, I think we've seen Bond films go through different periods of change," offered Wilson. "In the 1970s, they got bigger and more fantastic until we reached Moonraker [1979] in outer space. And we realized that it was going in the wrong direction and we brought it back to basics with For Your Eyes Only [1981]."

"And what we saw with Die Another Day is that we got to the same point," continues Wilson. "We started getting too high in the sky -- outer space, invisible cars -- the technology began to overwhelm the story and the characters. We felt it was very important to bring it back down to earth."

"Whether Casino Royale will make more money or less money, I don't know," he says. "But because we needed to re-energize ourselves, it's going to be a better film than we would've made had we just gone along on the track. Because after Die Another Day, we were confronted with a situation where we said, 'We'll have a guaranteed winner if we just do the same thing over again.' But I think we would've lost a lot of what we think is important [to this series]."

Above: Bond tracks down his next lead via the MI6 network.

And Finally...
A movie tie-in edition of Ian Fleming's 1953 James Bond novel "Casino Royale" will be issued this year to coincide with the movie of the same name being released in theatres. As the movie is heavily based on Fleming's first literary adventure, a new novelisation of the film will not be produced, especially as there is no continuation author currently assigned to the literary Bond series. All four of Pierce Brosnan's cinematic outings included a novelisation, initially by John Gardner for "GoldenEye", and subsequently by Raymond Benson.

Instead, Fleming's original novel will be reprinted with new cover art, likely to tie-in with movie poster art starring Daniel Craig as 007. The 240 page paperback book will be published in the USA by Penguin for release on 31st October 2006, two weeks before the film opens in theatres around the world. The book will retail for $7.99 in the USA. There are currently no details available on the UK release.

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 started 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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