Reports from the Cannes Film Festival confirm that James Bond production of "Casino Royale" is heading to Prague...

Casino Royale - April Report
6th April 2005

MI6 can confirm that final decisions on the future of the James Bond role are being made this week in Los Angeles, USA. All of the movers and shakers in the franchise are in LA to iron out the final creases in the plan that will usher in 007 for "Casino Royale". Big decisions are being finalized and news is sure to break soon.

Traditionally, the announcement of a new James Bond would take place in a top London Hotel, with invitations sent out to the press the day before. With the final moves being made in LA, this could change with Bond #6.

But as usual, the hype surrounding the franchise is being cooled by official spokespersons. Following Daniel Craig being "announced" by The Sun today, an Eon spokesperson was quoted by the BBC as saying "We're waiting for our director to finish the film he's currently working on. Then I'm sure we'll be commenting a lot on all sorts of things."

Name That Bond
The guessing game has turned into tabloid warfare over the past couple of weeks as the different media groups pick sides and place their bets on who will be donning the tuxedo as 007 in "Casino Royale".

Above: The British press is split between announcing Clive Owen and Daniel Craig as the sixth James Bond 007.

Rupert Murdoch's Carver-esque media empire have backed English actor Daniel Craig as 007 #6. His flagship newspaper The Sun "exclusively" named Craig as officially taking on the role with a three film contract. The paper was playing it safer in February when it reported the decision was down to Clive Owen and Daniel Craig, The paper also claimed that Colin Salmon would be the first black James Bond last year.

Rival Mirror newspaper group are backing Clive Owen to the hilt, announcing him as 007 #6 in both the Sunday Mirror and Sunday Star over the weekend. The Italian press beat them to it a day earlier though, with reports based on comments Owen made at the Sin City premiere in LA.

The other top candidate, Australian actor Julian McMahon, who can't seem to get any newspaper on his side at the moment, has gone on the record that he's in the final mix and will accept the role if offered.

Meanwhile, other media outlets have flirted with the concept of Pierce Brosnan returning to the fold since Sony can afford his high price tag and may not want to risk the box-office with a lesser known name. US television show Entertainment Tonight poured scorn on such talk saying producers had informed them that Brosnan would not be coming back.

From Prague With Love
In other "Casino Royale" news, the production is heading outside the UK. As MI6 reported back in September last year, the Bond production team made scouting trips to the Czech Republic for potential locations. Prague was then rumoured as a potential base for the production of "Casino Royale" (then "Bond 21"), rather than 007's traditional home of Pinewood Studios in the UK.

MI6 can reveal that "Casino Royale" director Martin Campbell, whose debut 007 outing "GoldenEye" was shot at an abandoned Rolls Royce factory at Leavesdon Aerodrome because of lack of availability at Pinewood, will now be heading to Prague to helm his second film. The last Bond film to head abroad for production was Timothy Dalton's final outing, "Licence To Kill" in 1989, which shot in Churubusco Studios in Mexico City for tax reasons.

Above: 007 production will be moving to Prague for "Casino Royale".

"Casino Royale", directed by Martin Campbell, has a tentative release date of November 17th 2006. Shooting is expected to start in January/February 2006.

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