The trade press have leaked various tidbits on the state of the Casino Royale production today, including Bond Girl and Felix Leiter news...

Royale Rumblings
1st February 2006

Bond Girl Search Still On
The Hollywood Reporter today confirmed long-running rumours that the production of the latest James Bond film was still lacking a Bond girl and major villain. As MI6 revealed last week, production kicked off slightly earlier than anticipated on Friday 27th January, and "lensed" on Monday 30th - despite the roles of Vesper Lynd and the principal villain still to be cast.

The article said, "although it isn't unprecedented for a studio to begin principal photography on a film with two major cast elements unsettled, it is unusual for a project of this budget and scope. However, a source familiar with the Martin Campbell-helmed production said scenes involving James Bond's love interest don't begin for more than a month, and the studio still has some breathing room before compromising the film's schedule."

"They're talking to three to four girls right now," Casino Royale scribe Paul Haggis said. "Every week I read there's a new Bond girl, and I call them and they say, No, you idiot."

According to THR, in recent days Rachel McAdams and Thandie Newton have emerged as possible Bond girls.

Newton was first rumoured a month ago, first for having screentested and the later as being "confirmed" by the tabloid press as having won the role. Clearly, that is not the case - at least not yet.

Canadian actress Rachel McAdams is a new name in the mix. The 29 year-old actress has had a string of hit movies recently, including "The Family Stone" (2005), "Red Eye" (2005), "Wedding Crashers" (2005), "The Notebook" (2004) and "Mean Girls" (2004). In December 2005, she was #1 on MuchMusic's "Who To Do: 20 Sexiest Girls" list, and yesterday came in #3 position in the daily IMDB poll "What gal would you send a Please Be Mine valentine to?".

Speaking recently, McAdams said, ""I want to try a lot of things that I haven't tried. You know, I did a thriller "Red Eye", because it was so different and it was a genre I hadn't worked in yet. Then I did a beautiful family ensemble drama. And next? I don't know. The quality of material is important, but, basically, I'm open to anything. I like to stay open to anything".

Above: Rachel McAdams

Villain Wanted - Apply Within
An insider also told the paper that casting of the villain is much further along than that of the female star. As MI6 reported in the Casino Royale Production Diary #3, 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.

The report stated that one agent familiar with the film's casting said Sony is in an unenviable position because anyone the studio chooses will have leverage during negotiations because of the ticking clock. "To be that exposed is unheard of," the agent said. "(The actor or actress) can have them over a barrel. Not to have your two principal leads by now is awfully strange."

Campbell Comments
Director Martin Campbell gave a brief interview to off the back of promoting the DVD release of his last film, "The Legend of Zorro".

On the subject of a reboot, Campbell said: "First of all, it's a franchise that doesn't need reinventing, because the last one [Die Another Day] took in a huge amount of money. But I think what makes this interesting is that it's going back to the original book. That's what makes it exciting. Having a new Bond? I think Daniel is not only a terrific actor, but it's kind of a tougher, more gritty Bond this time, hopefully without losing all the things that make Bond really work. And it's a much more ... What's the word?... It's got its feet on the ground much more in term of its action and in terms of its story."

Felix Leiter Returns
Talking about the supporting cast, Campbell commented, "Judi Dench is far too great an actress not to have, to be honest. She must be England's best actress, I think. We don't have a Q [or gadget master] in this film. That doesn't happen. We have [CIA agent] Felix Leiter in the movie. So it's a remastering of the series, basically. It is, as I've said, the original story. That I am excited about."

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 began on Friday 27th January and "lensed" on Monday 30th January 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 #3
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