Whilst studios battle it out to host the 22nd James Bond film in 2008, news breaks on the script status and possible influences...

Bond 22 Pre-Production Diary (1)
24th March 2007

Shooting on Daniel Craig's second outing as 007 is not scheduled to start until January 2008, but developments are already well underway. MI6 keeps you up to date with the latest coverage of Bond 22 - due out 7th November 2008.

The Battle For Bond
Rival studios are bidding for the attention of Eon Productions as 007's traditional home at Pinewood Studios goes head-to-head with Casino Royale's base Barrandov Studios in Prague.

Both have enjoyed huge success with 007: Pinewood has hosted Bond from the beginning and most of its history is written around the legendary spy, and Barrandov Studios was the main base for Casino Royale in Prague - the biggest box-office success in the series so far.

Round one began earlier in the week when Barrandov Studio chief Tomas Zelazko told the Czech newspaper Hospodarske Noviny that producers had not settled on a location for Bond 22 yet, and that they were "very satisfied" with their time there during Casino Royale. Zelazko said the decision on location "could be made at any time" and the studio had been in talks with MGM, Columbia Pictures and Eon Productions to host the follow-up film.

Whilst the Czech Republic does not offer an tax incentives to film productions, the production costs are lower than most of Europe and Barrandov Studios has just completed a 4,000 square metre sound stage to compete with Pinewood.

Stillking Films, the Czech based co-producers of Casino Royale, said they also had been in contact with producers about Bond 22.


Round two... Meanwhile back in Britain, Pinewood Studios have almost completed work on rebuilding the famous 007 Stage after it was destroyed by fire back in July last year. The new 007 Stage sits in the same location on the lot and measures 5481 square metres, with more usable space compared to its predecessor. When re-opened it will regain its title as the biggest sound stage in Europe.

Although Barrandov secured most of the action for Casino Royale, the 007 Stage was used to host the Venetian set from January to July 2006. According to reports, Pinewood has already begun talks with producers to keep Bond in Britain and host the 22nd 007 film on the newly rebuilt stage.

Above: Like a phoenix from the flames, the 007 Stage will be re-opened next month following it's untimely destruction in July 2006.

Script Status
Bond regulars Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are continuing their run of the previous three films to pen the screenplay for Bond 22. Production designer Peter Lamont confirmed last week at the Festival of Valencians in France that there have already been several script development meetings, and for the first time in the Bond series, the story film will be closely related to its predecessor.

According to Screen International, Purvis and Wade are reportedly working out a script based on Ian Fleming's short stories The Hildebrand Rarity, The Property Of A Lady, Risico and 007 In New York.

Above: Writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade on the Venetian set of Casino Royale.

Back in January, Purvis and Wade confirmed that the film will not be titled Risico. The duo refused to comment on whether the plot featured Vesper's Algerian boyfriend being a central character in Bond's quest to topple the organisation that Le Chiffre worked for. Wade simply said, "I can't comment", which will no doubt cause fans to assume the plot is alive and kicking.

Sony Pictures Entertainment executive Jeff Blake stated to the LA Times that the Bond 22 script had not been completed yet, but "two things are definite: Daniel Craig is returning, and we’re going November 7th [2008]. After that it gets complicated.”

Wade said, "the idea is for the movie to start shooting at the beginning of next year. It would be nice to have the draft next week. [Laughs]. The sooner the better. It's not an easy thing to do, because the bar was raised with the last picture, so we have to raise our game again."

You Only Direct Twice?
In an interview last week, to coincide with the release of Casino Royale on DVD in the USA, director Martin Campbell made sure he 'left his soap in the shower' for a possible return to helm Bond 22.

When Casino Royale was wrapping, Campbell was reluctant to state whether he would be returning to helm again, but gave more positive vibes at the Royal Premiere after-party. Some days later though, he confirmed he would not be interested. But the lure of Daniel Craig's second outing seems to have him excited again.

Above: Director Martin Campbell

He told USA Today, "After GoldenEye, I was asked to do subsequent Bonds, but I declined because it felt as if I'd be repeating myself. But this one is based on a Bond that's more interesting. To be honest, I would just say I'd never say never."