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CASINO ROYALE

Casino Royale is the twenty-first film in the Eon Productions James Bond film series and the first to star Daniel Craig as fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Directed by Martin Campbell and written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Paul Haggis, the film marks the third screen adaptation of Ian Fleming's 1953 novel of the same name. Casino Royale is set at the beginning of Bond's career as Agent 007, just as he is earning his licence to kill. After preventing a terrorist attack at Miami International Airport, Bond falls for Vesper Lynd, the treasury employee assigned to provide the money he needs to bankrupt terrorist financier Le Chiffre by beating him in a high-stakes poker game. The story arc continues in the following Bond film, Quantum of Solace (2008).

Casino Royale reboots the series, establishing a new timeline and narrative framework not meant to precede or succeed any previous Bond film, which allowed the film to show a less experienced and more vulnerable Bond. For the first time in the series, the character Miss Moneypenny does not appear. Casting the film involved a widespread search for a new actor to portray James Bond, and significant controversy surrounded Craig when he was selected to succeed Pierce Brosnan in October 2005. Location filming took place in the Czech Republic, the Bahamas, Italy and the United Kingdom with interior sets built at Pinewood Studios. Although part of the storyline was set in Montenegro, no filming took place there. Casino Royale was produced by Eon Productions for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures, making it the first Eon-produced Bond film to be co-produced by the latter studio.

Casino Royale premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square on November 14th 2006. It received largely positive critical response, with reviewers highlighting Craig's performance and the reinvention of the character of Bond. It earned over $599 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing James Bond film until the release of Skyfall in 2012.

Casino Royale was previously produced as a 1954 television episode and a 1967 satirical film. Eon Productions gained the rights for Casino Royale in 1999 after Sony Pictures Entertainment exchanged them for MGM's rights to Spider-Man. In March 2004, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade began writing a screenplay for Pierce Brosnan as Bond, aiming to bring back the flavour of Ian Fleming's original Bond novels. Paul Haggis' main contribution was to rewrite the climax of the film. He explained, "the draft that was there was very faithful to the book and there was a confession, so in the original draft the character confessed and killed herself. She then sent Bond to chase after the villains; Bond chased the villains into the house. I don't know why but I thought that Vesper had to be in the sinking house and Bond has to want to kill her and then try and save her."

Director Quentin Tarantino expressed interest in directing an adaptation of Casino Royale, although he did not follow this up with Eon. Tarantino also expressed interest in Casino Royale after Pulp Fiction. He claims to have worked behind the scenes with the Fleming family, and believed this was the reason why filmmakers finally went ahead with Casino Royale. Tarantino also said, he would have set it in the 1950s, like the novel, would have filmed it in black-and-white and would have only made it with Pierce Brosnan as Bond. Though out of step with all previous Bonds it would have been interesting to see Tarantino's take on the character. In February 2005, Martin Campbell was announced as the film's director. Later in 2005, Sony led a consortium that purchased MGM, allowing Sony to gain distribution rights starting with the film.

Eon admitted that they had relied too heavily on CGI effects in the more recent films, particularly Die Another Day, and were keen to accomplish the stunts in Casino Royale "the old fashioned way". In keeping with this drive for more realism, screenwriters Purvis, Wade and Haggis wanted the script to follow as closely as possible to the original 1953 novel, keeping Fleming's darker storyline and characterisation of Bond.

Pierce Brosnan had originally signed a deal for four films when he was cast in the role of James Bond. This was fulfilled with the production of Die Another Day in 2002. However, at this stage Brosnan was approaching his 50th birthday, and speculation began that the producers were seeking to replace him with a younger actor. Brosnan officially announced he was stepping down in February 2005. At one point producer Michael G. Wilson claimed there was a list of over 200 names being considered for his replacement. Croatian actor Goran Višnjic auditioned for the role the same day as Craig, but was reportedly unable to master a British accent. New Zealander Karl Urban (who would join the Star Trek reboot as Dr McCoy) was considered, but was unable to make the screen test due to filming commitments. Sam Worthington was also considered but according to Martin Campbell, future Man of Steel Henry Cavill was the only actor in serious contention for the role, but at 22 years old, was considered too young. Cavill would get his chance to play a Fleming-ish gentlemen spy when he would be later cast in 2013 as Napoleon Solo in big screen version of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. The Solo character was one of Ian Fleming's contributions to the development of the TV series though he was not involved in it's actual production.

In May 2005, Daniel Craig announced that MGM and producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli had assured him that he would get the role of Bond, and Matthew Vaughn told reporters that MGM offered him the opportunity to direct, but Eon Productions at that point had not approached either of them. A year beforehand, Craig rejected the offer, as he felt the series had descended into formula: only when he read the script did he become interested. Craig read all of Fleming's novels to prepare for the part, and cited Mossad and British Secret Service agents who served as advisors on the set of Munich as inspiring because, "Bond has just come out of the service and he's a killer. You can see it in their eyes, you know immediately: oh, hello, he's a killer. There's a look. These guys walk into a room and very subtly they check the perimeters for an exit. That's the sort of thing I wanted."

On October 14th 2005 Eon Productions, Sony Pictures Entertainment and MGM announced at a press conference in London that Craig would be the sixth actor to portray James Bond. A tuxedo-clad Craig boarded a Royal Marines Rigid Raider from HMS Belfast before travelling to HMS President where he was introduced to the world's press. Significant controversy followed the decision, with some critics and fans expressing doubt the producers had made the right choice. Throughout the entire production period, Internet campaigns such as danielcraigisnotbond.com expressed their dissatisfaction and threatened to boycott the film in protest. Craig, unlike previous actors, was not considered by the protesters to fit the tall, dark, handsome and charismatic image of Bond to which viewers had been accustomed. The Daily Mirror ran a front page news story critical of Craig, with the headline, The Name's Bland – James Bland. He would prove them all wrong.

The next important casting was that of the lead Bond girl, Vesper Lynd. Casting director Debbie McWilliams acknowledged that Hollywood actresses Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron were "strongly considered" for the role and that Belgian actress Cécile de France had also auditioned, but her English accent "wasn't up to scratch." Audrey Tautou was also considered, but not chosen because of her role in The Da Vinci Code that was released in May 2006. It was announced on February 16th 2006 that Eva Green (right) would play the part.

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Casino Royale (2006) - Official Trailer. Casino Royale is the twenty-first film in the Eon Productions James Bond film series and the first to star Daniel Craig as fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film marks the third screen adaptation of Ian Fleming's 1953 novel of the same name. Casino Royale is set at the beginning of Bond's career as Agent 007, just as he is earning his licence to kill. The story arc continues in the following Bond film, Quantum of Solace (2008).

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Principal photography for Casino Royale commenced on January 3rd 2006 and concluded on July 20th 2006. The film was primarily shot at Barrandov Studios in Prague, with additional location shooting in the Bahamas, Italy and the United Kingdom. The shoot concluded at Pinewood Studios.

Initially, Michael G. Wilson confirmed that Casino Royale would either be filmed or take place in Prague and South Africa. However, Eon Productions encountered problems in securing film locations in South Africa. After no other locations became available, the producers had to reconsider their options. In September 2005, Martin Campbell and director of photography Phil Meheux were scouting Paradise Island in the Bahamas as a possible location for the film. In October 2005, Martin Campbell confirmed that Casino Royale would film in the Bahamas and "maybe Italy". In addition to the extensive location filming, studio work including choreography and stunt coordination practice was performed at the Barrandov Studios in Prague and at Pinewood Studios where the film used several stages as well as the paddock tank and the historic 007 Stage. Further shooting in the UK was scheduled for Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, the cricket pavilion at Eton College (although that particular scene was cut from the completed movie) and the Millbrook Vehicle Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.

After Prague, the production moved to the Bahamas. Several locations around New Providence were used for filming during February and March, particularly on Paradise Island. Footage set in Mbale, Uganda, was filmed at Black Park, a Country Park in Buckinghamshire, on July 4th 2006. Additional scenes took place at Albany House, an estate owned by golfers Ernie Els and Tiger Woods. The crew returned to the Czech Republic in April, and continued there, filming in Prague, Planá and Loket, before completing in the town of Karlovy Vary in May. A famous Czech spa, Karlovy Vary, in German known as the Karlsbad, was used as the exterior of the Casino Royale, with the Grandhotel Pupp serving as "Hotel Splendide". The main Italian location was Venice, where the majority of the film's ending is set. Other scenes in the latter half of the film were shot in late May and early June at the Villa del Balbianello on the shores of Lake Como. Further exterior shooting for the movie took place at properties such as the Villa la Gaeta, near the lakeside town of Menaggio.

A recreation of the Body Worlds exhibit provided a setting for one scene in the film. Among the Body Worlds plastinates featured in that scene were the Poker Playing Trio (which plays a key role in one scene) and Rearing Horse and Rider. The exhibition's developer and promoter, German anatomist Gunther von Hagens, also has a cameo appearance in the film, although only his trademark hat is actually visible on screen.

On July 30th 2006, a fire broke out at the 007 Stage. The damage was significant, but had no effect on the release of Casino Royale as the incident occurred one week after filming had been completed, and the sets were in the process of being dismantled. On August 11th 2006, Pinewood Studios confirmed that no attempt would be made to salvage the remains of the stage; instead it would be rebuilt from scratch

In designing the credit sequence for the film, graphic designer Daniel Kleinman was inspired by the cover of the 1953 British first edition of Casino Royale, which featured Ian Fleming's original design of a playing card bordered by eight red hearts dripping with blood. Kleinman said, "The hearts not only represent cards but the tribulations of Bond's love story. So I took that as inspiration to use playing card graphics in different ways in the titles," like a club representing a puff of gun smoke, and slashed arteries spurting thousands of tiny hearts. In creating the shadow images of the sequence, Kleinman digitised the footage of Craig and the film's stuntmen on the Inferno visual effects system, at Framestore CFC in London; the actors' silhouettes were incorporated into more than 20 digitally animated scenes depicting intricate and innovative card patterns. Kleinman decided not to use the female silhouettes commonly seen throughout the Bond title sequences, considering that the women did not fit with both the film's spirit and the storyline following Bond falling in love.

For the rest of the film, Special Effects and Miniature Effects Supervisor Chris Corbould returned to a more realistic style of film making and significantly reduced digital effects. According to Corbould, "CGI is a great tool and can be very useful, but I will fight to the tooth and nail to do something for real. It's the best way to go". Three scenes involving primarily physical effects in the film were the chase at a building site in Madagascar, the Miami Airport chase sequence, and the sinking Venetian house, with sets located on the Grand Canal and in Pinewood Studios.

First on the schedule were the scenes on the Madagascar building site, shot in the Bahamas on the site of a derelict hotel which Michael G. Wilson had become acquainted with in 1977 during the filming of The Spy Who Loved Me. The sequence at Miami International Airport was partly shot at the Dunsfold Aerodrome, in Surrey, which is known from British car show Top Gear, with some footage from the Prague and Miami airports. The Skyfleet S570 aircraft in the film was an ex-British Airways 747-200B G-BDXJ which had its engines removed and was modified for its appearance in the film.

The sinking of the Venetian house at the climax of the film featured the largest rig ever built for a Bond film. For the scene involving Bond following Vesper into the house undergoing renovation supported by inflatable balloons, a tank was constructed at the 007 stage at Pinewood, consisting of a Venetian piazza and the interior of the three-story dilapidated house. The rig, weighing some 90 tons, incorporated electronics with hydraulic valves which were closely controlled by computer because of the dynamic movement within the system on its two axes. The same computer system also controlled the exterior model which the effects team built to one-third scale to film the building eventually collapsing into the Venetian canal. The model elevator within the rig could be immersed in 19 feet of water, and used banks of compressors to strictly regulate movement.

At the time of filming, Aston Martin were still in the final phases of designing the DBS. The scene involving the car crash was devised using an Aston Martin DB9 that was especially modified to look like Bond's Aston Martin DBS V12 and reinforced to withstand the impact. Due to the low centre of gravity of the vehicle, an 18-inch (450 mm) ramp had to be implemented on the road tarmac at Millbrook Proving Grounds and Adam Kirley, the stunt driver who performed the stunt, had to use an air cannon located behind the driver's seat to propel the car into a roll at the precise moment of impact. At a speed exceeding 70 mph (113 km/h), the car rotated seven times while being filmed, and was confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records on November 5th 2006 as a new world record.

The soundtrack of Casino Royale, released by Sony Classical on November 14th 2006, featured music composed by veteran composer David Arnold, his fourth soundtrack for the Bond film series, while Nicholas Dodd orchestrated and conducted the score. Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli announced on July 26th 2006 that Chris Cornell, then-former lead singer of Soundgarden and former lead singer of Audioslave, composed and performed the title song, "You Know My Name". The song's main notes are played throughout the film as a substitute for the James Bond theme, to represent Bond's youth and inexperience. The classic theme only plays during the end credits to signal the climax of his character arc.

Casino Royale premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square, the Odeon West End and the Empire simultaneously in London on November 14th 2006. It marked the 60th Royal Film Performance and benefited the Cinema & Television Benevolent Fund (CTBF), whose patron, Queen Elizabeth II, was in attendance with the Duke of Edinburgh. It is the third James Bond premiere that the Queen attended following You Only Live Twice and Die Another Day. Along with the cast and crew, numerous celebrities and 5,000 paying guests were also in attendance with half the proceeds benefiting the CTBF.

Only two days following the premiere, pirated copies appeared for sale in London. "The rapid appearance of this film on the streets shows the sophistication and organisation behind film piracy in the UK," said Kieron Sharp, from the Federation Against Copyright Theft. Craig himself was offered such a DVD while walking anonymously through the streets of Beijing wearing a hat and glasses in order to avoid being identified.

In January 2007, Casino Royale became the first Bond film ever to be shown in mainland Chinese cinemas. The Chinese version was edited before release, with the reference to the Cold War re-dubbed and new dialogue added during the poker scene explaining the process of Texas Hold'em, as the game is less familiar in China (this addition is reminiscent of dialogue that was added to the 1954 American TV adaptation in order to explain the rules of baccarat, the game featured in the original book).

After critics dubbed Die Another Day "Buy Another Day" because of around 20 product placement deals, Eon limited their promotions for Casino Royale. Partners included Ford Motors, Heineken Pilsener (which Eva Green starred in adverts for), Smirnoff, Omega SA, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Sony Ericsson.

Casino Royale was the 4th highest-grossing film of 2006, and was the highest-grossing instalment of the James Bond series until Skyfall surpassed it in November 2012. Casino Royale was censored for its release in Britain, Germany and the United States. In Britain, the film received BBFC 12 rating after omitting some of LeChiffre's sadism and James Bond's reactions in the torture scene. In the United States, two fight scenes were censored to achieve a PG-13 rating: the fight between Bond and the traitorous MI-6 Agent's contact Fisher, and the fight between Bond and Obanno in the stairway at the Casino Royale. The German edit of the film cuts a sequence where the bomb-planter at the airport breaks a man's neck, instead replacing it with an alternate take. The mainland Chinese cut of the film also trims the torture scene and the stairway fight, as well as a shot of Bond cleaning his wound at the hotel and a boat scene. The fully uncensored versions can be found on the Australian, Dutch, French, Hong Kong, Japanese, and Scandinavian Blu-rays and DVDs, and on more recent editions of the UK release (rated 15).

Critics gave the film a positive response, in particular Craig's performance and credibility. During production this had been subject to debate by the media and the public, as Craig did not appear to fit Ian Fleming's original portrait of the character as tall, dark and suave. Many critics and fans alike praised Craig's Bond and that he embodied Ian Fleming's James Bond from the original novel: ironic, brutal and cold.

The film was similarly well received in North America. The film was described as taking James Bond "back to his roots", similar to From Russia with Love, where the focus was on character and plot rather than the high-tech gadgets and visual effects that were strongly criticised in Die Another Day. Some newspaper columnists and critics were impressed enough by Craig's performance to consider him a viable candidate for an Academy Award nomination. Roger Ebert gave the film a four out of four star rating, the first for any of the James Bond films he reviewed. Former Bond Roger Moore wrote, "Daniel Craig impressed me so greatly in his debut outing, Casino Royale, by introducing a more gritty, unrefined edge to the character that I thought Sean might just have to move over. Craig's interpretation was like nothing we'd seen on screen before; Jimmy Bond was earning his stripes and making mistakes. It was intriguing to see him being castigated by M, just like a naughty schoolboy would be by his headmaster. The script showed him as a vulnerable, troubled, and flawed character. Quite the opposite to my Bond! Craig was, and is, very much the Bond Ian Fleming had described in the books – a ruthless killing machine. It was a Bond that the public wanted." So impressed was Moore that he chose to buy the DVD. Raymond Benson, the author of nine Bond novels, called Casino Royale "a perfect Bond film."

However, the film met with mixed reactions from other critics. Rob Gonsalves of eFilmCritic.com gave the film a positive review, but commented, "When you strip the 007 films down for action and 'realism,' you lose the soul of those old beloved Bond movies – they might as well be Jason Bourne movies." Anthony Lane of The New Yorker criticised the more imperfect and self-aware depiction of the character, saying, "Even James Bond, in other words, wants to be 007."

In December 2006, Casino Royale was named the best film of the year by viewers of Film 2006. The sequence with Craig sporting swimming trunks topped the sexiest male celebrity poll of The Sun, and in 2009 Del Monte Foods launched an ice lolly moulded to resemble Craig emerging from the sea.

At the 2006 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, Casino Royale won the Film Award for Best Sound (Chris Munro, Eddy Joseph, Mike Prestwood Smith, Martin Cantwell, Mark Taylor), and the Orange Rising Star Award, which was won by Eva Green. The film was nominated for eight BAFTA awards, including the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film of the Year; Best Screenplay (Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis); the Anthony Asquith Award for Best Film Music (David Arnold); Best Cinematography (Phil Meheux); Best Editing (Stuart Baird); Best Production Design (Peter Lamont, Simon Wakefield); Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects (Steve Begg, Chris Corbould, John Paul Docherty, Ditch Doy); and Best Actor (Daniel Craig). This made Craig the first actor ever to receive a BAFTA nomination for a performance as James Bond. He also received the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor.

Casino Royale won the Excellence in Production Design Award from the Art Directors Guild, and singer Chris Cornell's "You Know My Name" won the International Press Academy Satellite Award for Best Original Song. The film was nominated for five Saturn Awards - Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film, Best Actor (Daniel Craig), Best Supporting Actress (Eva Green), Best Writing (Purvis, Wade and Haggis) and Best Music (David Arnold). Casino Royale was also nominated for, and has won, many other international awards for its screenplay, film editing, visual effects, and production design. At the 2007 Saturn Awards, the film was declared to be the Best Action/Adventure/Thriller film of 2006. Several members of the crew were also recipients of 2007 Taurus World Stunt Awards, including Gary Powell for Best Stunt Coordination and Ben Cooke, Kai Martin, Marvin Stewart-Campbell and Adam Kirley for Best High Work.

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