Wanted: 007 Babe & Baddie
James Bond likes his women beautiful, his nemeses megalomaniacal and his martinis shaken, not stirred. These days he’s drinking alone.
Filming on the new 007 adventure, Casino Royale, kicked off last Friday in the Czech capital of Prague with newcomer Daniel Craig taking over for Pierce Brosnan as the suave secret agent. But intelligence sources reveal Bond is currently sans babe and baddie.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, filmmakers made the decision to roll cameras on the long-delayed film in order to make a planned holiday release date–even though the two key components of a Bond film are notably missing in action.
For now, their absence is being handled by shooting around them. Crucial scenes featuring the would-be villain and Bond’s latest paramour aren’t scheduled to be filmed for at least a month, leaving coproducers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and director Martin Campbell a little wiggle room.
“They’re talking to three to four girls right now,” Casino scribe Paul Haggis, who won an Oscar for his screenplay for Million Dollar Baby and is nominated again this year for writing and directing Crash, told the Reporter. “Every week I read there’s a new Bond girl, and I call them and they say, ‘No, you idiot.’ ”
The trade reports Thandie Newton (Mission: Impossible 2) and Rachel McAdams (Red Eye and The Wedding Crashers) are the several high-profile actresses currently in the running to join the pantheon of Bond babe. (The sometime rumored likes of Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears, however, are not serious contenders.)
As for the next bad guy, the Casino brain trust is reportedly much closer to cast that role than the love interest, but no names have specifically mentioned by reliable sources.
The announcement of Craig as the sixth actor to don the tuxedo was made with great fanfare at an October press conference. But because it took so long to cast the role, the production was delayed from November to January.
Campbell & Co. promised Casino Royale, the 21st installment in cinema’s longest running and most successful series, would take the iconic character back to his roots. The film is said to feature a character-driven script exploring Bond’s past and eschewing the big special-effects and gadgets that have come to define the later Bond flicks, particularly the ones starring Brosnan and Roger Moore.
The director, who also helmed GoldenEye, Brosnan’s first outing as Bond, said Casino Royale will show 007 at age of 28, when he’s just starting out on Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and purportedly explain such mysteries as to why he likes his vodka martinis prepared incorrectly. It will also be the first Bond mission since Live and Let Die not to feature the character of Q, most recently played by John Cleese.
Neither the Bond production company, the U.K.-based Eon Productions, nor its U.S.-based studio, MGM, would comment on the casting situation.
However, one Hollywood agent with an inside track on Casino’s casting told the Reporter that Sony, the film’s distributor, will probably have to cough up a lot of dough to get the actors given the fact that shooting has already begun.
“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.”
With the amount of money at stake, a tight deadline and the prestige of the franchise in the balance, producers are expected to be willing to spend as much as needed to secure the right actors.
After the Czech Republic, production moves to the Bahamas, Italy and Pinewood Studios near London. Casino Royale is being targeted for a Nov. 17, 2006 release.
Wanted: 007 Babe & Baddie