Trace the origins of the smoothest, sexiest, most lethal agent on Her Majesty's Secret Service in Columbia Pictures’ Casino Royale, the 21st James Bond adventure in the most successful franchise in film history. Starring Daniel Craig in his debut as 007, the film is based on the first Bond book written by Ian Fleming which has never been told on film until now, and recounts the making of the world's greatest secret agent.
Directed by Martin Campbell (GoldenEye, The Mask of Zorro) and written by Paul Haggis (Crash), Casino Royale tells the early career of James Bond. His first “007” mission leads him to Le Chiffre, banker to the world’s terrorists. In order to stop him, and bring down the terrorist network, Bond must beat Le Chiffre in a high-stakes poker game at Casino Royale. Bond is initially annoyed when a beautiful Treasury official, Vesper Lynd, is assigned to deliver his stake for the game and watch over the government's money. But, as Bond and Vesper survive a series of lethal attacks by Le Chiffre and his henchmen, a mutual attraction develops leading them both into further danger and events that will shape Bond’s life forever.
Dame Judi Dench returns as M, the Head of the British Secret Service. Vesper Lynd, the first woman with whom James Bond falls in love, is played by French actress Eva Green, and Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen takes the role of Le Chiffre, international money launderer and Bond’s rival in the high stakes poker game at the heart of the film.
Director Martin Campbell says he was excited about taking the helm of Casino Royale because of the transformation the secret agent character undergoes. “This is Bond’s first 00 mission and he has a lot to learn. He makes mistakes early on and is reprimanded by M. He’s thinking more with his heart than with his head, and things go wrong. But by the end of the movie he’s becoming the man we know. We see Bond fall in love with Vesper, but he is also involved in some truly brutal violence. This is more realistic and more emotionally involving than previous films.”
Producer Michael G. Wilson describes Casino Royale as the film that the franchise’s original producers Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman always wanted to make, but couldn’t because the rights weren’t available to them. “Finally, in 2000, we obtained the rights to make the movie, and went ahead with the script. It’s Fleming’s first 007 novel, so it’s classic Bond.”
Wilson, who is Albert Broccoli’s stepson and who has produced and/or co-written 11 Bond films, has seen the 007 series evolve over the past four decades. “In the 1970s the films got bigger and more fantastic until we reached “Moonraker” in 1979, which was in outer space. Then we brought it back down to earth in 1981 in “For Your Eyes Only.” With “Die Another Day” in 2002 the technology began to overwhelm the story and the characters, so we’ve come back down to earth again, with a new, rawer Bond, who we see earn his 00 status and take on his first mission for MI6.”
With Casino Royale says Wilson, the filmmakers wanted to take Bond “back to basics.” “We needed to reenergize ourselves after `Die Another Day’ and, although we knew we’d have a guaranteed winner if we stuck to the same path, we would have lost what we think is important for the series.” – Columbia Pictures