Sunday, February 19, 2006

What's going down in Bondland?

Well production has begun on the latest Bond adventure Casino Royale, with Danny Craig as the superspy himself. I'm also pleased to reveal now who he'll be joined by in the movie directed by Martin Campbell.

Eva Green has finally been cast as the enticing Vesper Lynd, renowned Danish-born actor Mads Mikkelsen has accepted the role of Le Chiffre, Bond's nemesis in the film and Jeffery Wright has joined the cast as Felix Leiter.

Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, said in a press release, "We are thrilled that Eva and Mads have joined the cast of Casino Royale completing a first rate international cast. They bring exceptional talent to the characters Ian Fleming described so vividly in his first James Bond novel.

"Vesper is a pivotal role in Casino Royale and it takes much more than beauty to make this role work," said Amy Pascal, Chairman of the Columbia Pictures Motion Picture Group. "When you think about the great James Bond adventures, of course you think about action and espionage, but you need to have palpable sexual tension in the movie and in casting Vesper, we really needed to up the ante, because this character is very much an equal to Bond and central to our story. We believe Eva as Vesper, Mads as Le Chiffre and Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter are perfect additions to our cast and we couldn't be more excited about the way this project has come together."

Described by Bernardo Bertolucci as "so beautiful it's indecent," Eva Green is one of the most intriguing actresses today. In 2005 she made her Hollywood debut, starring as the female lead in Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven.

Mads Mikkelsen made his American debut opposite Clive Owen and Keira Knightley in the magnificient King Arthur, directed by Antoine Fuqua and has won many Scandinavian awards for his work on screen and television.

The acclaimed stage actor, Wright, who first came to film audiences' attention as the doomed artist Jean Michel Basquiat in Basquiat, has subsequently garnered critical acclaim in such films as Shaft, Ali and The Manchurian Candidate.

Casino Royale reunites Wilson and Broccoli with Martin Campbell, who directed the 1995 blockbuster Goldeneye, and will be the 21st James Bond film produced by the franchise holders, EON Productions. The MGM/Columbia Pictures production began shooting in January this year and will be released worldwide on November 17. It will be filmed on location in the Czech Republic, the Bahamas, Italy and the UK.

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