Very little of theforthcoming James Bond feature Casino Royale is to shoot at the 007franchise's traditional home, the UK's Pinewood Studios, according to thefilm's director Martin Campbell.
The film's productionlocation has been heavily speculated in recent months, ever since ScreenInternational reported in May that the Czech Republic's Barrandov Studioswas in talks with Bond producers Eon to host the shoot.
In an interview with ScreenDaily.comyesterday, Campbell revealed: "We'll be shooting a little bit at Pinewood butnot much. We're going to be in Prague, maybe Italy, Bahamas and places likethat. Like everybody, we're heading off to wherever we can get a good exchangerate."
Whispers about who will playthe next James Bond may also have reached deafening levels in the press, butCampbell insists that there aren't even any clear frontrunners to play 007 inthe 21st Bond film, Casino Royale.
"Believe it or not, to behonest there are no front-runners at the moment," Campbell said. "We've testedpeople and will look at those tests and see if there is anybody. It's a trickyprocess." He added that he hoped the team could announce a new Bond "as soon aspossible" because the film is still slated to start shooting at the end ofJanuary. But he wants to choose the new 007 carefully, because, as he says,"they'll hang us like dogs from the lampposts if we get it wrong.
The New Zealand-born, LosAngeles-based Campbell is director of films including The Mask of Zorro,Vertical Limit, and Pierce Brosnan's first Bond film, GoldenEye (1995).
He said he is particularlyexcited to tackle the first Bond book, 1953's Casino Royale, which hadonly previously been directed as an unofficial satire in 1967 starring DavidNiven and Peter Sellers.
Campbell says the Bond of CasinoRoyale is around age 28 or 30, which might rule out potential suspects suchas British actor Daniel Craig, 37. "I suppose you could certainly do that [gofor an older actor] and adapt it slightly," Campbell said. However, makingmajor adjustments to the story might be difficult with a shoot starting in lessthan four months.
It was reported last weekthat the four Bond frontrunners were Craig, 22-year-old Brit Henry Cavill,Croatian-born Goran Visnjic (33), and Aussie Sam Worthington, (29). There werealso rumours that Brosnan could come back for one more (although at 52 he'spast the age of young Bond). Previous names mentioned to tackle Bond includedClive Owen, Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana, and Hugh Jackman - although it may behard for producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson at Eon Productions toland such a known A-lister because they are said not to offer actors a morelucrative percentage of the film's grosses.
"It's difficult to find theman that every woman wants to go to bed with and every man wants to be,"Campbell continued. "It's a tough call. And also whoever plays Bond has to doit for three movies because they are contracted for three. That's a bigcommitment for actors."
Campbell says he's taking a"dispassionate" approach to try to find the best candidate simply by looking atscreen tests in a projection room. And he's certainly trying not to pay muchheed to media speculations. "They'll say one day it's Clive Owen and one dayit's what's his name Cray -- Daniel Craig -- and then they'll say Jude Law, andthen suddenly there might be photographs of these people holding a gun in someawful composite photo," he says with a laugh. "You've got to put all of thatout of your head, it's got to be the best man for the job."
Campbell faced some similarpressures when he directed GoldenEye, with Brosnan's debut as Bond. Buthe noted that it's slightly different because GoldenEye followedfranchise letdown Licence to Kill, while Casino Royale isfollowing on four successful films. Sony plans a 2006 worldwide release for CasinoRoyale.
Campbell said he wasparticularly interested in doing Casino Royale because it will show anew side of 007. "Because it's the first book, it actually has a much youngerBond, and really he's just earned his double-O stripes and he doesn't reallybecome the Bond we know and love until the end of the movie." The script iswritten by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, with Paul Haggis brought in recentlyfor a polish.
Campbell says that he won'ttry to reinvent Bond as a sort of Bourne Indentity-inspired character."It's easy to fall into the trap of making Bond more of a Jason Bourne, but Ithink that's wrong," he said, although he noted that he's a huge fan of bothBourne films. "I think there's a lot of qualities in Bond - his suaveness, hisattitude towards women, his drinking, his great stylishness and sexiness.You've got to have all that. The thing about Jason Bourne is that he's not sexyin that sense. He's a driven man haunted by a past, whereas Bond is a differentcharacter entirely."
Campbell is also in London(where he previously worked in the TV industry for years) to promote ColumbiaPictures and Spyglass Entertainment's The Legend of Zorro, his sequel to1998 smash The Mask of Zorro, which hits theatres on October 28.