BOND 25 CASTING CALLS

A little over a week ago the casting call for the main villains in the next James Bond movie was leaked. With production about 4-5 months away, you can be sure that rumors about certain actors will start popping up. Before this casting leak, names like Angelina Jolie, Helena Bonham Carter, Mark Strong and Benedict Cumberbatch were already being bandied about.

I’m going to give my top 5 acting choices for each character, with #1 being the biggest (most expensive?) name. I’ve also added a 4th character. The heavily rumored “Bond girl” role, which is more of a young apprentice for 007 to mold.

 

MAIN VILLAIN

Playing age: 30’s – 60’s
Russian. (Also open to suggestions of actors from the Balkans or similar) Must speak fluent English.
Characteristics: Charismatic, Powerful, Innovative, Cosmopolitan, Bright, Cold and Vindictive.

My choices:

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  1. Viggo Mortensen
  2. Goran Višnjić
  3. Lars Mikkelsen
  4. Ciarán Hinds
  5. Vladimir Mashkov

 

BOND GIRL #1/VILLAINOUS

Playing age: 30 – 45
Russian. (Also open to suggestions of actresses from the Balkans or similar) Must speak fluent English.
Very Striking. Strong Physical / fighting / stage combat skills required.
Characteristics: Intelligent, brave, fierce and charming. She’s witty and skillful. A survivor.

My choices:

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  1. Angelina Jolie
  2. Milla Jovovich
  3. Alexa Davalos
  4. Svetlana Khodchenkova
  5. Yuliya Snigir

 

 

HENCHMAN

Playing age: 35 – 55
Maori.
Advanced physical / fighting / stage combat skills required.
Characteristics: Authoritative, cunning, ruthless & loyal.

My choices:

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  1. Jason Momoa
  2. Cliff Curtis
  3. Temuera Morrison
  4. Manu Bennett
  5. Mark Dacascos

 

BOND GIRL #2/PROTEGE MI6 AGENT

Playing age: 20 – 30
British
Strong Physical / fighting / stage combat skills required.
Characteristics: Intelligent, brave, witty and skillful. Not a pushover.

My choices:

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  1. Hannah John-Kamen
  2. Lily James
  3. Cara Delevingne
  4. Imogen Poots
  5. Holliday Grainger

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is MISSION IMPOSSIBLE “Doing Bond” Better?

With the opening of the sixth Mission Impossible movie (Fallout) this weekend, you will see many of the same headlines as the one I have provided. Before we get down to the nitty gritty, let’s answer the headline’s question first: Currently? Yes. Yes it is. But in this article you will read that as amazing as Tom Cruise is as Ethan Hunt, 007 still has a few tricks up his cuff-linked sleeve.

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The Mission Impossible franchise is doing something most never do. They continue to get better as each new movie hits theaters. The first three were solid flicks, but since 2011’s Ghost Protocol, they have reached a status rarely seen in the action movie genre. Now with Fallout being universally praised as not only one of the best films of 2018, but also one of the best action movies in the history of cinema (currently has a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 86 score on the even tougher scale of Metacritic), the producers and crew of the next Bond movie (aka Bond 25) had better step their game up.

Why are the M:I films succeeding, while Bond is failing? I wouldn’t call it failure. We are only six years removed from the most successful (financially and critically) Bond movies of all-time with Skyfall. The reason why we see this M:I > 007 equation going around is because… and this pains me to say… in 2015, Rogue Nation was a much better film than Spectre. The most frustrating aspect of this is that you can see a lot of similarities between the two movies. The obvious one being in the criminal organizational villainy department. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation had the Syndicate, run by Solomon Lane. Spectre had their organization run by Franz Oberhauser, oh excuse me I mean Bond’s foster brother Ernst Stavro Blofeld. (insert eye roll)

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Do me a favor. Tonight at home, watch Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and pretend Ethan Hunt is really James Bond. Soloman Lane is Blofeld. The Syndicate is SPECTRE. You can even replace Alec Baldwin’s character with Ralph Fiennes’ M, Jeremy Renner’s with Jeffrey Wright (Felix Leiter), Simon Pegg’s with Ben Whishaw as Q, and so on. Rogue Nation is the film Spectre needed to be, especially after the triumphant success of Skyfall.

There’s a giant elephant in the room that we have not discussed. The insane stunts done by Tom Cruise. This is both M:I’s greatest strength and weakness. While the Bond franchise has decades under its belt when it comes to death-defying stunts, they are usually done by stuntmen. Sure, Daniel Craig does a lot his own stunts. But he’s not Tom Cruise. Cruise is both an adrenaline junkie, the likes of which we have never seen on the big screen, and he’s richer than God (or L. Ron) which means he can pay off the insurance companies to let him do his insanity. And let’s face it, the man always delivers. Scaling the world’s tallest building or hanging from a plane as it flies mid-air, can’t be topped. Although the stunts he does in Fallout are right up there too.

Remember what I said about Tom Cruise’s stunts being the M:I franchise’s weakness? Daniel Craig will leave the role of Bond after the new movie is released in November 2019. He’s the sixth actor to have played Bond over the 55+ year run. There will be a 7th actor to play 007 and audiences will still go see the films in droves. Can the same be said of Mission Impossible once Tom Cruise leaves the role of Ethan Hunt? Will we want to see someone else play that character, or a similar one with a role in the IMF? I doubt it. At least not in the same massive box-office numbers. Cruise is the greatest entertainer in the movie industry. He’s like a Vegas show at your local cinema. I want to see him perform the crazy stunts. Not a new actor’s stunt double. Talk about a tough act to follow, right?

Audiences care about James Bond 007 more than the actor. These same movie-goers care more about Tom Cruise than they do about Ethan Hunt. That’s the edge the Bond filmmakers have. But let me be clear, as of today, at this very moment in time, the Mission Impossible franchise is beating the 007 franchise. Your move Bond 25.

This blog will self-destruct in five seconds.

 

 

George Lazenby in “Diamonds Are Forever”

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Despite his profession and love for Queen and country, James Bond isn’t immune to exacting revenge. In Licence To Kill and Quantum of Solace, 007 is in full-on vengeance mode. But there was one Bond movie where he should have gone “007 meets Taken.” That flick would be 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever.

At the end of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, we see Bond get married and then immediately watch his new bride get gunned down by Blofeld and Irma Bunt. This underrated 1969 entry in the series ends in a very un-Bondian way.

Director Peter Hunt originally had the idea to end the film with Bond’s wedding and put this scene to start the next film, Diamonds Are Forever. Thus setting up a true “Bond out for revenge” pic. Long story short, George Lazenby becomes a one-and-done 007 and Hunt doesn’t return to direct. Goldfinger director Guy Hamilton steps in, and of course, the first and true James Bond (Sean Connery) returns.

The opening of Diamonds does have the right idea, in a campy sort of way. We see Bond brutally dispatching anyone who may have info on Blofeld’s whereabouts. You can check out the bad dubbing/ADR and a shockingly older looking Connery here:

 

The rest of the movie is flat-out bonkers: some stereotypical gay henchmen, Blofeld in drag, the Jimmy Dean sausage guy, acrobatic lady bodyguards, etc.

What I would have loved DAF (that’s what the cool kids call it) to have been was a direct sequel to OHMSS. Get Hunt/Lazenby back for a revenge mission against Blofeld (bring back Telly Savalas) and his SPECTRE crew. Even the title “Diamonds Are Forever” works since when we last saw Bond, he had slipped a diamond ring on Tracy’s finger. I guess keep the ridiculous plot about needing diamonds to help build a giant laser in space, or whatever, but keep Bond’s vendetta front and center of the film. Lazenby wasn’t a great actor (hell, was he even an actor?) but he handled action well, and he could have truly grown into the role. Keep the female lead as Tiffany Case, but don’t make her so goofy. Keep her character closer to the one that Ian Fleming wrote. IMHO Diamonds Are Forever is the worst of the 24 official Bond films. The main reason being… it wastes a tremendous emotional plot line.

George Lazenby is James Bond 007 in Ian Fleming’s DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. Oh what could have been!

 

Sean Connery in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”

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Sean Connery is considered by most to be the greatest James Bond ever. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is considered by many to be one of the greatest Bond stories ever. This is why it’s a heinous cinematic crime that we never got to see Connery play 007 for the 6th time in OHMSS.

Why didn’t Connery come back after You Only Live Twice? Sean had mentally checked out by the mid-60s and he felt that he was being grossly underpaid, especially after the huge hits of Goldfinger and Thunderball. He resented the Bond producers, Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. Especially Saltzman! So much so that Connery demanded that Saltzman not be on the set while he was acting. Things got worse when Sean arrived to film in Japan. The press didn’t leave him alone. He had enough. He said never again! (More on that statement other time…another place.)

Why did the producers go with George Lazenby to star in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service? Lazenby was a complete unknown, who they thought they could mold into the next Connery. That proved easier said than done. Lazenby is really the only weak spot in the entire film. Not entirely his fault, as he had never acted before. But when your great film’s only weakness is the lead actor, that’s a major issue and the producers only had themselves to blame. OHMSS needed Sean Connery. And actually, Sean Connery could have really used a film like OHMSS.

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With the beautifully talented Diana Rigg as Tracy, Bond’s future wife, and with terrific character actor Telly Savalas, playing the villain Blofeld, Connery would have fit right in. If he was tired of Bond because the movies had become lazy and out-of-this-world, then OHMSS was exactly what he needed. It’s one of the more grounded Bonds in the franchise’s 55+ year history. There are hardly any gadgets, the action is shot well thanks to director Peter Hunt, the locations make it a sweeping epic, and it offers a Bond actor a first: Bond falls in love and gets married.

It’s a shame that this movie didn’t end up as the followup to Goldfinger, as it was intended to be. Bond history might have changed. Connery would have eventually had enough of being “underpaid” and would have grown too old for the part, but we would have seen him in somewhat of his prime in one of the best 007 movies ever made.

As it stands now, if you are a Bond fanatic like myself, you have grown to respect and love the film. It’s easily in my top 10 Bond flicks, but for casual Bond fans it’s an outlier. Usually you will hear from them: “Oh yeah! That one with that one guy who only played the part once. The one without Sean Connery.” That’s a shame. Sean Connery is James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service? Has a much better ring to it. That would have been an all-timer on the level of From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loved Me, Casino Royale and Skyfall. Even with George Lazenby as James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service it still might be. It’s that good of a movie.

 

Movie Review: THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN

Sometimes the only one who can almost kill James Bond are the producers. 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun was the first time the franchise was on its last legs. Poor reviews and a lackluster box-office has ended up as the film’s legacy. Yet, it still provides us with one of the best Bond villains, a memorable henchman, and a now well-known vacation hot spot.

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MY TMWTGG NOTES:

  • The Man With The Golden Gun feels like the perfect summer Bond flick. That’s mainly because of the locations and everyone looks sweaty throughout filming.
  • “Nick Nack, Tabasco!” is one of the greatest lines in a Bond movie. At least for me it is. That’s because when I was kid I thought Scaramanga was saying “Nick Nack, avesco!” As if “avesco” was some Italian or Spanish word for “hurry up!”
  • If screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz came up with the idea of Francisco Scaramanga (played by Christopher Lee) having a third nipple, I must find out what he was smoking and drinking at the time.
  • I like to assume that the mobbed-up gangster character dueling Scaramanga in the pre-title sequence is the same mobbed-up gangster from Diamonds Are Forever.
  • I’m never impressed with Scaramanga’s “fun house”. This movie could have used Ken Adams’ legendary production design skills.
  • I don’t care what anyone else tells me: that animatronic saloon cowboy shooting is Roger Moore!
  • I would happily listen to Nick Nack do play-by-play of duels.
  • LuLu’s title song isn’t great, but it’s funky.
  • Bond reels off info about Scaramanga to M as if Wikipedia was around in 1974.
  • This is the only one of Roger Moore’s seven Bond movies where I feel like he isn’t acting like himself. There are many moments in this film when Moore’s Bond is just flat-out rude and sadistic. It’s not a nice sight.
  • The fight in the belly dancer’s dressing room is Moore’s best fight in the 12 years he played 007.
  • Mary Goodnight (played by Britt Ekland) is really horrible at her job.
  • Andrea Anders (played by Maud Adams) is a much more interesting character than Goodnight. The dynamic between Bond/Anders is reminiscent to Bond/Severine in Skyfall.
  • I would have no problem hanging out at the Bottom’s Up club. Don’t judge me.
  • I know Scaramanga likes to shag before and after committing murder, but something tells me he has some odd gun-sex fetish too.
  • Hai Fat and Chew Mee are just lazy names.
  • The “solex” is a very weak “MacGuffin”.
  • In the same way Live And Let Die used Blaxploitation from the early 70s, TMWTGG did the same with early 70s kung-fu. Hence 007 doing battle at a karate school.
  • The boat chase is a snoozer for me. Only highlight is a comedic one: Bond tossing a Thai boy off a boat. I told you he was mean in this one.
  • Who actually thought it was a good idea to bring back Sheriff J.W. Pepper?
  • I’m always impressed with the gun-making scene. Scaramanga could teach a lesson.
  • Bond watching a kickboxing match. Not sure we will ever see this again.
  • I know Scaramanga is a master assassin and can shoot anyone from any spot. But cmon now! He shoots Anders in the chest and she doesn’t even move?!
  • Anders has a Melania quality to her.
  • Scarmanga’s get-away car that turns into a get-away plane, looks like something a little kid would make.
  • The technician looks like baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.
  • Deadly mission or not. Upcoming duel or not. I also would eat the delicious lunch Nick Nack has prepared.
  • I love the set-up of the duel between Scaramanga and Bond, but I would have loved more cat and mouse.
  • Very cool that Bond dressed up as his own mannequin in order to shoot and kill Scaramanga. However, did he really have that much time to dress in the mannequin’s clothes?
  • Bond’s “fight” with Nick Nack might as well have Yakety Sax playing in the background.
  • The end of this movie always leaves me with tons of questions: Should Bond trust Goodnight to clean up all that glass from the fight? How the hell does M know the phone number to Scaramanga’s boat? Are we to assume that Bond left Nick Nack up in the crow’s nest to die from sun poisoning?

 

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Bond’s coolest moment? Kicking the karate guy in the face as he is bowing down.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? A few options here. Bond swallowing the bullet while sucking on the belly dancer’s abdomen. Having to grab the ass cheeks of a sumo wrestler during a fight. But I’m going to go with the car loop mostly for that embarrassing slide-whistle. Oh and it’s always embarrassing to be seen with J.W. Pepper.

Bond’s best line? “Not from where I’m standing” to the belly dancer who has literally lost her charm. 

Best acting performance? It’s easily Christopher Lee as Francisco Scaramanga. Extra special shoutout to Herve Villechaize as the delightful Nick Nack. 

Bond’s #MeToo #TimesUp moment? Being a “Peeping Bond” as he watches Anders shower and put on a robe. Also, not cool at all to slap her and twist her arm. Very un-Moore like. 

Worst line in the movie? That “Mexican screw-off” line is awful. 

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 79th time? When Bond is checking himself out on the TV screen outside the Bottom’s Up club, I swear there is a brief second of a poster of Ringo Starr! 

Best action sequence? I do enjoy the karate school stuff. 

Who or what is the title song about? It’s all about our villain and how nobody better mess with him. Totally singing his badass praises. 

Best looking cinematic moment? When Bond is arrested by Lieutenant Hip and we see Halong Bay at night.

How could the villain have succeeded? Get out of the stealing solar stuff business. Stick to what you do best: being an artist with the gun. 

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? I guess a lazy Sean Connery from Diamonds Are Forever. Like I said before, this is the least Roger Moore in any of his Bond performances. 

Does Bond ever think he might die? As arrogant as he may be, I’m pretty sure there’s a little self-doubt in Bond’s mind as to whether or not he is better than Scaramanga just before the duel. 

What would have made the movie better? Eliminate the solar “Macguffin”, make Anders the main Bond girl, expand the duel, and stop trying to make Roger Moore into Sean Connery.

What’s in a name? Bond pretends to be Francisco Scaramanga. Poorly I might add. 

What’s in a title? The Man With The Golden Gun comes from the title of Ian Fleming’s final James Bond novel. 

Drinking game: Drink a full glass of Thai wine (preferably “Phuyuck” if it existed) each time you see Bond smoking a cigar.

“WTF?!” moment: Bond about to be killed by sumo wrestlers and Nick Nack dressed up like some sort of blue devil. 

Fun fact: This is the only Bond movie where 007 says “Bond, James Bond” three times. 

Overall ranking: 23rd out of 24.

Review synopsis: As a Bond fanatic I can find some scenes to enjoy in The Man With The Golden Gun, but it’s far from being one of the best Bond films and it’s even further away from being a good movie. It has a cheap look to it, the villain and his sidekick are the only compelling characters (including 007), and there aren’t many spectacular action sequences… the kind that Bond audiences are used to.

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Movie Review: CASINO ROYALE

On October 14th, 2005, I thought Daniel Craig was all wrong for the role of James Bond. On November 14th, 2006, I discovered how wrong I was.

After playing it safe for four films with Pierce Brosnan, it was time to take a risk. We needed a new Bond, a dangerous Bond, for this grittier time in the world. You don’t often find as stark a contrast in franchise cinema than you do in Die Another Day and Casino Royale. Two movies, chronologically back-to-back, on the opposite ends of the spectrum. One is one of the worst Bond movies ever made. The other instantly became one of the best in Bond history.

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My CR Notes:

  • As great as Casino Royale is, I still miss the opening gunbarrel.
  • The black and white for the pre-title sequence really lets you know you are in for a Bond movie you’ve never seen before.
  • Craig’s Bond is so confident in that office scene.
  • When Bond kills the man in the bathroom, there’s almost a horror element to it. Listen to David Arnold’s score as Bond drowns his victim.
  • This might be the only Bond title sequence without sexy silhouette women.
  • Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre makes for a very memorable villain. He weeps blood, he has asthma, he’s a shady banker.
  • I do like the “gambling terrorist/clients’ money in the stock market” plot line.
  • If there’s one thing you need to know about Daniel Craig as James Bond, it’s don’t touch your ear.
  • The parkour scene is easily in the top 5 ever Bond action scenes.
  • How do we know Daniel Craig is unlike any other Bond before him? I mean besides the blonde hair and his height. He bursts through a wall like the Hulk!
  • I still hear “listen to me” when that African ambassador tells Bond to let the bomb-maker go.
  • This is Judi Dench at her most M’est.
  • Craig’s Bond vs Dench’s M in her apartment ranks up there with some of the most entertaining acting duet scenes in franchise history. There’s another terrific one coming up later.
  • I know “bloody cheek” is meant figuratively. But in Craig’s case it could apply literally as well.
  • I would watch a whole movie of Bond pretending to be a hotel parking attendant.
  • If this movie is “Becoming Bond”, you truly feel it when Bond wins that poker game and takes Dimitrios’ Aston Martin.
  • Speaking of which: Bond must have two versions of the 1964 Aston Martin DB5.
  • The actor playing Dimitrios has a Borat vibe to him.
  • “Body Worlds” is one of the creepiest settings for a Bond flick.
  • I love Bond’s “look over there!” head move in order to stab Dimitrios.
  • Does M have a male Moneypenny?
  • The oil truck on the airport tarmac is reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • The other fantastic acting duet belongs to Bond vs Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd. The verbal sparring match on the train shows their electric chemistry.
  • Vesper is so damn fascinating. You can understand why Bond is instantly smitten. But at which point in the film does Vesper reciprocate that feeling?
  • Stephanie Broadchest would have been a perfect Bond girl name in the 1970s.
  • Giancarlo Giannini as Mathis makes for a wonderful Bond ally and mentor.
  • Bond looking at himself in the mirror after putting on his tux is “Becoming Bond part II”.
  • Vesper is too easy of a password.
  • This movie turned me into a lover of poker. Who wouldn’t want in on that high stakes game at the casino?
  • “Becoming Bond part III” is when he orders his vodka martini.
  • Thanks to this movie, I know IZLAZ means EXIT in Serbian.
  • Bond’s stairwell fight with the Ugandan warlord is brutal and a top 10 all-time fight in the series.
  • Daniel Craig gets the closest to what Ian Fleming put on the page, when a bloodied Bond stares at himself in the mirror after that stairwell brawl.
  • Very rare we see Bond lose at something. Especially when it comes to cards.
  • The other players at the card table look like something out of U.N. Poker.
  • How was Mathis so easily turned into the scapegoat?
  • Every time I watch CR, I lose count of how many times Bond flips his Aston Martin DBS V12.
  • I’m glad the producers didn’t shy away from the torture scene. It was painful to read in the novel. On screen? Even more horrifying.
  • After having your balls beaten with a rope-knot, how soon can you have sex? I feel like this could be an WebMd situation.
  • CR is one of the very few movies were we see the romantic side of James Bond.
  • Not a fan of Gettler as a last act villain. He’s no Le Chiffre.
  • Vesper’s suicide scene still haunts me. Such a powerful death. Makes 007 who he is. As Bond so bluntly states: “The bitch is dead.”
  • I think Mr. White could have made a great Blofeld-like character for the rest of Craig’s tenure as 007.
  • Sean Connery’s opening “Bond, James Bond” line in Dr. No is legendary and can’t be beaten. But Craig’s at the end of CR isn’t too far off.

 

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Bond’s coolest moment? Throwing the keys away after playing parking attendant. 

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? I know he’s in great shape, but the coming out of the water scene is a bit much.

Bond’s best line? “That last hand, nearly killed me.”

Best acting performance? It has to be Daniel Craig. He plays his Bond recklessly and with a cool confidence. 

Bond’s #MeToo #TimesUp moment? Kissing Vesper without her permission during the poker game. 

Worst line in the movie? “You didn’t bring any chocolates?”

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 35th time? When Bond is fooling around with Vesper in the hotel bed in Venice, those are stunt legs. Unless Craig has dark hairy legs?

Best action sequence? As stated before, that parkour scene is magnificent.

Who or what is the title song about? It’s about Bond discovering who he really is and explaining how he can stay so cold. 

Best looking cinematic moment? During the foot chase, that shot of Bond fighting high up on the crane overlooking the beautiful blue ocean. 

How could the villain have succeeded? First, don’t gamble with your client’s money. Secondly, never play poker when you are desperate.

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? Only Daniel. The producers made the right choice. 

Does Bond ever think he might die? That scene when he is poisoned is pretty scary. He definitely thinks he is going to die. 

What would have made the movie better? Not much else. It’s nearly perfect. But how about throwing away all the “Becoming Bond” stuff and just have the Craig era as part of the entire franchise? Just an idea.

What’s in a name? Bond pretends to be professional gambler Arlington Beech for about 5 minutes. 

What’s in a title? “Casino Royale” comes from the first ever Bond novel by Ian Fleming. It took 53 years, but they finally made it. 

Drinking game: Every time playing cards are shown on the screen, take a sip of a your vodka martini…made from three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.

“WTF?!” moment: Bond sucking off the non-existent blood off of Vesper’s fingers in the shower. It’s a sweet gesture, but still. Creepy. 

Fun fact: The Asian older woman who plays poker on the yacht and at the casino is the same actress in bed with Sean Connery at the beginning of You Only Live Twice. 

Overall ranking: 3rd out of 24. 

Review synopsis: Cutting down on the eye-rolling one-liners, and eliminating the high-tech gadgets, allows Casino Royale to get at the heart of what we love about the character. Director Martin Campbell has a knack for introducing new Bond actors. Craig goes from “Can he play Bond?” to “This man was born to play Bond!” as soon as he shoots Dryden in the office and says… yes, considerably. This is an all-timer that gets better as each year passes. 

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Bond Movie Plots Never Used

We all like playing the “what if?” game. So it’s no surprise as a Bond-fanatic, that I find unused movie plots fascinating. It’s usually a case of the producers, writers, directors making the right cinematic choice. But every now and then, you might find one or two options that would have improved a James Bond flick.

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Dr. No was the first movie villain 007 had to face. But before Joseph Wiseman was cast as the titular character, the idea of a monkey playing Dr. No was bandied about. That’s right, a monkey! After coming to their senses, producers decided against it, thinking that a monkey, even with a high IQ, couldn’t make for a credible villain.

With Sean Connery leaving before On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, there was talk about mentioning that Bond got plastic surgery, since a new actor (George Lazenby) had been cast. Luckily this silly idea didn’t go far. Can you imagine Bond having facial surgery each time a new actor took over?!

The original storyline for Diamonds Are Forever had Auric Goldfinger’s twin brother out for revenge. As wacky of a concept this might have been, it could have worked. You had Sean Connery back, as well as Goldfinger director Guy Hamilton. A true reunion. Plus, a twin who is as obsessed with diamonds, as his brother was with gold? I can buy it.

Do you ever look at Stromberg from The Spy Who Loved Me and think he’s just a low-rent Blofeld? Well, you are onto something. The original plot of the film had Blofeld behind all the submarine hijacking. Of course, lawsuits with Kevin McClory (the then rightful owner of SPECTRE/Blofeld) took place. It would have been cool to give Roger Moore at least one crack at defeating Blofeld as a main villain in one of Moore’s seven turns as Bond.

Early in the pre-production of The Living Daylights, thoughts turned to making the story a “Bond begins” tale. A new Bond (Timothy Dalton) doesn’t mean you have to start from the beginning. Dalton was younger than Moore, but he wasn’t young enough to play a “wet behind the ears” 007.

The original script of Goldeneye had to be rewritten because many of the elements were too close to the blockbuster action movie True Lies, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Bond movie also had Dalton (not Pierce Brosnan) in mind.

Image result for casino royale quentin tarantino

Quentin Tarantino had his own unique take on Casino Royale. It would have taken place in the 1960s, set immediately after Bond loses his wife Tracy in OHMSS, Brosnan and Tarantino were joined at the hip for this project, it would have been shot in black & white, and Uma Thurman would have played Vesper. Bond producers threw this idea out the window, and replaced Brosnan with Daniel Craig. Can you imagine Tarantino directing that scene where Le Chiffre tortures Bond?! Ballsy!

Before Skyfall became the highest grossing Bond movie of all time, it was called Once Upon A Spy. Peter Morgan penned a script that made Silva (named would have been changed) M’s son from an affair with a KGB agent in Berlin, during the Cold War of the 1960s. At the end of the movie, Bond is ordered by the British government to assassinate M. Now that’s dark.

Spectre‘s script (sigh) is what it is. But the original script (the one during the SONY hack) did have some interesting tidbits. Rather than the drilling torture scene, Blofeld and Bond play a life or death game of poker. Also in the script, the two men being foster brothers isn’t as big of a deal as the movie makes it out to be. And perhaps the most interesting thing left out is the final life: Bond tells Madeline “We have all the time in the world.”