Martin Campbell’s other Casino Royale disclosure

Earlier this month, two-time 007 director Martin Campbell gave an interview to The Express newspaper in the U.K. that drew attention from Bond fans for two items: 1) Campbell describing how Daniel Craig won the role in a tight competition with Henry Cavill; 2) How Quentin Tarantino sought the screen rights to Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first 007 novel.

Martin Campbell, director of GoldenEye and Casino Royale.


Campbell served up a third disclosure that didn’t get as much attention. Based on the director’s comments, the 21st James Bond movie may have been a reboot even if Eon Productions hadn’t made it as Casino Royale.

The key excerpt:

“Casino Royale was not going to be the next film. They were developing another script but then, after a long battle, the Broccolis [the family behind the Bond franchise] suddenly got the film rights to the first Bond novel Casino Royale, despite Quentin Tarantino bidding against them.

“The script being developed, he says, was an original story in which James Bond isn’t the character we know today but someone younger and more screwed up. Pierce (Brosnan) was getting on for 49 or something, and clearly too old to play the younger Bond so they decided to go in a different direction.” (emphasis added)

If the director’s memory is accurate (and he was accurately quoted), producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli were going to do a reboot no matter what, featuring Bond at the start of his career. Bond wasn’t a rookie agent in Fleming’s Casino Royale. The novel was set in 1951 (according to 1959’s Goldfinger, when Bond encounters a minor character from the first novel) and Bond had been involved in intelligence work in one for or another since World War II. One of the two kills that got him 00 status was a Japanese cypher expert in New York.

Michael G. Wilson, working with Richard Maibaum, had pursued an “origin of Bond” story for the movie that ultimately become 1987’s The Living Daylights. Then-Eon boss Albert R. Broccoli vetoed the idea, according to the Inside The Living Daylights documentary on the film’s DVD. Campbell’s recent comment raises the possibility that Wilson dusted off the concept almost 20 years later and it got folded into the plot of the film Casino Royale.

Still, Campbell (who also directed 1995’s GoldenEye) was only one of the participants involved and thus his comments are only one piece of what happened. Perhaps there’s yet more of the story to be told. Meanwhile, you can CLICK HERE
to view a timeline put together by the MI6 James Bond fan Web site of Quentin Tarantino’s attempt to film Casino Royale.

One Response

  1. “more screwed up” is a very interesting choice of words.

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