This month’s 10th anniversary of Casino Royale is best known for the debut of Daniel Craig as James Bond and the 007 film series being rebooted.
But it’s also when the “kids,” Barbara Broccoli, now 56, and Michael G. Wilson, now 74, really made the series their own.
Albert R. Broccoli, co-founder of Eon Productions, died in 1996. His wife Dana, mother to both Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, remained a behind-the-scenes presence until she passed away in 2004.
The “kids” (as some fans refer to them) were looking to make their own mark and make changes.
“We are running out of energy, mental energy,” Wilson told The New York Times in October 2005, recalling his thinking on the matter. “We need to generate something new, for ourselves.”
That included the reboot, starting the series over; finally adapting Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel after acquiring the film rights after many years; informing Pierce Brosnan he no longer had the 007 role; and casting Daniel Craig (with Barbara Broccoli as his primary champion), performing a tougher interpretation of the part.
In November 2006, when Casino arrived in theaters, the movie, its new approach and its lead actor received many good reviews. It has a 95 percent “fresh” rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website.
“Daniel Craig makes a superb Bond: Leaner, more taciturn, less sex-obsessed, able to be hurt in body and soul, not giving a damn if his martini is shaken or stirred,” movie critic Roger Ebert (1942-2013) wrote of the film’s star.
Of the movie itself, Ebert wrote: “With “Casino Royale,” we get to the obligatory concluding lovey-dovey on the tropical sands, and then the movie pulls a screeching U-turn and starts up again with the most sensational scene I have ever seen set in Venice, or most other places. It’s a movie that keeps on giving.”
Screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade did the initial adaptation, with Paul Haggis polishing up the story, with all three receiving credit. Martin Campbell came aboard as director. Campbell had helmed Brosnan’s first Bond with GoldenEye and oversaw Craig’s first 007 adventure.
Casino Royale set a high bar for the “new” series to maintain. The challenges of doing that would unfold in coming years.
The main thing in November 2006 was, after a four-year absence, Bond was back — different but still 007. And the “kids” were responsible.