Casino Royale

Casino Royale ★★★★★

On the road leading up to Dear Daniel's final Bond outing, I'll be revisiting each of his films, once per month. My previous review of Casino Royale may be found here, and my opinion remains largely unchanged. Instead, I'll list some interesting trivia for your enjoyment.

• Back in the mid-sixties, Charles K. Feldman (who famously produced the awful 1967 version of this story) had actually approached Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli to collaborate a more novel accurate version of the book with Sean Connery. A draft had been scribed by Ben Hecht between the release of From Russia With Love and Goldfinger, but the two parties couldn't come to an agreement on the subject as Feldman wanted such a huge percentage that Cubby and Harry would have only received around a penny to the dollar to co-produce. After that fell apart, he went straight to Connery himself, planning to poach him for his own serious adaptation of Casino Royale, but the renowned star demanded a one-million dollar paycheck. Following this news and the death of his screenwriter, Feldman changed course to spoof the series, hoping he could emulate the previous success of his own What's New Pussycat in 1965, especially when he couldn't get Connery for the price he wanted. In hindsight, Feldman expressed regret at not accepting Connery's offer, as the cost of the resulting mess ended up ballooning well past that figure.

• Quentin Tarantino showed interest in adapting this story with an "out of continuity" universe that would see Pierce Brosnan returning as James Bond for the fifth time, and Uma Thurman rumored to play Vesper Lynd. The treatment would have played out like a Cold War-era film noir, set immediately after the death of Bond's wife, Tracy.

• Before casting Daniel Craig, Henry Cavil almost got the part, but he was ultimately considered too young. Daniel Craig had actually rejected the part of James Bond a year before, as he had felt that the franchise had settled into a standard formula. He changed his mind when he read the finished script.

• Judy Dench almost didn't return as M. With every other element from the Brosnan era scrubbed, the producers sat down with Judy to break the news to her, but the Dame interrupted the proceedings with the simple question: "When do we start filming?" From there, it was far too awkward to let her go, and in the end, Martin Campbell welcomed her back with open arms.

• Vesper's face can be seen in the opening credits, when the crosshairs move over the face of the Queen of Spades. The Queen of Spades represents a duplicitous woman.

• The parkour sequence was inspired by a cut roof-top chase sequence from On Her Majesty's Secret Service, proving EON are the masters of not letting anything go to waste. Reportedly, the scenes in Miami were culled from the aborted Jinx solo film, spun-off from Die Another Day.

• The Quantum of Solace video game bridges the gap between this movie and, drumroll, Quantum of Solace, covering the events between Bond's confrontation with Mr. White and the opening car chase of the following film.

• In poker, a pair of eights is called an "Octopussy", so there you go.

More fun facts next rewatch.

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