Ten years ago, a blonde-haired and blue-eyed Daniel Craig stepped into the role of the World’s Greatest Secret Agent, 007.
Otherwise known as Bond… James Bond, as he prefers to announce to the world.
Casino Royale marks the 21st entry in the Bond franchise and Daniel Craig‘s first ever stint as Bond. The last film to release prior to Royale was 2002’s Die Another Day, in which Pierce Brosnan made his final appearance as the Agent and also contains this scene:
The film stars Daniel Craig, the disgustingly beautiful and talented Eva Green, Dame Judi Dench returned as the illustrious M, Mads Mikkelsen who portrays one of the best Bond villains in the history of the film franchise, Giancarlo Giannini, and is directed by Martin Campbell whose credits prior to Royale included the 1995 Bond classic, Goldeneye and both Antonio Banderas Zorro installments.
Wanting to have a gritty and dark reboot of this classic franchise with a younger, blonde-haired relatively unknown was met with some intrigue and a whole lot of disdain, as you will see further down…
Initial Hesitation For Craig As Bond
According to director Campbell, the beautiful Henry Cavill was in serious contention to take the role as Bond, however, since he was 22 at the time he was considered “too young” for the part.
Other actors considered for the role included:
- Sam Worthington
- Dougray Scott
- Karl Urban
- Hugh Jackman, who turned down the role due to his X-Men obligations.
On October 14th, 2005, Eon Productions, Sony Pictures and MGM announced at a grand press conference in London that English actor Daniel Craig, known for his roles in Elizabeth, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Layer Cake, would be the sixth actor to portray James Bond behind Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.
Critics immediately came out of the woodwork when the announcement was made. People on the internet disagreeing about a casting decision?? My word! A website entitled DanielCraigIsNotBond was even created where disgruntled Bond fans aired their grievances about the new Bond. I will include some of my favourites below because they are just fantastic to read:
“Rough And Gritty Is Something I Have Never Associated With James Bond”…
Bruce Hammer of Blackwell, OK, USA writes: Rough and gritty is just something I have never associated with James Bond. When I think of James Bond, the adjectives that come to mind are suave, sophisticated, cool, cultured, and debonair. But rough and gritty? No way. I hate to see Pierce Brosnan leave the series. Goldeneye is the best Bond movie ever!
“I’m sure a blond could play James Bond, but not somebody who’s so ugly and
uncharismatic as Daniel Craig.”
Margie Appleton of Frankfurt, Germany writes: I’m sure a blond could play James Bond, but not somebody who’s so ugly and uncharismatic as Daniel Craig. I remember him playing Ted Hughes in Sylvia, and that was a really awful performance. My suspicion is that he is just not a very good actor. So, if you’re not very good looking not a good actor, you shouldn’t be the new James Bond.
“I predict Craig’s signing spells the demise of the Bond franchise.”
Annette Johnson of New York, USA writes: I predict Craig’s signing spells the demise of the Bond franchise. Everyone I know thinks he is stone ugly, and although he would make a great Bond villain, he doesn’t come close to personifying the handsome, intriguing, super-human good guy of all time. I own all the Bond DVDs, soundtracks, games, etc. I won’t pay a farthing for a ticket to see the new Casino Royale. My friends and family feel the same. How sad!”
Eva Green Cast As Bond Girl, Vesper Lynd
“… This character is very much an equal to Bond and central to our story.” – Columbia Pictures Chairman, Amy Pascal revealed regarding Green’s casting in 2006.
There is no doubt that many moviegoers favourite aspect to the gritty Bond reboot was Eva Green’s incredible portrayal of Vesper Lynd. Her performance elevated every single scene and the chemistry she shared with Craig was integral in the success of the film.
Although the Bond Girl started to develop more as the Bond franchise progressed, Green’s Vesper Lynd truly was an equal to Craig’s Bond and was a vital aspect to his character.
Ten years on and people still talk about the train sequence as well as one certain sequence involving a rope and… Something nobody on earth should think about, let alone experience…
The Torture Scene Heard ‘Round The World
“He manages to keep the upper hand, tied nude to a chair.” – [Director] Martin Campbell stated regarding the torture scene in the Casino Royale commentary.
Mads Mikkelsen is one of the best actors working in Hollywood today and his portrayal of Bond villain, Le Chiffre is up there with some of the finest antagonists ever portrayed on the big screen. The above sequence showcases just how insane Le Chiffre is and how far he will go in order to attain what he believes is his. It also works to illustrate the rawness and bad-assery of Craig’s Bond, who finds the time to chuckle during an immensely painful experience.
As someone who will never experience the pain of a whip whipping my balls, I can safely say I would not wish that on my worst enemy. Shit is fucked.
The Subsequent (And Surprising) Box Office Success
Nobody expected Casino Royale to perform as well as it did, with all the controversy surrounding the casting and decision to take a darker turn with the beloved franchise, the film ended up garnering almost $600 million worldwide on a $150 million production budget.
The film became the fourth highest grossing film of 2006, behind the following:
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, $1.06 billion;
- The Da Vinci Code, $758 million;
- Ice Age: The Meltdown, $660 million;
- Casino Royale, $599 million;
- Night At The Museum, $574 million.
… And was the highest grossing Bond film of all time prior to Skyfall surpassing it in November 2012. Clearly Annette Johnson fired her film psychic following its release.
M: You don’t trust anyone, do you?
James Bond: No.
M: Then you’ve learned your lesson.
I Will Leave You With This Question: What Is Your Favourite Bond Flick? Comment below and enjoy all the shaken, not stirred martinis your heart desires!