Okay, buckle up and let’s see what we have here. I have traversed the Net to figure out the who’s and what’s of late concerning casting for James Bond 21, a.k.a. Casino Royale. Let’s begin with what we do know:
There you have it, based on that you probably notice that there are only two names attached to the casting and yet filming is expected to begin this month? If you read my last Bond recap [here] you realized there are yet a lot of roles to be cast in the film; Vesper Lynd (a.k.a. Bond Girl), Le Chiffre (a.k.a. Villain), villain’s girlfriend, Solari, Demetrius, Demetrius’ spouse and Massus. For a lot of you, including myself, these names mean nothing, but those that have read Ian Fleming’s “Casino Royale” I am sure know what is going on here as far as those names are concerned. Nevertheless, there is a lot of casting to be done, and rumor has it some of it will be announced this Friday.
Let’s start with the most important and the one I am sure most of you care about:
VESPER LYND (The New Bond Girl)
Names have been tossed around this role the way ladies line up at my door come nap time. Such names as Charlize Theron, Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Sienna Miller, Natasha Henstridge and Aussie thesp Kimberly Davies have all been mentioned in the same breath as Vesper Lynd. The first three have already turned the role down and now it appears the second three aren’t in the running.
Rose Byrne with Brad Pitt in Troy
Latest rumors point to a couple of ladies: Rose Byrne, Thandie Newton, Vera Farmiga and Rachael Stirling – daughter of Diana Rigg, a former Bond girl. Of these names, it was only a few days ago that it seemed confidence was swirling around Byrne, who is most recognizeable from her role as Achilles’ (Brad Pitt) lover in Troy. Bond dedicated site MI6 reported on Sunday (Jan. 15) “that Australian actress Rose Byrne was screentesting for the character of Vesper Lynd and was the hot favourite to land the role, and today the Mail On Sunday has reported the 26 year-old has secured the part.” So, I went on over to Mail on Sunday today to see what they had to say.
It seems that their confidence has swayed a bit. First off, I couldn’t find the article saying Byrne had secured the role, but I did find an article datelined Jan 17, 2006 claiming “Thandie Newton has been tipped as the new Bond girl.”
So what is the real story here? Honestly, it is a crap shoot when unconfirmed sites start blathering rumors. I tend to trust the regular Bond sites such as MI6 and CommanderBond and those two have not yet confirmed anyone for the role and neither have the trades. MI6 did have this little blurb posted though when referring to the Mail on Sunday article:
The report said, “she is set to be unveiled as the next Bond girl after auditions last week for the new film version of Casino Royale. Australian-born Rose, now based in London, was one of four starlets vying to play opposite Daniel Craig as Vesper Lynd, who breaks 007’s heart. Her rivals are believed to include Tipping The Velvet star Rachael Stirling – daughter of Diana Rigg, a former Bond girl. The part was turned down by Angelina Jolie and Oscar-winner Charlize Theron. It was Rose’s performance as Trojan priestess Briseis in the 2004 epic Troy, where she had a series of steamy love scenes with Pitt, that brought her to the attention of the 007 production team.”
According to the newspaper’s insiders, director Martin Campbell and long time Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson are expected to confirm her in the role on Friday.
So, who knows, maybe this Friday word will be finalized on this one.
Speaking of those sites I trust, CommanderBond.net scored a baddie filled rumor from the “reliable” French newspaper Le Parisien [article scan] claiming the roles of the Bond villain, his mistress and another character have been cast.
Simon Abkarian in Yes
First off, the role of Demetrius is expected to be played by French actor Simon Abkarian who was recently seen in the independent feature Yes as well as had a role in The Truth About Charlie with Mark Wahlberg and Thandie Newton.
Solonge, Demetrius’ girlfriend, is said to be played by Italian actress Catrina Murino.
Finally, an unamed role has also apparently been filled by Seydina Baldi, a man CommanderBond describes saying, “In France, he’s known for his karate and fighting shows.” This is the role popstar Seal was rumored to be up for.
So, should you take anything from these rumors? I would say they seem to hold some weight. If I was a betting man I would say the three roles reported by CommanderBond are probably spot on and that Rose Byrne has a good chance at scoring the role as Bond Girl, Vesper Lynd.
When casting for James Bond was up in the air the one name that seemed to stick around was Daniel Craig and already the same seems to be happening for Byrne. We’ll have to wait and see how these rumors hold up.