James Bond: From Russia With Love 1963 trailer
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In the James Bond film franchise’s almost 60 year history only six actors have officially played Ian Fleming’s 007. Being such a coveted role and the face of the brand, it’s unsurprising that EON Productions takes the rare Bond auditions very seriously. The last time the screen tests took place was in the mid-2000s when Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson were in search of Pierce Brosnan’s replacement.
The Bond producers had rehired GoldenEye director Martin Campbell, who successfully rebooted Bond with Brosnan for the post-Cold War era a decade before.
Now it was the Kiwi director’s job to do it again with Casino Royale, going right back to 007’s roots from the moment the spy earned his Licence to Kill.
Speaking with the James Bond Radio podcast, Campbell remembered: “I tested eight Bonds for that. One of them being Daniel Craig, of course.
“The test is pretty intense. There’s always a scene from From Russia with Love.”
Campbell, who was promoting his new movie The Protégé, continued: “[It] is a simple scene where Bond comes into his hotel room, takes off his jacket, takes off his shoulder holster, puts them on the sofa, starts to run a bath, senses someone else is in the apartment, crosses the balcony, goes in and there’s the girl in bed.”
During this scene made famous by Sean Connery in 1963’s From Russia with Love, Bond is in a towel and holding a gun.
The director continued: “She’s got the Lektor [cipher] machine and what Bond has to do is…one seduce her and two get her to change sides in order to keep the Lektor.”
“So it’s both seduction and it’s also him kind of seducing her not just to take her to bed but also to get the Lektor machine.”
Campbell added: “So in a funny way it encompasses all the Bond elements. When he comes in how does he take off his jacket? How does he take off his shoulder holster?
“Well, the answer to that is very economically and very cleanly. He doesn’t fumble. Bond never fumbles. And so it incorporates all of those elements.”
During the Casino Royale Bond auditions, the director and 007 producers tested eight men, one each day.
The 77-year-old shared: “So it’s not a cheap process. We had a full crew and I think two of the scenes were out of the new script and one was the From Russia with Love scene.”
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Aside from Craig, future Superman Henry Cavill auditioned, as did Avatar’s Sam Worthington and ER star Goran Visnjic.
Campbell said: “So we tested all of those people and we edit the thing together and then we look at it and we decide.
“But Daniel was clearly the best actor, there was no question about that. The most experienced and the best actor.
“And Barbara [Broccoli] was the one who pushed for Daniel and she was absolutely right because Daniel, of course, went on to prove how good he was.”
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