Saturday, February 05, 2005

Casino Royale

Ok, it's official! Since MGM finally snapped up the rights to the last James Bond novel it didn't own, Casino Royale, the first (and best) of the novels by Ian Fleming, it's been a matter of when they would go ahead and adapt it.

Here's one of the stories here, Search on for Next Bond to Star in Casino Royale. This one even focuses on the question of casting...

Now, if this were 1968 and the once great Richard Maibaum were sitting at a typewriter to follow-up great screenplays like Dr. No, Goldfinger and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the best screenplay ever adapted into a 007 film, I would have no problem getting super-fuckin'-amped for this.

Or if Quentin Tarantino had acquired the rights a few years back, as he attempted to do, or gotten in good with the very difficult and only moderately sane Broccoli family, then I could remain pretty optimistic.

Now, this novel would be pretty tough to make into a straight action-adventure movie. The 1954 CBS adaption, Casino Royale, for the anthology series "Climax!" shows kind of the style of story and how it's almost more of a parlor drama. Aside from the cheesy American "Jimmy Bond", it's not a bad attempt.

Ultimately, no James Bond movie has satisfied me as a James Bond movie since The Living Daylights in 1987, so I can't help seeing this will be another modern style action movie with no resemblence to the source novel. That wouldn't be so bad, most of the movies fit into that category on one level or another, except I just so adore the novel. I think it's the one truly great, great novel in the series, so I've spent years dreaming of an adaptation.

Lord knows, the 1968 "comedy" using its name is fucking mess. I've heard people praise it, but I've never found anything funny at all in it, despite finding most of the talent involved to be incredibly funny. I think people allow their strong desire for it to be hilarious to color their ultimate reaction... I don't know. Hell, maybe they all just smoked up a lot of crack first.

According to the story, "[Pierce] Brosnan has suggested that fellow Irish actor Colin Farrell would be ideal for the role, but Farrell has said he was uninterested."

Let's hope so. I can't see Farrell being anything but a mess in the role. He has a certain appeal, but it's a very blue-collar appeal, not a 007 feel at all. I can't help wondering if Brosnan sneakily picked the hottest young Brit who couldn't possibly be better than him in the role.

"Other young actors whose names have surfaced as possible replacements include Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law, Eric Bana and Clive Owen."

I like any of these choices. I'd really, really love to see Clive Owen. That would, to me, give me the hope that they were seriously trying to capture Ian Fleming's classy agent. I mean, Fleming dreamed of David Niven in the role. He was lucky he never lived to see what happened when Niven actually did take on the role, but that was covered already.

Casting Owen would convince me I should be genuinely optimistic and not merely skeptically hopeful.

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