Never has there been so much controversy over the casting of a film. Avid fans of the 007 franchise voiced their disgust when it was announced that Daniel Craig would replace Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in Casino Royale. The tabloids jumped on the bandwagon, reporting every scratch the actor incurred as testament to his wimpishness. Ultimately, of course, it turned out that Craig was "a great Bond", earning record-breaking ticket sales and BAFTA nods to prove it.
Forging A New Bond
Craig reflects on the brouhaha that surrounded him in the run-up to the production (and all the way through it) in Becoming Bond. "It did shake me," he admits, and initially, he was wary of signing on for the project. However, on seeing the script by Paul Haggis, Craig could not resist. Following on from that, Haggis talks about his intention to examine "emotionally, what it took to become James Bond," which set a new template for director Martin Campbell. The latter explains that Haggis' approach required "harder" more realistic action scenes. A smattering of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the rest of the cast, including Judi Dench, round out this engaging look at the film's development.
We travel to Prague and the Bahamas for more behind-the-scenes action in James Bond: For Real. Campbell and his effects team set about orchestrating a few audacious stunts without CG assistance and face a logistical nightmare. A sequence that finds Craig leaping across high-rise cranes on a construction site is especially tricky. Naturally DC insists on doing much of the hard work himself despite confessing, "I'm not fantastic with heights..." Still, the stunt doubles also get a chance to shine along with Bond foe Sebastien Foucan, who pioneered the sport of 'Parkour' or 'free-running', which is showcased in this scene.
A License To Thrill
Nostalgia reigns in the documentary Bond Girls Are Forever. Actress Maryam d'Abo (who co-starred with Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights) drops in on former Bond girls from Ursula Andress to newbie Eva Green. Andress talks about setting a new standard for women in action films with her "athletic" prowess while Jill St John (Diamonds Are Forever) calls the feminist critics "bad sports..." Halle Berry chips in with a slightly weightier defence, noting that in more recent years Bond girls are presented as "well equipped adversaries to Bond".
Yes, I think we can all agree that Berry seemed particularly 'well equipped' in that beach scene in Die Another Day... Unfortunately we can't say the same for this Collector's Edition DVD, which denies us any deleted footage and a filmmakers' commentary. Even so, what few extras there are do provide some interesting insights into the business of revolutionising the franchise. Like 007 on a mission to assassinate a power-crazed villain, it's a guaranteed hit.
Casino Royale DVD is released on Monday 19th March 2007.