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INT: Martin Campbell

11.13.2006

CASINO ROYALE marks the second Bond film in which Martin Campbell returns to work his magic once again. Having previously collaborated with and broken in Pierce Brosnan in his first Bond film GOLDENEYE in 1995, Campbell has the pleasure of breaking in yet another new Bond, Daniel Craig.

Campbell showcases his talents in CASINO ROYALE by incorporating black and white contrasting scenes, and using cool angle shots to draw the viewer directly into the action. However, according to Campbell , amongst all the excitement, the biggest challenge of all was to direct the intense Poker scene. The film keeps you intrigued and at the edge of your seat.

Having directed other blockbuster hits such as THE MASK OF ZORRO and THE LEGEND OF ZORRO, I have no doubt that CASINO ROYALE like GOLDENEYE will be another big box office hit. I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Campbell to talk about his return to 007. Check out what he had to say.

-- This interview includes SPOILERS so be aware!!! --

Martin Campbell

How did it feel to go back to a Bond film?

Because it was a book, it felt good. They did offer me another one after GoldenEye but I just didn’t want to repeat myself. It was just another submarine pen but because this was a book, I thought this character was much more interesting perhaps in the book than it becomes in the movie. His liver is in bad shape and he smokes, which Fleming smoked by the way and it finally killed him.

The opening scene is sort of a departure from previous Bond films. How did you decide to go with that?

In the book there are actually two killings but they are all different in the movie. He has to do these two killings ion order to become a 007 agent. It was sort of a precourse. I did a grainier black and white shot for the bathroom killing and it was a very ugly killing. Anyone who has read the book knows that Bond has trouble dealing with ugly violence.

Did the black and white make it through the sensors as well?

For the British sensors I had to take one cut out in the torture scene, where he puts the rope over his shoulders. They thought it was a little too sexual but the violence they didn’t cut. Now in America , no problem with the torture scene which I was amazed about and I had to reduce the violence and strangling and get to the death quicker. I found that very ironic and I think it proves that nobody really knows anything.

Can you talk a little about Bond’s interaction with the women in the movie because it is quite different from the past?

The first girl represents the way in which Bond sees women, which is to use them. He’s got to seduce them, have sex with them to get the information that he needs. I think in the beginning when he’s looking at the dead girl’s body someone says to Bond, it’s a good thing you didn’t get more involved but I don’t think you have that problem, and Bond says no. After that when he meets Vesper Lynd, which is virtually like in the book, she is very much his intellectual equal and he falls in love with her. And it’s a very serious relationship. When she finally commits suicide the emotional shutters slam back down. So Vesper Lynd became the most important relationship in his life.

Was it a conscious decision to make Bond so sexist?

Well it’s not because of that. To be honest it’s just purely following the book.

With Vesper Lynd it’s very serious. He falls in love with her and she falls in love with him. She dies a little differently in the book. She overdoses.

What were your first impressions of Daniel when you first met him?

Like with Pierce, what happens in the casting process, you probably get fifty names which you all consider and talk about. None of the names stood out and what you do is test and we tested eight and I can’t tell you who those eight were but we did test them. Daniel flew over from I think doing The Visiting, a remake of Bodysnatchers. And he literally got off the plane and ran over to the studio. I did his test and he was excellent on the test. Then the script came in and we had bits and pieces on the script and of course it just seemed to me that he was absolutely perfect for this part. It’s very much as Fleming describes Bond. We all had to be unanimous and Daniel Craig got the part. And that’s what happened.

Did any actors turn you down?

I don’t think so. There were no offers made to actors at all. There was speculation about Clive Owen and sorts but to be honest it was never talked about.

You’re the first director that broke in 2 new Bonds, it must be unique dealing with the anxiety.

With both Pierce and Daniel, you never know until you actually start putting scenes together but I’ve been lucky twice.

Were you going for the more physical, rugged, muscular type?

Yes, very much so.

Talk about some of the technical challenges of the Madagascar scene.

Sebastien is best free runner in the world. I extended the sequence and we storyboarded it. We had to storyboard it very carefully. I think I did the section until he almost comes out of the jungle. Then there’s all stuff when they are running on the roads and then the close ups. Safety wise it was a pretty precarious exercise. Everybody’s on wires of course.

What was the biggest challenge in shooting overall?

The roughest scenes were the poker scenes. They were very difficult because of the ten people all looking at each other across the table. You have to cover everything from the chips going down to close up of cards, to everyone’s reaction. Every time you yell cut, every chip has to go back to square one and mark where you have to pick the game up from.

Why poker?

It’s the most popular game going at the moment. Poker has been very popular with all these tournaments going on now. A lot more people are up to speed with poker than any other game.

How much homage to do you have to pay to certain iconic Bond things like Martinis and car chases?

Well we thought it would be nice to do the scene where he talks about the recipe for the Vesper Martini. But there are certain things when coming back to bond basics that just don’t fit. No man taking over the world, no laser guns.

Being part of a franchise, do have you have to do follow certain rules?

No, I don’t. The producers are not controlling. They never interfere. They encourage you

.

Can you talk about Daniel Craig as an actor?

He is clearly the best actor ever in our Bond films. He’s done a lot of stuff and he’s always good. In Road to Perdition, I thought he did a wonderful job. Whatever he does, he’s got this chameleon like quality. Very committed actor and whether he’s playing Hamlet or Bond he puts the same energy into the part. He had quite a hill to climb of course for predecessors that played bond before him. He is very realistic. He’s a Bond that bleeds I guess.

How would you compare GoldenEye to this Bond?

There are more stakes on this movie than GoldenEye. This was a tougher job because the last film was a huge hit, the biggest financially so there is a bigger risk. Don’t break what’s not broken. Also Daniel’s not your conventional pretty boy blonde. He’s a good-looking guy but he’s tougher and darker then perhaps the Bond we’ve established in previous movies. So all of that has a risk to it. Fortunately I think, it’s paid off.

How do you decide how far to push the violence and go against the grain?

First of all, you are restricted to a PG-13 rating but toning the violence I wanted it much quicker and tougher because I wanted to show that Bond, when the violence becomes ugly, it really affects him. There is a side to him, which is absolutely repulsed by the violence. I sort of do that in the bathroom scene in the beginning when he’s just staring down and at the bottom of the stairs it’s the same thing. The girl says how can you just forget killing those guys and he says, I couldn’t do my job if I didn’t. Well of course he’s lying. The truth is it does affect him and it’s certainly an issue in the book. It was very important for me to make Bond bleed, to make mistakes and make him vulnerable.

What would you say would be the one thing that people will be most surprised about when seeing this film?

That he is human. I think that all the previous Bond’s, he’s iconic, you can predict what he’s going to do, you know there are going to be action scenes, you know the puns that are going to come in, you know he’s going to get the women, you know that you’re not going to take it more seriously. I think the character is a much more developed character.

Do you think Eva [Green] is a Bond girl?

I don’t think she’s a Bond girl. She isn’t a Bond girl in the traditional sense, not your basic window dressing. I think she’s beautiful and all of that but I think her role is a very serious role and I think her relationship with Bond is very touching

.

Source: JoBlo.com

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