Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

First Mission with a Licence to Kill

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

First Mission with a Licence to Kill

Article excerpt

First mission with a licence to kill

His name's Craig, Daniel Craig, and he's the new James Bond. Casino Royale opens in cinemas today

Here is the Bond we know: whiz-bang gadgets, feline-fancying arch-villains, henchmen with unlikely talents.

Tropical islands hiding nuclear missiles, rocket ships or varied weapons of mass destruction.

And of course, the suave and sophisticated secret agent himself: never a hair out of place or a gun out of reach, quick to quip and oh-so sure of himself.

Well, welcome to the new Bond ( a secret agent who is shaken and stirred. With actor Daniel Craig firmly ensconced as the new 007, Bond's makers felt it was time for a grittier new direction.

Of course the tuxedos and martinis are still in place ( Bond wouldn't be Bond without a little glamour and fun. But with film number 21 in the 40-year franchise it's time to meet the man behind the myth, and so they've gone back to where it all began. Casino Royale is Bond's first mission as a 00 agent, his first with a licence to kill.

Based on Ian Fleming's first Bond novel ( originally published in 1953 ( Casino Royale sees 007 as a newbie M16 recruit, not yet the cocky secret agent we know and love. The man who plays him says this incarnation is the closest yet to the author's original intentions.

"In this film James Bond is a darker character, which is how Ian Fleming originally wrote him," Daniel Craig explains.

"We start right at the beginning of Bond's career, when he has a lot of rough edges. He's a loner and he doesn't like getting involved with people. As the movie goes on, though, he becomes more refined."

As the 'first' instalment of 007's adventures, director Martin Campbell says the film shows Bond learning the ropes of the spy caper and toughening up. "This is Bond's first 00 mission and he has a lot to learn," Campbell says.

"He makes mistakes early on and is reprimanded by M. He's thinking more with his heart than his head and things go wrong. But by the end of the movie he's becoming the man we know."

But don't be alarmed, Bond fans. While the new direction may be edgier than we've come to expect from the film franchise, it's also part of the process of reinvention Bond has been undergoing for decades.

Veteran Bond producer Michael G Wilson says the new realistic slant is all part of the cycle of Bond. "In the 1970s the films got bigger and more fantastic until we reached Moonraker in 1979, which was in outer space," he recalls.

"Then we brought it back down to earth in 1981 in For Your Eyes Only. With Die Another Day in 2002 the technology began to overwhelm the story and the characters, so we've come back down to earth again, with a new, rawer Bond."

With Casino Royale, Wilson says, the filmmakers wanted to take Bond "back to basics". …

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