Written by John Cox (22 Sep, 2005, 10:07)
Today CBn is able to confirm that Pierce Brosnan is back in the running to play James Bond in Casino Royale, the 21st James Bond film due to start production in January. In fact, a senior Sony executive has told a member of the Casino Royale production team that the new Bond will "probably" be Pierce Brosnan.
Many fans will be delighted to hear this news, but some sources close to the producers find it "impossible to conceive" that Eon will cave to the actor who recently savaged them in the media, nor that they will abandon their carefully crafted "reinvention" of the Bond franchise. As it stands, the Casino Royale screenplay is tailored to introduce a new, younger James Bond on one of his first missions as a double-oh agent. Screenwriter Paul Haggis said as recently as last week that the script he is polishing features a 28-year-old James Bond.
Also unclear is how director Martin Campbell would react to a Pierce comeback. Pierce and Campbell proved to be a winning combination on GoldenEye in 1995. But Campbell was partially wooed back into the world of 007 with the promise that he would be able to help reinvent that franchise and launch the new Bond. With Pierce back onboard, Casino Royale becomes a much more traditional Bond movie that may hold less appeal for the director.
A CBn source says Daniel Craig remains Eon's "preferred" choice for the role, and could still turn out to be the man in gunbarrel. However, the edgy Layer Cake actor may be considered too much of a commercial risk for Sony Pictures. Eon's attempts to find a convincing twenty-something actor appear to have failed, and with only 12 weeks to go before that start of principle photography, Eon and Campbell may have to abandon their ambitions to reinvent the franchise via Ian Fleming's first novel and quickly rework it into Pierce Brosnan's final James Bond film.
Pierce, who throughout the process has spoken candidly to the media, recently told citybeat's Steve Ramos, "Until someone like Daniel Craig steps in or until someone like whomever the next man is or until they ask me back the story is still open. For me it's unfinished business and we might get to stand there again."