The Salon Privé
September 5, 2006Well, the title of the film is CASINO ROYALE so let's take a look at the Salon Privé of the Casino Royale in Montenegro. It was actually Stage 6 at Barrandov Studios in Prague but you'd never have known that from sitting at the card tables. There was a view through the doors, beyond the terrace and across to the Hotel Splendide opposite. We filmed at a real Hotel Splendide exterior in Karlovy Vary as well but this one was painted by scenic artist David Packard and the effect is wholly convincing.
This is a classic James Bond scene - Daniel Craig in his dinner jacket, soft lights, long drinks, beautiful women and dubious looking opponents. Observing it all with a wry eye is Felix Leiter played by Jeffrey Wright.
Amandeep had written in asking about this role.
"Could you tell us anything about Felix Leiter? How is Wright taking the role and how is he weaved into the story. After all him and Bond don't meet till 'Dr.No'. More importantly though, how is the chemistry between him and Daniel Craig?"
Bringing Leiter in at this stage is one of those tweaks that the writers have made to the structure of the novel which will make sense when you see the film. And on the subject of Daniel and him? I asked that very question.
"I'm very excited about what I see because I think that what he's bringing is a certain realism to Bond, that we may not have seen before and there's a grit and a kind of animal drive to him that I think is very exciting. Obviously Bond is about glamour and is about excitement and all these things and we have that as well but there is also at the same time, the undercurrent of blood that is a part of being someone who's licensed to kill and I think you know Daniel brings a danger to it and an excitement to it as well that will enhance the legacy."
That's a longish way of saying the chemistry seems to be pretty good! Which is just as well because they spent a long time in this room together. Director Martin Campbell describes this as the most difficult scene in the movie which is surprising when you look at how many big sequences he has on his plate. But it's the challenge of making the scene as compelling as all the others that exercises him.
One thing I've learnt, however, is don't play poker with actors. They are professionals when it comes to the poker face. After all, it's their job.
Producer Michael Wilson agrees.
"Actors seem to do quite well in the professional poker tournaments so I suppose they do have an advantage over the rest of us".
And that applies to Daniel in particular. He had less time to practice than the others because of his other training commitments but as Michael says, the others learnt to be wary of his skill.
"I've played a couple of times with Daniel and he ended up with all the chips".
Pierce was fond of backgammon between takes, Daniel is good at poker. Perhaps I should stick to snap.
Until next time,