After getting a new face and a new movie, James Bond finally has a new girl.
"Kingdom of Heaven" actress Eva Green has been cast as seductress Vesper Lynd in "Casino Royale," ending months of speculation that had included superstar names ranging from Angelina Jolie to Charlize Theron. The exotic-looking French/Swedish beauty joins a long list of Bond babes, stretching from the recent Halle Berry and Famke Janssen all the way back through Maud Adams, Barbara Bach and Ursula Andress.
Further solidifying the cast, critically acclaimed veteran Jeffrey Wright ("Syriana") has signed on to play Bond loyalist Felix Leiter, a fellow spy who hasn't appeared in a Bond film since 1989's "License to Kill." Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen ("King Arthur") has accepted the role of evil mastermind Le Chiffre, Bond's main nemesis in the film.
"We are thrilled that Eva and Mads have joined the cast of 'Casino Royale,' " producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson said in a statement. "They bring exceptional talent to the characters Ian Fleming described so vividly in his first James Bond novel."
Based on the 1952 novel of the same name that introduced Fleming's Bond character to the world, "Royale" will mark the series debut of Daniel Craig ("Munich") while telling the story of the young super-spy waging war against a casino owner (see "British Actor Daniel Craig Steps Into James Bond's Tux"). Due to its November release date, the film was forced to begin shooting without a Bond girl, as filmmakers insisted that they wouldn't hurry the decision.
"Vesper is a pivotal role in 'Casino Royale,' and it takes much more than beauty to make this role work," Amy Pascal, chairman of the Columbia Pictures Motion Picture Group, said of the script partially penned by "Crash" mastermind Paul Haggis. "When you think about the great James Bond adventures, of course you think about action and espionage, but you need to have palpable sexual tension in the movie, and in casting Vesper we really needed to up the ante."
Green's character is a British treasury agent who enters Bond's life with questionable motives. Rounding out the cast is Judi Dench returning as M, and Giancarlo Giannini ("Man on Fire"), Simon Abkarian ("The Truth About Charlie"), Tobias Menzies (of the TV series "Rome") and "Just Like Heaven" actress Ivana Milicevic.
The 21st film in the longest running series in motion picture history, "Royale" is being directed by "GoldenEye" veteran Martin Campbell. It is being filmed in the Czech Republic, the Bahamas, Italy and the United Kingdom.
Check out everything we've got on "Casino Royale."
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