Bond On Set: Filming Casino Royale - Greg Williams
Review by Jack Foley
EACH new James Bond release almost inevitably spawns a number of new books on the enduring appeal of 007. Some are more worthwhile than others.
Greg Williams’ Bond On Set: Filming Casino Royale most definitely falls into the worthwhile category. It’s an amazing collection of photographs that chronicle the filming of 21st Bond movie, Casino Royale and, most notably, Daniel Craig’s immersion into the role.
Williams previously photographed previous 007 Pierce Brosnan on the set of 2002’s Die Another Day and was welcomed back with open arms by franchise producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, who appreciated his professionalism and keen eye for imagery.
As they state in the book’s foreword: “It takes a special person to earn the trust of everyone on set [from the actors to themselves to the director and producers] – a person that is not onlly respected for his technical and artistic talent, but is also trusted to show what goes on behind-the-scenes with sensitivity, honesty and integrity. Greg is one of the few photographers to have earned such trust and respect.”
Hence, this latest Bond On Set collection very effectively demonstrates what the producers were hoping it would – namely, how the presence of a new actor to the iconic role of 007 was approached and achieved, as well as the shift in style that the makers were looking for.
You can tell from the photographs that this is a very different Bond movie. It looks gritty and more muscular, certainly in the numerous images of Daniel Craig being made up with bruising and blood, or going about the more physical side of proceedings.
But it also succeeds in capturing a more intimate side to the Bond franchise – whether it’s actors taking quiet moments away from the cameras, or generally bonding (if you’ll pardon the pun) with each other.
Early on, fans are treated to several photographs of Daniel Craig practising handling various weapons on the firing range, as well as an intensely private moment that shows the actor nervously clinging to his girlfriend on the day before he was due to be unveiled before the world’s media.
Later on, there’s black and white shots of Craig reading through the script in his trailer, or catching forty winks on a couch after the filming of a fight scene.
In contrast to the more serious/taxing side of filming, there are some wonderfully unguarded moments such as Eva Green frolicking on the Vennice set, or hanging around the backlot smoking a cigarette clad in only a dressing gown.
The application of make-up features regularly, as do portrait style images of some of the supporting characters, such as Sebastien Foucan, Mads Mikkelsen and beautiful Bond support babe, Caterina Murino (who looks stunning).
There are also images from the film itself – such as the memorable sequence between Bond and Vesper Lynd in the shower and the opening chase – that effectively capture the excitement associated with this new 007 adventure.
What’s most striking, however, is the way in which it delivers the goods without resorting to the use of too many widely used stills. This is a book that retains a sense of individuality that makes it a unique piece of work. It offers an intimate and frequently private view of the creation of Casino Royale that fans of the movie will undoubtedly enjoy being made a part of.
It is an essential companion that’s every bit as stylish as the film itself.
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