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Casino Royale - 13 things you might not know...

Daniel Craig as 007 in Casino Royale

Compiled by Jack Foley

AS CASINO Royale makes its way into cinemas this weekend, we’ve compiled some fascinating trivia about the 21st Bond movie.

Did you know, for instance, that new 007 Daniel Craig is one of the youngest actors to play James Bond? Or that he almost didn’t get to show off his muscular physique in those tight blue swimming trunks….

1) Incredibly, Casino Royale star Daniel Craig is the first actor under the age of 40 to play James Bond since George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). He is 38. Roger Moore was 46 when he played 007 in Live And Let Die, Timothy Dalton was 43 when he appeared in The Living Daylights and Pierce Brosnan was 42 when GoldenEye was released.

2) Authorities in Venice granted the producers of Casino Royale permission to sail James Bond’s yacht, called Spirit 54, along the Grand Canal between the Accademia and Rialto bridges. No one can remember exactly the last time a pleasure yacht sailed in the Grand Canal, although it’s believed to have been several centuries ago.

3) The much-publicised 2007 Ford Mondeo sport model used in the beginning of Casino Royale is a special one-off, hand-built prototype, constructed by hand at Ford of Europe’s Design Studio in Cologne, in January 2006. It was shipped to the Bahamas in secrecy for shooting. Production of the vehicle is not due to start until the second quarter of 2007.

4) The Casino Royale location in the Bahamas used as the Madagascar Construction site where Bond pursues Sebastien Foucan’s character is an abandoned hotel site that was under construction 30 years ago. It was also used as a location for the 1965 James Bond movie Thunderball.

5) Casino Royale was the first James Bond novel written by Ian Fleming and is the last of the original Fleming novels to be filmed by EON Productions. The shooting of this film now means EON Productions have filmed the entire canon of Fleming James Bond novels.

6) During 2004, Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino had suggested making a version of Casino Royale with Pierce Brosnan reprising the role of 007. According to reports, Tarantino and Brosnan approached with EON Productions with their idea and a script was written that started off after the events of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Ultimately, it wasn’t approved.

7) President John F Kennedy became an avid James Bond fan after reading Ian Fleming’s novel Casino Royale.

8) In the novel Casino Royale (which was written in the 1950s) the big-stakes card game was Chemin de Fer and was set in the South of France. For the movie and the new millennium, the big stakes game has been updated to the high-stakes poker card game of Texas Hold’em which in real life attracts bets with 10 or 20 million dollar pots.

9) This is the first film in the 44 years of the James Bond series where it rains.

10) This is the first time that the character Felix Leiter (played by Jeffrey Wright) returns to the James Bond franchise since 1989’s Licence To Kill. Interestingly, Leiter first appeared in Dr No and was played by Hawaii Five-O star Jack Lord. In Licence To Kill, he was played by David Hedison.

11) Daniel Craig was officially unveiled as the new James Bond on October 14, 2005, aboard the HMS President in London. On that same day, former James Bond Roger Moore celebrated his 78th birthday.

12) Casino Royale does not feature the regular James Bond characters of Q and Miss Moneypenny. It is the first time the Miss Moneypenny character has not appeared in the EON James Bond series and only the second time that the Q character has not appeared – the first being Live And Let Die.

13) According to a report on movie website Daniel Craig almost didn’t get the chance to wow audiences with his toned torso and tight swimwear in Casino Royale because movie bosses never even wrote the sea scene. One of the iconic images from the latest 007 film sees Craig emerging from the ocean in close-fitting blue shorts, much like the bikini-clad Ursula Andress in Dr No and Halle Berry in Die Another Day. But, according to producer Barbara Broccoli, the moment was entirely coincidental. She is quoted as saying: “Daniel had to go into the sea for a scene. But when he came out all the women on the set gasped. It wasn’t intended for the scene to go that way but he made a real impact.”

Read our review of Casino Royale