Casino Royale
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Casino Royale can be found here.

Yes. In fact, Casino Royale (1953) was the very first book by British author Ian Fleming [1908-1964] to feature the MI6 secret agent James Bond. It is the 21st film in the Bond series and the first to star Daniel Craig as Bond. Fleming's novel was adapted for the screen by writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis.

"Casino Royale" is the name chosen by author Fleming when he wrote the novel. "Royale" is a French word, which translates to "royal," "majestic," "kingly," or "regal" in English. The title could conceivably translate to the "Royal Casino," the "King's Casino," or even "Casino Majestic." However, since the French word "casino" is masculine, this phrase would correctly be spelled "casino royal". A better explanation is that the original story takes place in a fictional French town called Royale-les-Eaux. A place name in French is feminine and would deserve the 'e' at the end of "royale". Consequently, "casino royale" shouldn't be translated as "royal casino" but as a "casino in the town of Royale."

No, the spoof was very loosely based on the same source material by Ian Fleming, but this film is more in-line with other early Bond movies such as Dr. No (1962) or From Russia with Love (1963) and is far from spoof.

Is this a prequel?

The film isn't a prequel in the traditional sense, as it is not set in the time period before Dr. No; it is very much set in the present. However, it is a prequel in respect to Bond's life, as it depicts his career before the events of Dr No, in fact Casino Royale is his first assignment as 007. Although there is no official line from Sony Pictures, it could be described as a 'reboot' of the franchise. Over the years MGM/UA has filmed all of the James Bond books - but not in chronological order. Therefore it is hard to make a real timeline. Even though MGM/UA wanted to begin with Casino Royale it was impossible since they couldn't get the filming rights from the company that did the American TV-movie in the 1950s. Otherwise, Casino Royale would have been the first James Bond instead of Dr. No.

When is this film set?

The film is set in July 2006 (as noted on various cell phones and computer screens within the film).

The movie opens in Prague (Czech Republic) in a flashback that shows Bond making his second kill, the event that earned him his 00 status. On his next mission, 007 travels to Madagascar in search of the financier of a circle of terrorist groups. He kills an international bomb-maker seeking refuge at the Nambutu embassy and seizes his cellphone, discovering a number of calls from Ellipsis. Unfortunately, his escapade is photographed and printed in the newspapers. Bond briefly returns to London, steals into the private residence of M (Judi Dench), and uses her personal equipment to determine that the calls from Ellipsis originated from The Ocean Club in the Bahamas. After being berated by M, Bond flies to Nassau and determines the identity of Ellipsis to be that of Alex Dimitrios (Simon Abkarian) who, Bond learns by hacking into MI6's secure website using M's password, is an associate of Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a known private banker to the world's terrorists. Bond further learns, while seducing Dimitros' wife Solange (Caterina Murino), that her husband is on his way to Miami, so Bond follows him. He kills Dimitrios and foils Le Chiffre's attempt to destroy the prototype Skyfleet airliner. M enters Bond into a high-stakes poker tournament set up by Le Chiffre at the Casino Royale in Montenegro. After a rocky beginning, Bond wins the tournament. Following an attempt on Bond's life, he and Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) then head off to Venice. Bond then finds Mr. White in his villa on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy.

So why Montenegro?

Who knows why the producers chose Montenegro? One possible explanation is that the former Yugoslav states once had a rather shady reputation regarding their banking systems. However, most of them cleaned up their act in the 1990s. Another possible reason is that it's cheaper to shoot in Eastern Europe than it is in France. While it's possible that Montenegro was chosen because it's cheap and extremely beautiful (one only has to look at the town where filming was done to see why they would want to film in such a scenic setting), the Montenegro scenes were actually shot in the Czech Republic. That part of the Balkan peninsula is situated conveniently between "East" and "West" and was a favored meeting place for Cold War spies of the Ian Fleming era.

Just where is Montenegro?

Look at the region formerly known as Yugoslavia; Montenegro is one of the former states and is now known as The Republic of Montenegro, formerly united with Serbia. And yes, it IS a real place.

Because this is a reboot of the story, separate from the past Bonds, so it doesn't matter if Bond has a female boss. Let's just say that, when Bond meets M in this time line, it is different from Brosnan's Bond meeting her in GoldenEye (1995).

What does "M" stand for?

After M questions him as to how he was able to get into her house and know personal information about her, Bond confesses that he was surprised that "M" was not just a random letter applied to her but that it actually stood for...then he was interrupted. In The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), it was revealed that M's real name, as played by Bernard Lee, was Admiral Myles Masservy, so it might be assumed that the "M" came from the initials of his real name. However, it is not revealed whether that is the case for the current M.

Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) is in the film because Bond first met him in Casino Royale (the novel). While it is true that in the film series Bond first meets Leiter (played by Jack Lord) in Dr. No, in the book series Leiter had already been on several missions with Bond, going as far as losing an arm and a leg in the novel Live and Let Die (1954), which was depicted in the film Licence to Kill (1989).

It is a common misconception that "shorting stock" means a short sale of shares. "Shorting stock" simply means to take a negative position on the stock price, which can be by selling shares "short" (intending to repay the shares later after the price falls), or as Le Chiffre did, by purchasing put options. Either can be called "going short" on a stock. A profit is realized if the price falls later on. If the price of the stock actually goes up, though, the investor loses money.

A put option gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to sell a stock at a defined "strike price" to the party who sold the put options. By definition, the strike price is lower than the current price; the financial instrument would otherwise never be sold in the first place. The buyer initially pays the difference between the current market price and the strike price, plus a premium, hence Le Chiffre's need to get a new client and more funds: "I have the money, so short another million shares." Le Chiffre expected to exercise his put options and regain what he paid for them, plus much more, once the hired henchman destroyed Skyfleet's prototype airliner. When he was told the "ellipsis" password expires in 36 hours, he remarked, "That's all the time I have anyway." With Skyfleet's coincidental unveiling of a new airliner on the same day the options expired, Le Chiffre was cutting things very close.

Since we only know Le Chiffre's final losses, there are infinite possible combinations of shares, strike prices and market prices. As an example, let's say that Obanno's money was $10 million out of the $101,206,000 lost. The next Q&A says that Obanno gave $100 million to Le Chiffre, but the actual amount is never mentioned, and clearly the $100 million loss is not just Obanno's money. We'll also say that Skyfleet stock's market price was precisely $30, and that Le Chiffre bought put options for a total of 10 million shares, at a strike price of $20 with a premium of $0.206 per share. (This is not an impossible share volume. DAL, for example, has over 845 million shares outstanding.) The less likely the seller thinks the strike price will be reached, the less of a premium will be asked. Indeed, Le Chiffre's own broker warned, "Nobody expects this stock to go anywhere but up," so the premium on these puts would be very small. Le Chiffre would initially have to pay the difference between the market price and strike price, plus the premium: $102,206,000. As Skyfleet faced bankruptcy, Le Chiffre would buy 10 million shares on the open market, say $1 per share, then exercise his option to sell them at $20: a total of $190 million, less his $101,206,000 to buy the puts, for a net profit of $88,796,000. Quite a "reasonable rate of return" for a few days! If the market price had been $25, and the strike price $15, Le Chiffre would have netted $38,794,000. (To keep the scenario simple, we're using a price difference of $10 per share and 10 million shares.)

But Le Chiffre's plan failed, and because Skyfleet stock's price continued to stay above the strike price, there was no point to Le Chiffre exercising the puts. In those final hours, no one would buy them for any amount, so they "expired worthless," and Le Chiffre lost all the money he put into the puts (pun intended). It is very common for investors to purchase options that lose all value, and thus lose the money invested into them.

Le Chiffre probably preferred put options to selling shares short because of the odds: options allowed him to set a maximum loss, in the unlikely yet not impossible event that his scheme failed. The irony is that despite his mathematical genius, he was a poor investor. A short sale would have been unlikely to lose so much money in the course of a few days. Once the markets opened, Le Chiffre could have started buying to cover, with every dollar increase in price being a loss of "only" $10 million. On the other hand, the put options were a necessary plot device so Le Chiffre could lose a great deal of money with no recourse. Now, had Le Chiffre tried selling shares short, he'd have still needed a massive amount of money to start. No brokerage house would let a client incur such a huge potential liability without collateral, in case the market moved against the client.

It should be noted that Le Chiffre's broker was extremely incompetent. "I'm sorry, I'm not sure yet how much you've lost." A professional wouldn't have been caught off guard by an important and prominent client. He would have carefully monitored such a large position and be able to report on a moment's notice, especially with the ease that computerized records, with the cost of all his transactions, can be summoned. Perhaps it was a plot device for Le Chiffre to demonstrate his mathematical genius, though it could have been written with the broker about to disclose the final losses, and Le Chiffre interrupting with the amount.

Mr. White is a middleman of a mysterious terrorist organisation (which replaces the novel's SMERSH). His henchmen are "Tall Man" and Gettler. Vesper has been blackmailed into working with this organisation. Le Chiffre is a private banker to whomever needs money laundering. In the film, he is working with Mr. White's organisation to profit from acts of terror. His main man is Alex Dimitrios; other henchmen are named Leo, Bobbie, Jochum, Kratt, and Valenka. Obanno is a high ranking member of the Lord's Resistance Army, with various other freedom fighters under him. He entrusts $100 million with Le Chiffre, who loses the money when Bond foils his Skyfleet plot and tries to recoup his losses by staging the poker tournament. Dimitrios is a government contractor and a dealer in arms and information. He is an associate of Le Chiffre. Two other independents are seen working for Le Chiffre through Dimitrios: Mollaka, Bond's target in Madagascar; and Carlos, the terrorist at the airport.

Although there was speculation that this was Le Chiffre, it is in fact a different character called Gettler. This man appears to be working for Mr White or at least the same organisation.

No, for this reboot it was decided that James Bond would only use gadgets that are realistic and not something that looks 10 years ahead of it's time or gadgets that are impossible to make. In other words he uses the latest technology in cell phones, computers, and spy ware. Aside from a compact defibrillator and a small tracking device put in his arm, Bond doesn't have much in the way of gadgetry.

How does the movie end?

Bond wins the tournament with a straight flush (8-7-6-5-4 spades) over Le Chiffre's full house (A-A-A-6-6) and is awarded $150 million. Bond and Vesper are later abducted by Le Chiffre and tortured for the password to the account where the money was deposited, but Bond refuses to talk. Just as Le Chiffre is about to emasculate Bond, Mr White breaks down the door and shoots Le Chiffre. Bond awakens in a hospital, Vesper at his side. They transfer the winnings into the Treasury account, declare their love for each other, and Bond decides to resign from MI6. They sail off together to Venice. While Vesper is out, Bond receives a call from M asking when he is going to deposit the money, and Bond realizes that Vesper did not deposit it to the Treasury account. He calls the bank and finds out that the money is currently being withdrawn by someone in Venice. He races to the bank just in time to see Vesper leaving with a suitcase in hand. He follows her to an empty building, along the way killing off other agents sent to intercept her, and winds up shooting air bladders holding the building afloat. The suitcase of money is swept away, and Bond finds Vesper locked in an elevator. As the building sinks, the elevator slides under the water. Bond is able to reach Vesper, pull her to the surface, and attempt CPR, but it is too late. Watching from a window, Mr White (Jesper Christensen) turns away and walks off, the suitcase of money in his hand. Later, M explains to Bond that Vesper had a boyfriend who was kidnapped by the organization behind Le Chiffre and threatened to kill him unless she gave them the money. She agreed but only if they would let Bond live. On her cellphone, Bond finds a message for him from Vesper, giving him the telephone number for Mr White. As White arrives home, he receives a telephone call. "Mr White, we need to talk," a voice says. Suddenly, a shot rings out, hitting White in the leg. As White attempts to crawl away, Bond appears, gun in hand. "The name's Bond...James Bond," he says.

According to the producers, Craig was their only choice for the new Bond. It is believed, however, that Hugh Jackman was offered the part, but turned it down. Rumours that Clive Owen was offered the part were vigorously denied both by Owen and EON. Dougray Scott had met with producers, according to an interview with BBC's Jonathan Ross, but it's not certain that he was offered the part. Henry Cavill, James Purefoy, Julian McMahon, and Goran Visnjic were all screen tested (with English actress Camilla Power playing the Bond girl). Apparently, all four only found out they had lost the part when Daniel Craig's press conference took place. The rumour mill also churned out Colin Salmon as the first black Bond; he appeared in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), and Die Another Day (2002) as the character Charles Robinson.

Including Casino Royale, Craig has made three movies so far in which he plays James Bond: Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), and Skyfall (2012). Bond 24 is set for release in 2015, and Bond 25 is on the books with no known release date. Craig is scheduled to play Bond in both of these movies.

Le Chiffre originally worked for a Soviet assassination bureau called SMERSH. Since this film is not set during the Cold War (which ended in the late 80s/early 90s), he was changed to a terrorist financier. Bond's card game of choice, and the game featured in the novel, was Baccarat. In the twenty-first century, Texas Hold 'Em has replaced Baccarat as the popular game played in casinos, so the story was changed accordingly. The first 55 minutes are totally new, but the motivation behind them are true to the spirit of the book: LeChiffre invests a lot of money which does not belong to him, loses it, then sets up a high-stakes card game to try to win it back. The novel presents this as background information in a dossier. The novel begins (more or less) with Bond's arrival at Casino Royale. From this point, the film follows the book very closely, while adding in several new action scenes (stairwell fight, falling building). The poisoning scene is also new, but is loosely based on an attempt on Bond's life in the book. The torture scene, Bond's falling in love with Vesper, and her subsequent betrayal are all straight out of the book, the last line of which is "The bitch is dead now".

No. A crown did become loose during the shoot, though. Director Martin Campbell explains, "No, his teeth didn't get knocked out. What happened was that one of his caps came loose while we were filming in Prague. A local dentist came to the set, put a bit of glue on it, and that was that. The whole thing took 10 minutes."

Yes, he holds a UK Driving Licence. "That story about the stick shift was ludicrous," adds Barbara Broccoli, who produces the Bond franchise with half brother Michael G. Wilson. "Everybody drives a stick in England. You have to be able to in order to get an unrestricted license over there."

No. While it is true that Daniel Craig did get a sunburn, it was also true that practically everyone else on the shoot did, too. Craig did not get heat rash, and the production wasn't stopped for any length of time.

Was Pierce Brosnan fired?

No. Pierce Brosnan's contract had expired and, although EON spent 18 months negotiating with him, during which time he reportedly asked for a salary and gross percentage deal worth $42.5m and was highly critical of the producers in several interviews. Ultimately, neither side could agree on terms.

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