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‘Royale’ affair for Bond

'GoldenEye' helmer Campbell signs on for 21st pic

The 21st installment of the James Bond franchise, which Martin Campbell will direct, now has a name — “Casino Royale” — and is slated for release in 2006, MGM announced Thursday.

Campbell is soon expected to begin meeting with the film’s writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, as well as producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, to discuss development of the script.

Project marks Campbell’s second time helming a Bond pic. In 1995 he directed “GoldenEye,” the film that introduced Pierce Brosnan as 007.

With “Casino Royale,” Campbell will once again be ringing in a new Bond (even though no actor has yet been selected).

Another repeat is the new pic’s title. In 1967 David Niven starred as Bond in the original “Casino Royale,” a spoof of the genre.

Lately, MGM has been on a title revival roll. In the fall its new “Pink Panther” movie will bow. The film’s title is, simply, “The Pink Panther,” the same as that of the first movie in the series, released in 1963.

Due to the impending buyout of MGM by a consortium led by Sony — expected to close this summer — “Casino Royale” will be released by Sony but will carry the MGM name.

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