1966: ‘Royale’ treatment

Jan. 28, 1966

GOOD MORNING from London: “This could shatter the ‘Bond’ image,” Peter Sellers casually commented when I asked his opinion of “Casino Royale’s” effect on future exploits of the Sean Connery-created 007 character … How will the Charles Feldman, non-Connery pic accomplish this dastardly deed to Messrs. Broccoli, Saltzman, Connery and all their imitators? “Because of the satire we have created (part of which was written by Sellers). But “Casino Royale” “is not just a Bond satire, it is a film on its own. I think it will be a bonanza.” … Since the “Casino Royale” set was closed, Sellers met us in his penthouse suite at the Dorchester. Despite a day’s work on the set, he bounded in with a “What’s New Pussycat?” entrance! He looked better than last year during filming of “After the Fox” and dispelled any further rumors about his health. “It takes a long time to get back to normal — it takes almost two years. But I’m perfectly OK now thanks to Rex (Dr. Rex Kennamer) and all those great people at Cedars. I now have a complete clean bill of health.” (Sellers died July 24, 1980) … Fade in to today as I reached, by phone, the “Casino Royale” offices at the Barrandov studios in Prague where they are busily readying to start (Monday) the new, completely different version. The 1966 “Casino” had five directors — John Huston, Ken Hughes, Val Guest, Robert Parrish and Joseph McGrath — plus a cast that included Sellers, Ursula Andress, David Niven, Orson Welles, William Holden, Charles Boyer, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jackie Bisset and Huston. Martin Campbell directs the Barbara Broccoli-Michael Wilson “Casino,” and starts with interior scenes starring the new Bond, Daniel Craig, and Caterina Marina Solange. Upcoming locations include the Bahamas, Venice and Paris. And all the fx today’s movie-making can conjure.

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