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CASINO ROYALE

About The Characters
Oscar® winner Dame Judi Dench returns in her fifth film as M, James Bond's steely superior at MI6, the British Secret Service. "Judi is now so much a part of Bond, she is a national treasure,” says Campbell.

Unlike in her previous roles in GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day, in CASINO ROYALE we get a glimpse of M's home life when the brash young Bond sneaks into her house to gain access to a secret database using her computer. "It's a riveting question,” says Campbell. "What kind of home do you imagine M has? An old Georgian house in an elegant London square? No, this woman is full of surprises, so we've gone for a modern penthouse on the river in London's Canary Wharf. And it suits her!”

Dench agrees. "I love the flat that Peter Lamont has designed for M. I think it will be a shock for people who might have expected her to have a little house in Kensington or a pied-a-terre in Covent Garden. It's very minimalist, very tasteful. And of course the exact address is a secret, except to me, and now James Bond!”

Dench, who has been nominated for five Academy Awards® and received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar® for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love, also enjoyed the opportunity to take her character out of the confines of London's MI6 headquarters, shooting scenes at Barrandov Studios in Prague and on location in the Bahamas. She was also happy the film steered clear of any high-tech spy gizmos. "In this film I don't have to get entangled with any gadgets, which is just as well, as I can't even work an ironing board!”

In CASINO ROYALE, M has only recently awarded Bond 00 status and her relationship with him is still in its early stages. After she gets raked over the coals by Parliament over a bloody shootout in a foreign embassy, the senior intelligence officer makes it perfectly clear that she expects Bond to stick to protocol going forward. Instead, he disregards his superior's instructions and heads off on his own to the Bahamas to investigate the origins of a bombing plot, further infuriating M.

"After that, she's reluctant to entrust him with the responsibility of playing in the poker game, but she seems to have no alternative,” says Dench. "By the end of the film you understand that Bond has grown, and M knows she is onto a good thing.”

Dench gives a hearty thumbs-up to the actor who has stepped into the role of her maverick subordinate. "Daniel has a wonderful presence. He's very handsome and strong, but at the same time, you wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of him. Those are all perfect traits to have as an actor. He seems to have relaxed into the role. I'm sure it gave him some anxiety, as it would any actor, but he doesn't show it on set. He has a great sense of humor, and I always find a shared sense of humor is the first clue to working well with an actor. He also has a kind of self-deprecation about him that is very attractive.”

The venerable stage and screen actress describes director Campbell, with whom she first worked on GoldenEye, as "a safe pair of hands.” "I did my first-ever Bond with Martin, and it's good to come back to work with him again. He is very enthusiastic and knows the conditions that actors like to work within. He knows that when you are doing repeated takes, you need to have an atmosphere of suspended calm and quiet, so you can get to the next take quickly while everything is still clear in your mind. There's nothing worse than an enormous break between takes, with people relaxing and wandering about. Martin is encouraging, gentle and excitable. And he knows the Bond scene very, very well.”

Italian actress Caterina Murino almost missed out on the opportunity to play Solange, the beautiful but unhappy wife of Le Chiffre's ruthless associate, Alex Dimitrios. She was<

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