ROOM 26 @ THE NICE ROOMS presents
Casino Royale: It's Too Much For One James Bond!- An Interview with Michael Richardson
Date of Article: October 30th 2015
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Michael Richardson is a freelance writer specialising in cult television and film. He has previous been responsible for Bowler Hats and Kinky Boots: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to The Avengers; a comprehensive reference guide to the televised adventures of John Steed and his various assistants during the sixties and The New Avengers in the seventies. As a result of developing an interest in TV locations around the Elstree/Borehamwood area, in 1987 he originated the only regular event based on The Avengers: "The Dead Man’s Treasure Hunt Convention", which has taken place annually ever since.
He has had articles and features published in various magazines including TV Zone, Book and Magazine Collector, Record Collector and 007 Magazine. Between 1999 and 2007, he both edited and was the main contributor to the cult television magazine Action TV.
For many years he has had a fascination with Charles K Feldman’s sixties' James Bond spy spoof Casino Royale and exactly how this multi-million dollar extravaganza was filmed and assembled from different storylines and plot elements.
Welcome to The Nice Rooms Mike. Where do I start?.. The 1967 film Casino Royale .. It really was the most bizarre James Bond Movie ever shot wasn't it?
The sixties' Casino Royale is a psychedelic, multi-storylined extravaganza packed with star names including Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, David Niven, Ursula Andress and Orson Welles...and also includes some James Bond 007 content.
The American producer Charles K Feldman envisaged the film as being assembled from different contributors who would spoof Bond and recruited seven directors (including two second unit directors) working from a screenplay credited to three writers, although known to have had input from at least nine other people including Peter Sellers and Woody Allen. These writers were encouraged to write and almost constantly rewrite the screenplay with the film coming across as an extravaganza of epic proportions featuring several storylines and set pieces that converge towards the conclusion of the film. The film broke down into four different storylines that each posed a problem which was going to be solved by enlisting someone with specialist skills and who, to confuse the enemy, was renamed James Bond.
The storylines were:
1: Sir James Bond (David Niven) visits Castle McTarry to return the toupée of his former chief M to his widow (Deborah Kerr) and his various daughters.
2: Assisting British Intelligence, the multi-millionaire Vesper Lynd (Ursula Andress) recruits world famous Baccarat expert Evelyn Trimble (Peter Sellers) to play Le Chiffe (Orson Welles) at Casino Royale and, hiding his true identity, christens him James Bond.
3: Sir James enlists his illegitimate daughter Mata Bond (Joanna Pettit) to infiltrate SMERSH in Berlin, where Le Chiffe is auctioning his art collection consisting of a large amount of blackmailing photographs showing military officers in uncompromising positions with partially clad women.
4: The British agents Cooper (Terence Cooper) and The Detainer (Daliah Lavi) followed by Sir James and Moneypenny (Barbara Bouchet) travel to Casino Royale and confront Dr. Noah / Little Jimmy Bond played by Woody Allen.
Casino Royale: UK Quad Poster and French Poster
Later, Feldman decided rather than have the four threads stand alone, what was really required was another storyline that connected them all together and, being given the task of constructing a shooting script for this, writer/director Val Guest agreed. However, as Guest pointed out this would have been a much better idea if some foresight had been employed and this additional screenplay had been written before they had actually started filming.
I'd love to know what was going through Val Guest's mind at the time. Wasn't constructing a shooting script and bringing the threads together just all "too much for one Val Guest" ?
It undoubtedly became very complicated with Guest writing material that involved David Niven as Sir James Bond and Ursula Andress as Vesper Lynd which connected the Scottish storyline to the Evelyn Trimble segment. Another sequence involved Sir James visiting a remote Javanese temple to persuade his illegitimate daughter, Mata Bond, to become involved in the family tradition of spying which tied into the Berlin storyline.
Ursula Andress and David Niven
Further to this, Sir James decided that somewhere among the agents of British Intelligence there was a man who could resist all women leading to a couple of scenes featuring Terence Cooper and Barbara Bouchet followed by another scene involving Terence Cooper and Daliah Lavi that led directly into the final portion of the screenplay that played out at Casino Royale and the underground headquarters of Dr Noah.
In addition to all this, Guest was also responsible for cobbling something together to begin filming during early January 1966 after Peter Sellers and director Joe McGrath had haphazardly reworked Wolf Mankowitz’s screenplay. Experienced writer Mankowitz, who had written a treatment of Eon Productions’ Dr No, had scripted the original four story lines script, but then he had rewritten it to Peter Sellers’ satisfaction and then again to Peter Sellers’ dissatisfaction, hence he and Joe McGrath becoming involved. Having lost the narrative during this latest rewrite, Guest would reinstate this and also become responsible for some scripting of the final melee featuring over 200 fighting extras inside the casino, plus co-writing almost all Woody Allen’s scenes together with the American. Originally, Guest was hired to direct a portion of the film, which became the close-ups featured during the final melee, the Woody Allen scenes and the aforementioned fifth story line that connected the other segments together. Initially Guest was informed that his portion would only occupy several weeks of principal photography, but his involvement grew and grew and eventually he would devote himself for almost a year to the production.
When I spoke with Guest on the telephone between Christmas 2005 and New Year, he still recalled some of the problems working on the movie, describing Charles K. Feldman as "instantly likeable, generous and enthusiastic." - Altogether too enthusiastic at times, as he jumped from one idea to another without fully exploring the first or understanding the problems he was constantly causing the crew. For instance, Feldman could decide late in the day that the primary colour of a set was wrong and needed painting overnight, which caused the knock on effect of the costume department having to create new colour coordinated outfits. Managing to get everything ready, there would be an early morning call and Guest would be ready to begin directing when Feldman would telephone again having had another change of mind. Guest vividly recalled that there were times when he felt like hugging Feldman, but then again there were other times when he could have gleefully throttled him!
So many egos to contend with on one film..
The huge ego was Peter Sellers, who, after being chased by Feldman for approximately two years to appear in Casino Royale, brought a great amount of influence to the project by insisting on having director approval. Hence, when Sellers wanted Joseph McGrath, a director who had only worked on videotaped television productions for the movie, Feldman allowed him to take control of a multi-million dollar feature film. When Sellers wanted Terry Southern brought on board as a gag writer to mainly furnish him with funny lines, Feldman agreed. Likewise when Sellers wanted comedy writer Michael Law brought on board because he considered the screenplay was not funny enough, Feldman agreed.
Charles K Feldman
Initially, Sellers had no problem with Feldman bringing his old Hollywood friend Orson Welles onto the movie to play the villainous Le Chiffe. However, shortly before filming commenced, Welles and Wolf Mankowitz visited Sellers in his suite at The Dorchester Hotel for a pre-production meeting to discuss script revisions. Attempting to impress Welles with his impersonation abilities, Sellers adopted various different accents hoping to lighten the event, but the American failed to be amused. Seeing that his approach to be funny had failed, Sellers then began lecturing Welles and Mankowitz (who were both large men) on their being overweight and the atmosphere turned somewhat icy.
For his part, Sellers had also suffered with a weight problem earlier in his career, but he had managed to overcome this and considered reaching his ideal weight to be one of his major achievements. Later, Sellers heard that Welles often attempted to take-over the feature films he appeared in, which caused him to develop an irrational fear of being upstaged by the American and this prompted a confidential conference with McGrath, where the Goon warned that they must not allow this to occur on Casino Royale. Within days, McGrath’s initial feature film became a nightmare, when Sellers suddenly decided that in his opinion he should never actually share the sound stage with Welles and that they should be filmed on alternate days.
Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress and Orson Welles
McGrath disagreed, stating that he needed both actors on the Casino set for the Baccarat game confrontation, but Sellers simply went over his head and obtained Feldman’s approval to change the shooting schedule. However, despite Sellers' misgivings it does appear that there was a small victory for common sense, as both he and Welles did spend at least part of a day working together on the casino set at Shepperton Studios. At the time Sellers was having marital problems with his wife Britt Ekland having left him and retreated to her parents’ home in Sweden. He visited her on weekends, but inevitably he was late returning to Shepperton, sometimes by as much as a day. After one such absence, Sellers arrived at the studios one morning and announced to everybody that his great friend Princess Margaret would be visiting. Later, Princess Margaret, Lord Snowden (armed with a camera) and various assistants from The Sunday Times arrived on the closed set (closed to reporters and photographers), where, not having been made aware of the visit, McGrath telephoned Feldman on how to proceed.
Resigned to the situation, Feldman felt that the damage had been done and informed McGrath to allow the royal party access to all areas. Thinking that he was going to be the centre of attention, Sellers was shocked when Princess Margaret brushed past him and went straight to Orson Welles and greeted him with:“Orson I’ve not seen you for days.”
Unknown to Sellers, Princess Margaret and Welles had known each other for decades! Princess Margaret and Lord Snowden were later shown some rough footage filmed the previous week when Sellers had been absent and this was mainly Welles performing his conjuring tricks on the casino set.
Later over lunch Princess Margaret enthused endlessly about Welles to Sellers who was obviously seething and, formulating another irrational conclusion, figured that McGrath should have been aware of their friendship and informed him of such. Over the following days, Sellers and McGrath’s working relationship deteriorated and it eventually came to a head in a heated argument about script revisions that became an exchange of blows. Stunt co-ordinator Gerry Crampton then stepped in and broke up the altercation, but then Sellers pulled rank and had McGrath fired from the job that he had obtained for him only weeks earlier.
Gerry Crampton - Stunt Co-ordinator
What effect did all these shenanigans have on the overall budget?
Originally Columbia Pictures allocated a budget of $6 million to Casino Royale, although after Feldman impressed executives with some early footage there was an increase to $8 million. However, during the early months of production there were rumours in the film industry that the project was eating through its budget at an alarming rate.
The problem of Peter Sellers being absent so much had some bearing on this as although filming could sometimes continue in his absence. On other occasions the cast, crew and up to 200 extras could be waiting for him to arrive on the casino set. Obviously all these people still received their salaries even if the cameras failed to roll with Feldman eventually calculating that these unplanned stoppages had cost the production over £700,000.
As suggested, at some point the budget would stretch no further, leaving multi-millionaire Feldman no choice other than finance the picture from his own resources. Feldman would never reveal the exact cost of Casino Royale, but over the years several estimates have suggested that it was much higher than Columbia Pictures’ $8 million.
Columbia Pictures Logo (1967)
Wolf Mankowitz felt certain that the excesses he had witnessed during filming had pushed costs even further than anyone had ever imagined; he thought that the final expenditure could easily have approached $28 million. In comparison, Eon Productions’ Thunderball had been produced complete with location shooting in The Bahamas, for a meagre £5.6 million.
Despite all the money spent on the film, the critics didn't particularly like Casino Royale did they?
That’s correct; the newspaper and magazine reviews were mainly negative both here in the UK and in the United States although I can understand why that was because the first time I watched the film I expected something that would conform to an Eon Productions’ Bond film and when it failed to do that I simply dismissed it. Only several years later did I accept that it was a comedy spoof of epic proportions with some James Bond content.
"At one time or another, Casino Royale undoubtedly had a shooting schedule, a script and a plot. If any one of the three ever turns up, it might be the making of a good movie.... This is possibly the most indulgent film ever made. Anything goes. Consistency and planning must have seemed the merest whimsy."
Roger Ebert May 1st 1967
However, returning to 1967, American box office receipts began telling a different story as Casino Royale became the top grossing film in the United States for six weeks. After all the adverse publicity Feldman was overjoyed and telephoned Val Guest in London to break the news. Unfortunately, the eccentric Feldman forgot the time difference and Guest was woken at 4.00 am by the trans-Atlantic telephone call! Obviously the general public wanted to see another James Bond film, but despite it not being a traditional 007 film, it was still entertaining and word of mouth was spreading the message and it was gaining an audience.
Being such a large scale production where exactly was Casino Royale filmed?
With all the sound stages at Shepperton Studios occupied by the Evelyn Trimble segment and the television series Danger Man, the David Niven / John Huston portion was mainly based at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire. Likewise, the Berlin storyline and some of Woody Allen’s scenes were filmed at what was MGM Borehamwood Studios in Hertfordshire, making it the only UK based film ever shot at three major British film studios.
Initially there were plans to film in Spain, Italy and Germany, although Feldman realised that if the majority of location filming was restricted to the UK and he utilised British crews, then the film would become eligible for some funding under the Eady Levy.
- From 1950 to 1985, the Eady Levy was a form of taxation collected by the Government as a percentage of cinema ticket sales, which was ultimately invested into domestic and foreign-backed pictures filmed in Britain, making the country attractive to movie-makers and creating work throughout the industry.
Director John Huston took his unit to Ireland for location filming (doubling as Scotland), where they used the small Ardmore Studios outside Dublin as a base of operations for two weeks utilizing the facilities there although not using any of the sound stages. There was a small amount of second unit footage filmed in Scotland, although the car chase directed by former stuntman Richard Talmadge was undertaken on roads in Surrey and Berkshire. Then, towards the conclusion of principal photography, Val Guest took a small unit to France - although practically everything filmed during this shoot would not included in the film.
Do you have a favourite stand-out scene?
Not really, I enjoy so much of it. Occasionally I come across it being screened when I’m channel surfing and I’m always compelled to watch it through to the end. My favourite line of dialogue comes when Little Jimmy Bond is being led out to his apparent execution and Woody Allen delivered a brilliant one-liner to the captain of the firing squad: “My doctor says that I shouldn’t have bullets entering my body at any time!”
Casino Royale (1967) Trailer
Coming back to Peter Sellers.. What exactly were the circumstances that brought about his departure from the film?
Unused Footage: Ursula Andress and Peter Sellers
After Joseph McGrath was dismissed, Feldman offered several directors the opportunity to replace him but they declined and, growing bored with the situation, Orson Welles returned to his home outside Madrid in Spain. Having had experience working with Peter Sellers, the director/scriptwriter Blake Edwards volunteered to become involved but his demand for a remuneration of $1 million forced Feldman to reject him.
However, Feldman remembered a former child actor, film editor and director called Robert Parrish, who had worked on both feature films and The Twilight Zone television series. As a friend of Orson Welles, Parrish enticed him back from Madrid and then picking up the pieces he began commanding the action at Shepperton Studios. Parrish, who came across as a warm and friendly director, was completely professional and showed no favouritism towards Welles and forged a friendship with Sellers that would result in them working together again the following year on the film The Bobo.
Sellers was still frequently arriving late at the studio and some days he failed to arrive at all. Unhappy with the situation, but still avoiding the responsibility of confronting Sellers, Feldman dispatched assistant producer John Dark from the central London production office to Shepperton to rectify the situation. However, Sellers refused to acknowledge Dark’s authority and simply ignored him. Despite the arrival of Parrish, Dark and the recently appointed co-producer Jerry Bresler (who had been transferred from another area of Feldman’s production company Famous Artists) Sellers continued his unprofessional behaviour.
With filming unable to proceed without him, Sellers would be travelling around nearby roads in his chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce, using one of the first radio telephones to speak with a contact at the studio who was advising him of the problems being created by his absence. Eventually the time frame on Sellers’ contract ran out, although Feldman had originally included an extremely generous overrun clause whereby the actor would receive a week’s salary for every day he now worked. Reporting to the studio on the initial day of the overrun, Sellers enquired at the production office regarding the inflated rate, but Feldman had anticipated this and the answer was a definite "No"
Feldman quickly pointed out that if Sellers had actually turned up for work instead of continually going missing, then his role of Evelyn Trimble would have been completed on schedule. Dissatisfied, Sellers stormed off and obtained a sick note from his doctor indicating that he was suffering from exhaustion and jetted off to Spain, sending Feldman a note to say that he would return the following week. Feldman’s patience finally ran out and he quickly called a production meeting with Robert Parrish, Val Guest and film editor Bill Lenny, wanting to know if they had enough material in the can to finish off the Evelyn Trimble segment without using Sellers again. After discussing the situation, they decided that with some ingenuity they could work around the scenes that were missing, prompting Feldman to send Sellers a message stating that his services on Casino Royale were "No longer required."
So how did Sellers take the news that he had been fired?
Surprisingly laid back and harbouring no grudges whatsoever, Sellers even found time to be interviewed by the popular press confirming that his contract had expired with material still unfilmed. Indicating that he had been willing to continue filming for another week, Sellers admitted that he could not envisage how this would affect the picture, being quoted as saying:“It’s a gigantic puzzle, the whole film.” Meanwhile, having lost his leading man, Feldman was thinking how someone else could carry the storyline, giving consideration to expanding the character of Mata Bond and having her played by female impersonator Danny La Rue!
Reconsidering the situation, this idea was dropped and Mata Bond would eventually be played by a British actress based in the United States called Joanna Pettit. Wolf Mankowitz suggested that Terence Cooper should take over as a traditional James Bond character, but again Feldman rejected this course of action, which was strange because the producer had originally recruited him to do just that.
Danny La Rue (1970) Joanna Pettit (1976) and Terence Cooper (1961)
Two years previously, Feldman had seen the tall and square-jawed Cooper in a nightclub and instantly considered him as the ideal candidate to play James Bond. After discussing the matter, Feldman placed Cooper on a £200 per week retainer, but only on the condition that he did not accept any acting work in other films, television or the theatre, making him ready at a moment’s notice to commence filming Casino Royale.
Joanna Pettit, Terence Cooper, David Niven and Barbara Bouchet, in unused footage from the film.
And then there was David Niven..
During the casting for Dr. No, David Niven was one of the actors that Ian Fleming had suggested to play Bond, but Albert Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman considered him too old and so it was interesting that Charles K Feldman though him ideal for the retired Sir James Bond. There would be no ego problems with the Scottish segment because Niven and his co-star Deborah Kerr had worked together on the film Eye of the Devil the previous year and were good friends. Likewise, Kerr and director John Huston had previously made two films together: The Night of the Iguana and Heaven Knows, Mr Allison and she rated him as her favourite director. The easy-going Niven (who played cards with the extras between takes) and the complete professional Huston got on like 'a house on fire.'
While making the film, Niven said practically nothing about the various production problems that occurred during filming, though once he prophesised:"Casino Royale is going to be a classic bit of fun or the biggest fuck-up since the flood!’
What was Woody Allen's contribution to the film?
During March 1964, actress Shirley MacLaine took family friend Charles K. Feldman to the Blue Angel nightclub in New York, where the young stand-up comedian Woody Allen had a five week residency. Being impressed by Allen’s observational humour, Feldman thought that it could be transferred into a screenplay and having already bought the film rights to the stage play Lot’s Wife, the producer considered it would provide the ideal vehicle for the New Yorker. Quickly arranging a deal through Allen’s agents, Feldman hired him to write a feature film screenplay for what would become the comedy film What’s New Pussycat?
Originally, MacLaine’s brother Warren Beatty was going to headline the film, with the title being copied from the way the actor used to answer the telephone to his girlfriends. However, Beatty dropped out and was replaced on the project by Peter O’Toole, with the character of Dr Fassbender being written with Groucho Marx in mind, but later cast to Peter Sellers. Once filming was underway, the screenplay was rewritten almost daily by Sellers and O’Toole with Feldman’s blessing. He also arranged for Allen to perform several major rewrites against the comedian’s wishes.
What's New Pussycat? UK Quad Poster
When What’s New Pussycat? was released it generated more box office receipts than any other comedy film up to that point, influencing Feldman’s approach to the scripting of Casino Royale. Having witnessed his screenplay being ripped apart and reassembled mainly by others on What’s New Pussycat?, Allen decided that from then on he should have complete control of his future movie projects. However, Allen lacked the funding and was drawn back to Feldman to write the script for a segment of Casino Royale (although he would also collaborate with Val Guest), but only on the understanding that he would not receive a screenplay credit.
Shortly afterwards, Feldman took out an option on a screenplay Allen had written for a comedy film called Take the Money and Run.
However, as Allen was insisting on directing this picture, Feldman advised that his inexperience in this field would discourage film companies showing interest, but in the meantime while Allen was attempting to find a backer Feldman asked if he would become more involved with Casino Royale. Feeling an obligation, Allen reluctantly assumed the acting role of Dr Noah / Little Jimmy Bond, although in later interviews the comedian openly admitted that by then he had realized Feldman was a compulsive liar and he had worked with him knowing that.
Allen also exhibited his feelings towards the production in letters sent to his New York agent where he described the sets as "Pop-Art vulgarity" stating that he absolutely hated the Dr Noah character he had created and that Casino Royale would be an almighty flop. Although Allen was wrong regarding the last statement, he insists to this day that he has never actually watched Casino Royale although close family members have and have assured him it's a ghastly experience.
Publicity shot of Woody Allen with some of the Guard Girls.
How did your book "The Making Of Casino Royale" come about?
The Making Of Casino Royale by Michael Richardson
Published by Telos Movie Classics # 2 ISBN: 978-1-84583-112-7
Available in Paperback And Kindle Versions
Initially I watched Casino Royale in 1987 and as I have already mentioned, it failed to impress me although subsequent screenings in 1990 and 1991 were appreciated much more. When visiting a friend Andrew Pixley, he mentioned the film and we started attempting to work out the various story line threads and, researching further, we discovered how the production had endured various problems including how difficult Peter Sellers had been while working on the film.
Over the years I collected information on the film just because I found it fascinating and I wanted to understand how such a motion picture had managed to get out of control, not to mention how it became so utterly complicated. Communication with Val Guest revealed more detailed information regarding the haphazard work practices, plus the almost constant rewriting and improvisation that was normal during principal photography.
The final inspiration arrived during March 2003, when Guest was interviewed by the magazine SFX, indicating that his experiences and memories could supply enough material to produce another film showing exactly how the bizarre development and production of Casino Royale was achieved. This statement started me thinking; there was no way I had the resources or finance to film anything, but I could write the most detailed account of how the sixties' Casino Royale came about. However, because of other commitments and generally not getting off my backside, it would take approximately ten years for me to begin writing and then the shorter period of five months to actually complete it.
I submitted a couple of chapters for consideration to Telos Publishing where Stephen James Walker and David J. Howe liked the attention to detail and thought it would be an ideal book for their Movie Classics range.
I'm scratching my head as to how you managed to piece everything together..
Collecting a huge amount of information relating to the film was easy enough, but before I could begin writing anything I needed a production schedule that indicated what was shot, where, by who and which cast members were involved. Unfortunately, after the passing of decades it was extremely unlikely that I would be able to locate official documentation which would furnish this information and so the only alternative was to begin researching.
Looking through the film industry publications of the time, Kine Weekly, The Daily Cinema, The Stage, Television Today and Variety, I managed to piece together the order of filming for the various segments. This information revealed who had directed the different portions and which major cast members had been present during shooting plus which film studio had hosted the various shoots and, more importantly, the actual filming dates. Getting all this down on paper gave me the framework I required to confidently start writing when and where the filming for Casino Royale took place.
To augment this data, I also went through every Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, David Niven and Orson Welles biography I could find, followed by any on-line biographies for them as well as other members of the cast and crew. I even bought a French biography of Ursula Andress despite not being able to speak nor read the language! While attending the "Dead Man’s Treasure Hunt" event (based on The Avengers episode of the same name) my proof-reader Annette Hill read me the chapter of the French biography on Casino Royale over breakfast in the hotel dining room and informed me of a couple of things regarding Ursula Andress that I was not previously aware of.
Logically, I decided that my book should run chronologically and begin with Ian Fleming writing his first James Bond novel Casino Royale, followed by the second chapter continuing the story by outlining various attempts to get a straight 007 movie underway. From then on there would be a chapter devoted to each segment directed by one of the five main directors. Thus, number three was Joseph McGrath’s filming and the fourth spotlighted Robert Parrish; both working with Peter Sellers.
Director John Huston helps David Niven (Sir James Bond) on with his jacket.
Chapter five was the David Niven / John Huston Scottish storyline, followed by Val Guest’s work on the finale in the casino and then Kenneth Hughes directing the Berlin segment. The final chapter looks at the release of Casino Royale, the harsh reviews, the original merchandising plus a reproduction of the production schedule that I created. Further to this, there is also a cast and crew listing. I have also managed to identify over a hundred unbilled extras who appear on screen, plus a further 45 who, documentation proves, were also involved. The book also pieces together what material was filmed and then discarded from the film by using reference sources such as production stills, portions of scripts and anecdotes about the making of the film.
Mike, you mentioned there "..a hundred unbilled extras who appear on screen .."
The biggest uncredited name to appear in Casino Royale was Peter O’Toole, who decided to visit Peter Sellers at Shepperton Studios after working together with him on Feldman’s previous film What’s New Pussycat? The Scottish marching band sequence was being prepared and O’Toole was easily persuaded to don Highland regalia to perform a cameo with Sellers. Although there was no fee involved he later accepted a case of champagne for his troubles!
Peter Sellers was a great car enthusiast and this led to the inclusion of ex-F1 racing driver Stirling Moss who attended filming for a couple of weeks at Shepperton playing Evelyn Trimble’s uncredited chauffeur. Almost hidden away in the background was 17-year-old Caroline Munro as a guard girl. She was working for the Lucie Clayton modelling agency when the opportunity arose to become an extra in the film. Another decade would pass before Munro progressed to playing the villainess Naomi in the Eon Productions’ Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me.
Paco Rabanne supervising the fitting of his Guard Girl designed costume
on model Julie Bevan with costume designer Julie Harris.
German actress Molly Ringwald who worked under the name of
Marilyn Rickard (though uncredited in Casino Royale) as a Guard Girl
I think the subject matter will appeal to a cross section of readers including Bond fans and anyone with an interest in detailed film production, spy films or the swinging sixties, plus enthusiasts of Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, Orson Welles and David Niven.
Overall this book outlines the story of a major blockbuster film which got out of control to become one of the most complicated productions ever filmed and the most bizarre James Bond film. I can also picture people sitting there watching the film and trying to identify the uncredited extras listed in the book, plus using the production schedule to work out where specific scenes were filmed.
Additionally, the book also reports on the long list of personalities who were supposed to appear in Casino Royale and for whatever reasons did not, including an actor who later assumed the role of Bond for Eon Productions....but you'll have to read the book to discover more!
Mike, on behalf of The Nice Rooms, many thanks for the interview.
The Making Of Casino Royale by Michael Richardson
"The most detailed and comprehensive account ever published of the making of the most bizarre James Bond film ever!"
Published by Telos Movie Classics # 2
Available to order at: Telos Publishing