By Humphrey Carter
THE hunt is officially on for a new James Bond actor and one of the leading Bond film directors Guy Hamilton, who lives in Andratx, told the Bulletin yesterday that Clive Owen is “a strong candidate.” The next James Bond instalment is going to be “Casino Royale” based on Ian Fleming's first novel about the suave British spy with a license to kill.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. said yesterday that film-maker Martin Campbell has signed on to direct the 21st Bond movie, paving the way for casting to succeed Pierce Brosnan, 51, as the star of the multibillion-dollar film franchise.

Campbell directed Brosnan in his debut as Bond in the 1995 film “GoldenEye.” Hamilton, who has lived in Andratx for many years, directed “The Spy Who Loved Me” in 1977, “The Man With The Golden Gun” in 1974, “Live and Let Die” in 1973, “Diamonds Are Forever” in 1971 and “Goldfinger” in 1964.

His other movie credits include “The Colditz Story,” “The Battle of Britain,” “Force 10 from Navarone,” and “Evil Under The Sun.” While he refused to be drawn on tipping one of the rumoured candidates, the word is that the new Bond is likely to be either Colin Farrell, Pierce Brosnan's nominee, Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law, Eric Bana or Clive Owen, Hamilton does approve of the decision to make “Casino Royale.” It also was the title of a feature spoof of the Bond stories released by Columbia Pictures in 1967 starring Peter Sellers, Woody Allen and David Niven. “It is not a remake, it was never done properly in the first place. The one starring Peter Sellers and co. was a real mess. The film had nothing to do with the book nor Bond. “I consider this a step in the right direction for Bond. “If he is to survive, he cannot compete with the huge ‘bang-bang' big-budget action films coming out of the States, with Casino Royale I think the movie producers are going back to basics with Bond and I think that's a very sound idea,” he said. “I think Pierce Brosnan has done a very good job as Bond and I really do not know who the new one wil be: I can't really comment as Bond has changed so much since I was involved, but Clive Owen is a sound option.

In a message posted on his official Web site ( this week, the Irish-born actor bid farewell to the role he inhabited in four films over nearly a decade, saying, “everything comes to an end.” “I think the producers will be looking for a good young actor as opposed to a bankable name, they know it's going to be difficult to get an established name to sign up to five Bond films over the next six or seven years,” he said.

Hamilton favoured a young Burt Reynolds when he was directing the Bond films, but the producers did not like the idea of an American Bond and chose Roger Moore.

Production on “Casino Royale,” slated for release in 2006, will start as soon as the New Zealand-born Campbell wraps up filming on his sequel to “The Mask of Zorro,” MGM said. “I like Campbell's work very much, he's a very good director and did an excellent job in ‘GoldenEye' and will do a good job on this,” Hamilton said. “Casino Royale” is being adapted from the 1953 Fleming novel that introduced the Bond character.
MGM acquired the title and rights to “Casino Royale” in a settlement with Columbia's corporate parent, Sony Pictures Entertainment. MGM is now in the process of being sold to a group of companies led by Sony Corp.

The Bond franchise is one of MGM's biggest assets.
The most recent Bond film alone, 2002*s “Die Another Day,” grossed more than $425 million in ticket sales worldwide.


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