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Producers Argued James Bond Casino Royale Poker Scene Should Be Cut

SlashFilm Details How It Was Decided For 007 To Play Hold’em


Casino Royale may not have the card-playing realism of a poker film like Rounders, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week, but plenty of poker players and action movie fans at least got to see James Bond playing some high-stakes Texas hold’em.

The film derives from author Ian Fleming’s first Bond book from 1953, and sees 007 matching wits at the table against international terrorist financier Le Chiffre. Bond hopes his love interest Vesper Lynd will aid his chances at the table of bankrupting Le Chiffre.

However, director Martin Campbell noted that producers originally wanted the poker scene cut from the film.

“Bond will use every advantage to ensure his victory, and he spies his associate, Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), as an alluring asset,” notes. “Campbell dug this idea, but he also saw Lynd, much like Rigg’s Tracy, as Bond’s equal. This bugged (producer Barbara) Broccoli, particularly in the scene where Bond and Lynd get gussied up for the tournament.”

Casino Royale Bond Enters The Poker Boom

Campbell, along with actor Daniel Craig, brought a new gritty approach to the role of the British secret agent. The Craig films made Bond more of a cold-blooded killer, getting rid of some of the hokum and gadget-driven action of some previous films. Casino Royale also brought a bit of an origin story for the character.

As a gambler in previous films, Bond regularly played baccarat, blackjack, and other games. But the poker boom was underway in 2006 and adding hold’em to Bond’s repertoire seemed like a good idea. But producers had hoped to rid the films of some of the sexism displayed in the past, which produced some disagreement over the scene in question.

“Bond, full of attitude, comes in and hangs up her dress and says, ‘I want you to wear this, because I want the players looking at you and not at their cards. A distracting technique,’” Campbell told authors Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman’s in Nobody Does It Better: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of James Bond.

“It was chauvinist as hell. Then he goes back in and, my God, he sees this beautiful suit laid out. I remember Barbara saying, ‘You can’t have that. You can’t have that. Bond has his own suit.’ I said, ‘But he’s not Bond yet.’”

Winning Hand

Despite Broccoli’s objections, that scene involving Vesper indeed made the final cut. In the film, Bond initially struggles playing against Le Chiffre. But in the key moments, the superspy always comes through – and perhaps his plan paid off.

Spoiler alert, the final hand sees plenty of slow rolling and Le Chiffre’s full house bested by Bond’s unlikely straight flush. The film went on to gross more than $600 million at the box office.

You can watch the poker scene below.

*Film screenshots – Eon Pictures