While it might seem unlikely, 2006’s James Bond adventure Casino Royale could have seen Britney Spears play a role in Daniel Craig’s 007 debut. The James Bond franchise has never been averse to stunt casting. While Halle Berry and Rosamund Pike were the primary love interests in Pierce Brosnan’s final 007 adventure (with Pike playing a Die Another Day role written for Alicia Silverstone), pop superstar Madonna also appeared as a fencing trainer in the James Bond franchise outing.
However, Brosnan’s James Bond movies were campy and playful, so it is no surprise to see that Die Another Day cast Madonna much like the similarly over-the-top Roger Moore outing A View To A Kill gave Grace Jones a pivotal role decades earlier. What is much more surprising is the fact that Casino Royale, 2006’s grounded, gritty reinvention of the James Bond franchise, almost cast Britney Spears in a similar role. The pop icon met with producers in 2004, although reports indicate that this was a courtesy meeting, and it is worth noting that Casino Royale didn’t even have a completed script drafted at this stage (via MI6 HQ).
While it is hard to imagine Britney Spears appearing in the brutal, intense Casino Royale, which ended up being one of the darkest entries into the James Bond franchise to date, the timing of her meeting with producers is an important factor. Spears met with producers in 2004 when Casino Royale did not yet have a script or a star, and this was only two short years after Die Another Day’s stellar box-office success. The final Pierce Brosnan Bond movie was dismissed by critics but succeeded financially, meaning producers may not have decided to take the series in a darker direction yet and Spears could have worked in a sillier, campier Bond outing.
Spears lost out on a role in Casino Royale for much the same reason that later Daniel Craig movies ended up recasting everyone from Q to Miss Moneypenny, to Bond’s boss M. The Craig era saw the James Bond franchise start taking itself much more seriously, investing in the character’s backstory and giving him a less comedic screen persona. As such, the presence of a star like Spears would have taken viewers out of these more grounded James Bond outings and reminded fans of earlier, sillier 007 adventures, thus undoing this tonal shift. Of course, there might be another reason that Spears never played a Bond girl.
There is no way of knowing whether Spears wanted to meet with the James Bond franchise’s producers to contribute an acting role to one of the movies in the series or to sing a Bond theme song. The Daniel Craig James Bond era’s darker tone would have likely led producers to turn down the offer either way, but Spears singing the title song of a 007 movie would have been much less distracting than the musician appearing in the Bond movie itself. Regardless, the creators of Casino Royale politely declined the offer of a song, a role, or both, and the James Bond franchise still hasn’t featured an appearance from the pop music legend.
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