Hard as it is to believe, today marks the tenth anniversary of Casino Royale’s Leicester Square premiere. Here I revisit my experience of that day.
The world premiere of any Bond film is a huge event. However, with a new actor playing 007 and a change in direction for the series, there was a huge sense of anticipation leading up to Casino Royale.
Befittingly the film received a triple premiere in London’s Leicester Square, with the audience divided between the Empire, the Odeon West End and the Odeon Leicester Square. It was at the latter where principal cast and crew were introduced to the Queen and Prince Phillip.
In the central area premiere attendees trod one of three differently coloured carpets, each of which lead to one of the three cinemas. I attended the Odeon West End screening thanks to my friends at MI6, and wrote about the experience here.
The square was a flurry of activity starting the day before the premiere. The central area was cordoned off by fencing draped with Casino Royale branded tarpaulin (how about that as a collectable?) with an Aston Martin DBS as the centrepiece.
With a new actor in the role the UK capital was abuzz with Bond fever and I found myself tripping over camera crews from around the world all over the place. Then, around midday on Tuesday 14th November 2006, eager fans were allowed to start their long wait for the arrival of the stars.
After meeting MI6’s James Page to collect my tickets I headed off to meet my brother. We changed into black tie then met for a drink and pre-premiere dinner with assorted Bond fans, including a group from America. Everyone I spoke to was tremendously excited ahead of the new film. For most people it didn’t disappoint.
Afterwards I walked across Leicester Square to the post-premiere rendezvous and was stopped by people eager to know what I thought of Casino Royale and if it was any good. After that was more excited bar chatter and the sense that Casino Royale dawned a new era for James Bond.