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About The Sets
Production designer Peter Lamont is no newcomer to the 007 franchise, having worked on 18 Bond films in various roles. For CASINO ROYALE he oversaw an art department spread over four countries – U.K., Czech Republic, Italy and the Bahamas – and the building of more than 40 sets. Not surprisingly, Lamont cites geography as his biggest logistical challenge. "Barrandov Studios in Prague was a good base of operations, with a great workforce and excellent sound stages, but we had to keep Martin Campbell up to date on all the other sets around the world.”

The most difficult set to create, says Lamont, was the interior of the Venetian house, where Bond follows Vesper and Gettler in an attempt to rescue Vesper. While the interior of the house and the piazza leading to it were built on the 007 stage at Pinewood Studios, the exterior of the house was shot in Venice, on the Grand Canal opposite the Rialto Market. Although the Venetian authorities were persuaded to permit the production to sink compression pipes into the canal to simulate water spouting as the house sank, and to stop normal canal traffic for short intervals of time, their generosity didn't extend to allowing one of their grand palazzos to be destroyed and plunged into the canal. Instead, a model of the sinking house was constructed in the Paddock Tank at Pinewood.

"During the building process at Pinewood, the whole thing became more complicated, as the decision was taken that the house would not just sink vertically, but would need another axis to move the building from side to side as it sank. Chris Corbould and his special effects team built a fantastic rig for us.”

Other sets were also combinations of interior sets built in one location and exterior locations in another country. The first scene shot, the Nambutu Embassy chase, was at a set in a studio in Modrany, outside Prague. "It was complicated – Bond moves through the Embassy pursuing and capturing Mollaka, running along corridors and into offices and jumping out of a window into the compound, where he sets off a huge explosion. The beginning of that scene was shot later in the Bahamas, where he follows Mollaka to the Embassy from the building site.”

Another multiple set was that of the Casino Royale itself, situated in Montenegro in the script. The production scouted around Trieste and along the coast of Croatia to create it. "We could find the broad, tree-lined boulevards we wanted, but no grand hotels exist there yet, and we needed imposing buildings for the Casino and Hotel Splendide exteriors,” says Lamont. "Karlovy Vary was the first place we looked in the Czech Republic, and that's where we ended up shooting the Hotel Splendide exterior and lobby, and the Casino Royale exterior and public gambling room, with the Salon Privé and hotel bedrooms being built at Barrandov Studios.”

The production transformed an abandoned turn-of-the-century spa into the Casino Royale. "Lazne 1 had all its spa fittings ripped out years ago and has been used by films before, but it was in a bad state. We worked with the local conservation people to restore the staircase and statues in the building. We told them what we wanted and paid for the work to be done, so we left the building in a much better state than it had been for years.” The Grand Hotel Pupp, a local landmark, became the Hotel Splendide with changes of signs and the addition of a canopy and some luscious plants.

Filming in Venice presents its own problems, not the least of which is the fact that the city's fabled canals dictate that everything must be moved by boat or by foot. Fortunately, only one set had to be built in the ancient Italian city. "In St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco), we were allowed to use an empty building as the bank where Bond looks for Vesper. Of course, it is one of the busiest tourist destination

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