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Swiss gets licence to shoot next Bond film

Marc Forster said no to Harry Potter but yes to 007 Reuters

Marc Forster, the critically acclaimed Swiss director, has signed on to bring James Bond's next adventure to the big screen.

This content was published on June 20, 2007 - 15:57

Forster will direct the untitled 22nd film in the lucrative franchise from a script he and Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis will develop from a draft by previous Bond collaborators.

"I have always been drawn to different kinds of stories and I have also always been a Bond fan, so it is very exciting to take on this challenge," Forster said in a statement.

"The new direction that the Bond character has taken offers a director a host of fresh possibilities," he added.

Last year's Casino Royale, the first to feature "Blond Bond" Daniel Craig after four films with Pierce Brosnan, took a grittier and more realistic angle and introduced emotional chinks in Bond's armour.

Forster's films include last year's Will Ferrell comedy Stranger Than Fiction, Monster's Ball, which won Halle Berry the Best Actress Academy Award, and Finding Neverland, which was nominated for Best Picture.

"[Forster] is an actor's director," said Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures. "He approaches material with intelligence and taste. What makes him the perfect choice for Bond 22 is that he will bring to this film all the elements Bond audiences expect: action, humour, suspense and thrills."

Shooting on the film is set to begin in London in December and the finished product is due to hit global screens on November 7, 2008.

Daniel Craig will return to the main role following his successful debut as the British superspy in Casino Royale, a hit with critics that became the top-grossing Bond movie of all time with nearly $600 million (SFr742 million) worldwide on a budget of around $130 million.

Half-Swiss

Although Forster will be the first Swiss to direct an episode of the Bond franchise, Britain's most famous spy has plenty of ties to Switzerland.

Author Ian Fleming made Bond half-Swiss, with his mother coming from canton Vaud, and the country has also been a location seven times in three films.

Perhaps the most famous was the revolving restaurant on top of the Schilthorn in the Bernese Oberland, which was used as the secret lair of Bond's archenemy Ernst Blofeld in On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1968.

The Verzasca dam in canton Ticino was used for the spectacular opening sequence of 1995's GoldenEye, in which Bond – or rather a stuntman – bungee jumps off the 220-metre construction.

However, Switzerland's most famous contribution to the legend is probably female. Filmgoers everywhere are unlikely to forget the image of Bern's Ursula Andress emerging from the sea in a white bikini in Bond's first cinematic outing, Dr No.

The Swiss can be expected to turn out in droves to see Forster's effort. Of the 15 best-selling films ever in Switzerland, five are Bond – the most popular being last year's Casino Royale, which sold just under 850,000 tickets.

swissinfo with agencies

Movie man

Marc Forster was born in Germany in 1969. The son of a Swiss doctor and a German architect, he grew up in Davos in eastern Switzerland.

In 1990 he headed for New York, attending New York University's film school and making several documentaries.

In 1995 he moved to Hollywood. His first motion picture was the psychological drama Everything Put Together (2000), which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

Forster's breakthrough was the drama Monster's Ball (2001), for which Halle Berry won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

His next film, Finding Neverland (2004), was nominated for five Golden Globes and seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor.

His most recent film is Stranger Than Fiction. Currently, he is post-production on The Kite Runner, which takes place in Afghanistan.

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