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'Royale' Pain: New Bond Girl, Villain Missing

Sony's "Casino Royale" kicked off its long-anticipated production in Prague on Friday. Although the globe-spanning shoot has locked down exotic locales and an intrigue-laden script, at least two things are still missing: a leading lady and a worthy opponent for Agent 007.

Although it isn't unprecedented for a studio to begin principal photography on a film with two major cast elements unsettled, it is unusual for a project of this budget and scope. However, a source familiar with the Martin Campbell-helmed production said scenes involving James Bond's love interest don't begin for more than a month, and the studio still has some breathing room before compromising the film's schedule.

"They're talking to three to four girls right now," "Royale" scribe Paul Haggis said. "Every week I read there's a new Bond girl, and I call them and they say, No, you idiot."

Daniel Craig was cast as Bond in October, leaving the remainder of the cast a mystery. In recent days, Rachel McAdams and Thandie Newton have emerged as possible Bond girls. An insider said casting of the villain is much further along than that of the female star.

One agent familiar with the film's casting said Sony is in an unenviable position because anyone the studio chooses will have leverage during negotiations because of the ticking clock.

"To be that exposed is unheard of," the agent said. "(The actor or actress) can have them over a barrel. Not to have your two principal leads (by now) is awfully strange."

Tatiana Siegel and Borys Kit write for The Hollywood Reporter.

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