(Photo: Vera Anderson/WireImage, Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images, George Pimentel/WireImage, Jay Maidment/MGM)
Daniel Craig faced some stiff competition back in 2005 when he ultimately won the role of James Bond in "Casino Royale." But as strong as the contenders for the new 007 were, the fight to be his leading lady was, and continues to be, just as intense.
When producers first began searching for an actress to play the role of Bond's love Vesper Lynd in "Casino Royale," some big names were rumored to be in the mix. Angelina Jolie was approached, but she turned it down. Jolie was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying, "They wanted me to play a Bond girl in 'Casino Royale.' 'I said, "Actually, I'd prefer to play him; I'd rather be Bond." Charlize Theron and Rachel McAdams were two other A-list names who were rumored to be considered for the role.
The search then expanded to other actresses who were lesser known names at the time, but have since gone on to bigger things. Olivia Wilde was mostly known for her TV work when she auditioned for the role. She told Total Film she desperately wanted to work with Daniel Craig in the movie: "I screen-tested for that and I wanted it so badly." She didn't get the part of Vesper, but she did get to share the screen with Craig six years later in "Cowboys & Aliens." She said, "I'm happy it didn't work out because we wouldn't have been able to do this, and I think he agreed that this was a better pairing for us."
Vera Farmiga was also in contention for Vesper. She told The New York Times that the relationship between Bond and Vesper in the script interested her enough to fly to London to audition. She said, "He never really got over her, and those emotions started to interest me." Farmiga called the process of auditioning for such a high-profile movie was "like visiting some other acting stratosphere." She said for her test the costumers gave her "the same kind of fake breasts that Angelina Jolie wore in the first 'Tomb Raider' film." Farmiga laughingly recalled the audition as "fun in the end... But I also knew I wouldn't get the part." Farmiga went on to work with Leonardo DiCaprio the next year in Martin Scorsese's "The Departed."
It took so long to find the right Vesper, director Martin Campbell told Movieweb that he had already begun shooting before Eva Green was officially given the role. Campbell said he was impressed by her role in Ridley Scott's "Kingdom of Heaven," even though much of her performance was edited out of the theatrical version. But he responded to the extended director's cut on DVD.
Green herself had trepidations about pursuing the part of a Bond girl. She told Superhero Hype that she initially turned down the chance to audition. When producers came back to her some time later, she had to fly back-and-forth to Prague twice to screen test. After her second test with Daniel Craig, she won the role and almost immediately had to jet off to the Bahamas to being filming.
Watch Eva Green in a clip from 'Casino Royale':
It all worked out for Green, of course. She won the Rising Star Award at the 2007 BAFTAs for her performance in "Casino Royale." She was last seen in Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" this past summer, and she has a leading role in next year's "300: Rise of an Empire."
Daniel Craig is joined by two new Bond girls in his upcoming outing, "Skyfall": Naomie Harris and Berenice Marlohe. Though Marlohe has said she takes some exception to being referred to as a "girl." She told Bleeding Cool, "Honestly, I consider myself as a Bond Beast."
[Related: Find showtimes and tickets for 'Skyfall']
"Skyfall" is in theaters on Friday.
Watch the new Bond girls in clips from 'Skyfall':