The film is Kleinman’s fifth collaboration with the franchise, which began when he created the opening sequence for Golden Eye, back in 1995. For this one, Kleinman went back to basics.
“Each title sequence has to reflect the tone of the film,” he says. “Because this is the story of Bond’s first mission, it’s really about him being James Bond before 007. He’s a Bond in the making, so there were some elements that weren’t appropriate. For example, there are no girls in it because that isn’t the character he’s become yet. The dancing girl is such an iconographic image, everyone associates it with James Bond, it has always been included in the title sequence. But it just wasn’t right, so that’s probably one of the biggest changes.”
Casino Royale was Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel, and Kleinman was partly inspired by the original cover of the book, which was designed by the author himself. “It has a retro look, quite simple and graphic. I used that as the starting point for all the card sequences.” Another influence was the simplicity of Saul Bass’s classic film titles for the likes of The Man With The Golden Arm; Kleinman shot the sequence using a “rough rotoscoping technique” where he filmed live footage and created the animation from that. “It gives it a Saul Bass simplicity and edginess, but they move in a sophisticated way even though they’re quite naïve.”
Despite the changes introduced in this sequence, Kleinman acknowledges that some aspects of Bond are untouchable, however. “There are always elements one can’t take away,” he says. “People have expectations of what they want to see. You don’t want Bond to go into a bar and ask for a Bacardi Breezer.”