Britney to be the 21st Bond girl?

Casino Royale, the 21st Bond film, is due to start filming in July. With the media speculating as to whom will fill Pierce Brosnan's shoes as 007 and with British favourites like Colin Farrell, Clive Owen and Jude Law tipped to play the MI5 agent, many have forgotten about the most infamous female lead in the film industry, the Bond girl.

Set when James Bond is in his 20s, the story of Casino Royale is based on a young Bond's journey to join MI5 and focuses on the struggles of a young man trying to make it as the famous spy we know today. "In the new film, Bond is essentially starting out in his career, and has just recently become part of the double-0 section," says Director Micheal Campbell, who is finishing "The Legend of Zorro," the sequel to "The Mask of Zorro."

The lead female role is Bond's love interest and fellow spy, Vesper. The question that is lingering over the head of Campbell (who has directed another Bond film, "Goldeneye") is whom this role will go too. Hot British favourites are "Pirates of the Carribean" actress Keira Knightley and "Mask of Zorro" star Catherine Zeta-Jones. Although, it's rumoured that the production team on Casino Royale are searching for someone a little different than your run-of-the-mill, everyday actress. Campbell and casting director Ian Redman are looking elsewhere, namely the US music industry for a new, fresh, fiesty face to front the new Bond saga.

"This Bond is going to be completely different to what you've seen before. We've really re-invented Bond this time. Given the franchise a complete make over. So, we wanted the woman we picked for the role of Vesper to reflect that. That's why we are looking into having a young US singer for the role", says producer Andrea Brocelli. According to reports, scripts have found their way into the hands of several ladies over the past month, including US R'n'B star Ashanti, "Be Cool" star Christina Milian and even pop princess Britney Spears. Other actresses that are being considered for the role are "Kill Bill" star Uma Thurman, Jennifer Lopez, Liv Tyler and Brittany Murphy.

At the moment, the production team are finalising scripts for Casino Royale and auditioning possible contenders for the roles. The full cast (including the new Bond and Bond girl) are set to be unveiled at a special launch show in London on April 12th. With the film set to hit cinemas in October 2006.

- MovieWeb/New York Daily News