Director Martin Campbell is going back to the beginning for "Casino Royale," based on the first Bond adventure written by Ian Fleming in 1953 - a novel that has nothing to do with the 1967 spoof starring David Niven and Woody Allen.
"There are things that will have to be changed from the original novel," says Campbell. "The Cold War elements will have to be reconfigured, for example, but 'Casino Royale' will be a grittier, tougher and more realistic Bond movie.
"We'll be getting away from the huge visual effects kind of films." Bond's last movie, "Die Another Day," featured an invisible car and a killer satellite.
"In the new film, Bond is essentially starting out in his career, and has just recently become part of the double-0 section," says Campbell, who is finishing "The Legend of Zorro," the sequel to "The Mask of Zorro."
"The idea is to put a bit of the dash back in Bond. By the end of the movie, the character will have been forged into the wiser, harder Bond we know."
In the novel, Bond falls in love with Vesper Lynd, the agent assigned to help him defeat Le Chiffre, a KGB agent who has a weakness for gambling. But Lynd is a double agent and Bond's world is shattered.
"The door is open for Bond, emotionally," says Campbell.
"He's in love with Vesper and he sees there's another side to all of this, that life might be far more pleasurable, more gratifying, than being a secret agent. And ultimately that door is slammed in his face, which makes him the tempered steel kind of guy that we know."
At one point, Le Chiffre captures Bond and attempts to torture information out of him. The gruesome scene has Bond at the very brink of castration.
"I don't know what we're going to do about that," says Campbell. "It ranks up there with the teeth-drilling scene in 'Marathon Man.'
"I'm looking forward to humanizing Bond a bit.
"In the novel, Bond smokes 70 cigarettes a day - unbelievable. And he gets a little drunk."