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Last Updated: Friday, 17 February 2006, 16:55 GMT
French star is Bond leading lady
Eva Green
Green starred in Ridley Scott's epic Kingdom of Heaven
French actress Eva Green will be the female lead in the new James Bond movie, Casino Royale.

The 25-year-old will play femme fatale Vesper Lynd in the movie, which will also see Daniel Craig's first performance as the suave secret agent.

Producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said: "After an extensive search we found the perfect actress."

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen will play Bond's nemesis, Le Chiffre. Work on the movie is already under way in Prague.

'Enigmatic and seductive'

Syriana star Jeffrey Wright will play CIA agent Felix Leiter.

Green, 25, made her film debut in 2003 in The Dreamers, about a French brother and sister who befriend a young American during the Paris student riots of 1968.

Last year she starred in Ridley Scott's historical drama Kingdom of Heaven.

"She brings to the complex role of Vesper an exciting combination of enigmatic and seductive beauty," said Wilson and Broccoli.

Eva Green
It takes much more than beauty to make this role work
Amy Pascal,
Columbia Pictures chairman
Casino Royale, directed by Martin Campbell, is based on the 1953 novel by Ian Fleming which introduced James Bond.

Columbia Pictures chairman Amy Pascal said: "Vesper is a pivotal role in Casino Royale and it takes much more than beauty to make this role work."

Ms Pascal said that, in addition to action and espionage, "the great James Bond adventures" contain "palpable sexual tension".

"In casting Vesper, we really needed to up the ante, because this character is very much an equal to Bond and central to our story," she said.

The most recent Bond film, Die Another Day, saw Pierce Brosnan paired with Halle Berry and took more than $425m (245m) worldwide after its release in 2002.

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