Film stars mingled with royals at the world premiere of "Spectre" on Monday, marking British secret agent James Bond's glitzy return to the silver screen.
Hundreds of cheering fans greeted Bond actor Daniel Craig upon arrival at London's Royal Albert Hall, where residents from nearby buildings watched the premiere from their windows.
Returning for the fourth time as 007, Craig said his own excitement at being allowed to continue in the series stemmed from his involvement beyond acting. "I've just been allowed to be creatively involved with these films from the very beginning and I've continued to do it with this," he said. "Thankfully we've just got the most amazing team around us and we figure it out." Craig has been quoted as saying he wanted out of the franchise and told an interviewer in July he would rather slit his wrists than play 007 again. Asked how much he knew of his future as Bond, Craig told Reuters: "I know enough".
He was joined on the red carpet by co-stars Lea Seydoux and Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes, director Sam Mendes and movie producer Barbara Broccoli who later welcomed Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate and Prince Harry to the premiere. "It's incredible how James Bond represents so much, not just in England but all over the world," Bellucci said.
Trailers have shown action-packed scenes typical of Bond movies as 007 uncovers the shady Spectre organisation, and its dark link to villain Franz Oberhauser, played by Oscar winner Christoph Waltz.
Spectre has stood as an acronym for the Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion in past Bond films. "It's a terrible pressure to be iconic and I practised it at home secretly," Waltz said. "Spectre", the 24th James Bond film, is released in UK cinemas on Monday and worldwide in early November.