Bond fansite MI-6HQ reports that producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli have met with the Turkish Culture and Tourism MinisterErtugrul Günay, finalizing plans to bring the production to Istanbul to film a portion of the movie amounting to ten to fifteen minutes of screentime. Günay confirmed, saying, "The opening scenes are planned to be filmed in Istanbul, but some other places will also be used outside Istanbul for the film."
The production has already selected the city's historical neighborhood of Sultanahmet Square for filming, and Günay explained, "There are, however, a number of locations, including the waterside and shores of the Bosporus, in consideration for the 10-15 minutes of the movie that is to be filmed in Turkey."
A "small pre-production crew" is at work in the city already, and among their tasks is finding a Turkish actress to portray "a villain's girlfriend."
Craig will be the third 007 to visit Istanbul, following Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan in From Russia With Love and The World is Not Enough, respectively. "It really just feels like we are coming home," said Broccoli of the city.
Now for word on who might be the latest Bond mistress. According to Twitchfilm, French television-turned-film actress Berenice Marlohe has been cast as one of James' many, many conquests. Marlohe is currently filming the French comedy Un bonheur n’arrive jamais seul, which also stars Sophie Marcaeu, who played the customary villainous Bond Girl in The World is Not Enough.
If the rumor of her casting is true, Marlohe would join returning castmembers Daniel Craig and Judi Dench, reprising her role as M. Javier Bardem will portray the villain, with Ralph Fiennes as a character about whom we know next to nothing. Over the summer, we learned that Naomie Harris was selected to play franchise staple Miss Moneypenny in the rebooted Bond continuity that began with 2006's Casino Royale. Oscar-winning American Beauty, Road to Perdition, and Away We Go director Sam Mendes is stepping into the blockbuster arena to direct Bond 23. The screenplay includes contributions from Bond standbys Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, as well as Oscar-nominee John Logan.
Bond 23 is currently scheduled for Stateside release on November 9, 2012. With production getting underway in the next month, expect more official news in the near future.