This month on COL Movies, At home we’ve watch Monsters Inc, End of Watch, Sinister, and Rise of the Guardians. In the Theater, we’re watching Oz: The Great and Powerful, Jack The Giant Slayer, and Warm Bodies. The boys also talk about the trailers for The Wolverine, World War Z, and The Conjuring. All this and more on this, the 132nd reel of COL Movies.
In this reel of COL Movies its a Spy Filled episode as we celebrate the return of the Bond Franchise and it’s 50th anniversary with not one, but two Bond films.. first up for the past it’s 1981’s Roger Moore helmed “For Your Eyes Only” And for the present we take a look at the long awaited “Skyfall”. For the Future we are going to look at another film we have been hearing about for a long time. “World War Z” Set for release in Summer of 2013. All this plus some news about the Villain in the upcoming Thor Sequel on this the 129th Reel of COL Movies: “What did you expect, an exploding pen?”
The Past: For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Rotten Tomatoes 73% Fresh; 62% Audience
Director: John Glen
Starring: Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol
This was the first Bond film to be based on one of Ian Fleming’s short stories (instead of one of his novels). Interestingly, there are several scenes in this film lifted from other Fleming tales. Examples: The assault on the smugglers’ boat and warehouse is lifted intact from a short story entitled “Risico”, and the sequence featuring Bond and Melina being dragged through the coral is actually lifted from the climax from the book, “Live and Let Die”. The Identigraph appeared in slightly different form in the book, “Goldfinger”.
The title song is the first in the Bond series in which we see the person who is singing, in this case Sheena Easton. The song was a Top 10 hit in both the UK charts (#8) and US charts (#4, 25 July 1981). It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song, and was featured in a song and dance number at the Oscars on 29 March 1982. It featured dancers dressed as villains and henchman such as Dr. No and Ernst Stavro Blofeld as well as the real Harold Sakata and real Richard Kiel reprising their roles as Oddjob and Jaws respectively. A dancer played James Bond and at the end of the sequence he took off in a rocket with Sheena Easton who had been singing the title song live. This was just one of a medley of five song and dance numbers for each Best Song nominee on the night and it also acted as a preamble to the presentation by Roger Moore of the Irving Thalberg Honorary Award to ‘Albert R Broccoli’ in honour of the James Bond movie series. Starting with this film and the rise of the MTV Generation, all Bond films have had music video tie-ins.
The voice of the Man in Wheelchair (unofficially Ernst Stavro Blofeld) in one of the movie’s trailers is different to the voice of the character in the actual movie.
Carole Bouquet had previously visited the set of Moonraker as the actress is French and interiors and some exteriors of that movie were filmed in Paris, France. She was remembered when it came to casting this movie. Two actors in the movie had previously appeared in the James Bond spoof Casino Royale. John Hollis (Bald Man in wheelchair aka unofficially Ernst Stavro Blofeld) played a monk whilst John Wells (Dennis Thatcher) was Q’s assistant Fordise.
The name of the underwater apparatus that confronts James Bond with a man inside whilst they were in the Neptune submarine is called a JIM Suit, named after its creator Jim Jarratt.
“For Your Eyes Only” was the first collection of Ian Fleming James Bond short stories and was first published on 11 April 1960. The collection was subtitled “Five Secret Occasions in the life of James Bond” and was the eighth James Bond book. It included the short stories “The Hildebrand Rarity”, “Quantum of Solace”, “From A View To A Kill”, “Risico” and “For Your Eyes Only”. These stories were originally conceived in the 1950s as scripts for a never-produced James Bond TV series. The last two of these provided material for the film along with some story elements from the novels “Goldfinger” and “Live And Let Die”. Fleming’s working title for the “For Your Eyes Only” story was “Man’s Work” whilst its title when it was written as a TV episode for CBS was “Rough Justice” then as “Death Leaves an Echo”.
When shooting the still for the movie’s main poster, photographer Morgan Kane allegedly asked his model to put the bathers on backwards as they hung too low over her legs. After the poster had been released, some newspaper editors felt that there was too much buttock shown in the poster. To show less skin, the bathers were extended or shorts were added to the hips in the posters. The original poster caused outrage amongst various groups, causing Saskatchewan, Canada, to rate the film “Special X”, despite being rated PG or equivalent virtually everywhere else. That rating was later lowered. Apparently the model’s identity was not known for some time. More than one model alleged they were the owners of the legs but it was finally revealed they belonged to then 22 year old New York model Joyce Bartle.
It was during this production that Cassandra Harris introduced then husband Pierce Brosnan to producer Albert R. Broccoli.
The literal translations of some of this film’s foreign language titles include Only For Your Eyes (France, Italy, Spain); On A Deadly Mission (Germany); Agent 007: Strict Confidence (Denmark); From A Lethal Viewpoint (Sweden); Top Secret (Finland); 007 For Your Eyes Only (Brazil); Only [strictly] For Your Eyes (Norway) and 007 Only For Your Eyes (Portugal)
The character of the father of Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet), Sir Timothy Havelock played by Jack Hedley, was inspired by oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. He was once personally acquainted with James Bond creator Ian Fleming.
Last EON Productions James Bond movie soley released by United Artists. They would merge with MGM before the release of the next Bond film, Octopussy.
The company Autosafe provided the car alarms stickers for James Bond’s Lotus Esprit which read “BURGLAR PROTECTED”.
Wide public interest in the 1980 Lake Placid USA Winter Olympics was the inspiration for the production to use a Winter Olympics location and to include story action within its associated sports. The film used the Italian Alps location of Cortina D’Ampezzo which had hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics. As such, there are sequences set at Cortina D’Ampezzo’s Winter Olympic venues. Winter sports featured in the film include the biathlon, ski jump, ice hockey, downhill skiing, ice skating, cross-country skiing and bobsled toboggan run. Cast member Lynn-Holly Johnson (now Givens) was a professional ice skater, noticed by Albert R. Broccoli for her turn at acting in Ice Castles. Her character in the film was an aspiring Winter Olympic medalist funded by Aristotle Kristatos.
Director John Glen had previously edited and was second-unit director on a number of previous Bond films.
This was the first James Bond script to be written by regular James Bond writing duo team Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson. This writing partnership would continue until Licence to Kill. It was also the first James Bond movie directed by John Glen whose first Bond movie he worked on was On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as second unit director.
Director John Glen estimated that every foot of film shot during the attempted drowning of Melina and Bond by Kristatos cost about £ 2,700 UK pounds.
The name of the Jamaican Bond girl Judy Havelock in the “For Your Eyes Only” short story was changed to Greek Bond girl Melina Havelock in the film. The Cuban Major Hector Gonzales also comes from this short story. The Lisl Baum character from the “Risico” short story also had a name change to Contessa (Countess) Lisl Von Schlaf for the movie. The Aristotle Kristatos and Columbo (“The Dove”) character names also come from “Risico,” but Henrico Colombo was an Italian in the book – the movie changed him to Milos Columbo, a Greek.
A major problem occurred during production which threatened to stop the filmmakers filming. The monks who lived in the monastery on top of the Meteora Mountain placed sheets and plastic on top of the roofs and external infrastructure so as to halt filming. They allegedly did not like the violence associated with James Bond. Reportedly, Roger Moore told them that he had once been a Saint! [See: The Saint]. A special hearing of the Greek Supreme Court was convened where a panel of judges decreed that the monks only had rights over the interiors of the mountain-top monastery but the exteriors were the domain of the people and the local government. The film crew were eventually able to film at the location which included a gigantic fall by stuntman Rick Sylvester. They did not actually film inside the monastery (known as St. Cyril’s in the film) but built a set on top of a neighboring rock for some of the hideout’s exteriors. The interiors were filmed back at Pinewood Studios on a set designed by Peter Lamont.
Product placements, brand integrations and promotional tie-ins for this movie include Olin Skis; Bogner Ski Suits; Seiko Time (U.K.) including the Seiko H357 Duo Display & Seiko 7549-7009 watches; Diner’s Club; Philips Industries; Garmont Boots; Mitsui Yamaha UK Motorbikes; Tyrolia Ski Bindings; Visa Card; Lotus Cars, S.A.; Automobile Citroën; American Express; Kelloggs; Interflora Florists; Scubapro Diving Equipment; Jewel Water Buggies; Osel Mantis one-man submersibles; Perry Oceanographic submarines; and Normalair-Garrett (NGL) Deep Dive 55 sea diving helmets, wet-suits and breathing equipment including the Deep-Dive 500 lift support system.
It was an early intention of the production to put James Bond in a scene with Greece’s classic architectural building, The Parthenon. Old world architecture had previously been a backdrop for Bond in From Russia with Love (Istanbul and The Basilica Cistern) and The Spy Who Loved Me (Cairo and The Pyramids). But in this case permission was refused to film at The Parthenon.
Topol suggested to producer Albert R. Broccoli that he invite former co-producer Harry Saltzman to the Premiere and he did, marking the first reunion between the two men since their break up after The Man with the Golden Gun.
Topol was injured when he was hit by flying debris during the dockside action sequence.
Regular James Bond film production designer Ken Adam did not work on the movie because he had gone to work in Hollywood on Herbert Ross’s musical, Pennies from Heaven.
A line of dialogue had to be cut from the opening helicopter sequence due to legal reasons involving Kevin McClory. The bald man could not be called Blofeld as Kevin McClory had won a court case some years previous and owned the rights to the use of SPECTRE and Blofeld. Disposing of Blofeld so early was producer Albert R. Broccoli’s way of telling McClory that the success of 007 did not depend on him. McClory later released a rival Bond movie, Never Say Never Again, featuring the Blofeld character. Blofeld has not appeared in EON productions since this movie.
Stuntman Paolo Rigoni died during the filming of the bobsled chase.
To enter the identigraph booth, Q enters a five digit code. Those five digits were the first five notes to the chorus of “Nobody Does It Better”, the theme to a previous Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me. James Bond responds by entering the final two notes. See also Moonraker.
One of the Bond girls was played by Caroline Cossey, stage name Tula, who was later revealed to be a male to female transsexual. She appears as one of the poolside girls, in a white bikini.
The character of Countess Lisl was played by Cassandra Harris who, at the time of filming, was married to future Bond actor Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan would be offered the part just five years later but be unable to appear as Bond in The Living Daylights due to Remington Steele commitments.
The assassination of Melina Havelock’s parents was first intended as part of the pre-credits sequence. The reaction shot of the murder was intended to cut to a close-up on her face whereby the look of anger and revenge in her eyes would then segue into the main titles.
In earlier drafts of the script, the chase sequence in the snow had James Bond pursued by bad guys in snowmobiles rather than on motorcycles.
For a time it was believed that Roger Moore would not be returning to the role of James Bond. A round of screen tests for a new James Bond were held and James Brolin, Lambert Wilson and Timothy Dalton were considered. Maryam d’Abo, who would become the Bond Girl Kara Milovy in the later film The Living Daylights, played Tatiana Romanova in the screen tests.
Director John Glen has indicated that for a time it was considered bringing back the Jaws character for a third time but eventually the idea was rejected as it was believed that he did not fit the tone of this film.
The close-ups of Carole Bouquet and Roger Moore for the underwater scenes were actually filmed in a studio with a windfan to produce the effect of floating hair. The scenes were then played in slow motion with the bubbles added in.
Julian Glover, who played Aristotle Kristatos, was a candidate to play James Bond in the sixties and was on the short-list as a possible replacement for Sean Connery and George Lazenby prior to the role going to Roger Moore.
In the opening sequence, James Bond visits his deceased wife’s grave at Stoke Poges Church, adjacent to Gert Fröbe’s golf course from Goldfinger. The scene was written when Roger Moore was considering retirement from the series, to provide story continuity between different Bond actors. Ironically, the teaser scene has absolutely nothing to do with the plot of the movie that follows, leaving it more connected to earlier Bond films than to the one it opens.
The stunt double for Cassandra Harris (Lisl) was injured when hit by the dune buggy in the beach scene.
Topol was cast after Albert R. Broccoli’s wife Dana Broccoli met him at a party.
Emile Locque (Michael Gothard) does not have a single line in this film, although we do see him talk on a phone inside his car at one point. The only sound he makes is he screams when he dies.
At one point, it wasn’t certain that Roger Moore would return. Actors considered for the role of Bond included: Lewis Collins, David Warbeck, Michael Billington, David Robb, Michael Jayston, Nicholas Clay and Ian Ogilvy. Oglivy, like Moore, spent several years playing The Saint on TV (Moore in The Saint, Ogilvy in Return of the Saint), and would years later play a Bond-like character in a TV commercial.
First credited appearance of MI6 Chief of Staff Bill Tanner, played here by James Villiers. The character had previously appeared (played by an uncredited Michael Goodliffe) in The Man with the Golden Gun. The character would be resurrected as a regular in the Brosnan Bond films, played by Michael Kitchen in GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough, and in the Craig Bond films, played by Rory Kinnear in Quantum of Solace and Skyfall.
Steven Spielberg was very much interested in directing a James Bond film and did have talks with Albert R. Broccoli to direct this film, but Broccoli told him he only wanted British directors to helm the Bond series. Shortly afterwards George Lucas offered Spielberg an iconic hero of his own in the form of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Deborah Harry (Blondie) recorded a theme song for this film, which was rejected by the producers. It appears on their 1982 album “The Hunter”. Surprisingly, Sheena Easton and Deborah Harry both appeared together in Body Bags
The reason the underwater close-ups of Carole Bouquet had to be faked was that the actress had sinus trouble that made it impossible for her to dive or remain underwater.
Was originally planned for production and release in 1979 as the follow-up to The Spy Who Loved Me. It was even announced as such in the closing credits of the earlier film. However, it was decided to make Moonraker instead, which delayed production of For Your Eyes Only for several years. Following the release of Moonraker, some newspapers erroneously announced that the next James Bond film would be called “The Sea Wolves”. Roger Moore did make a film entitled The Sea Wolves, but it was not a Bond movie.
Begging Bond to spare his life, Ernst Blofeld baffles viewers with the cryptic line “I’ll buy you a delicatessen, in stainless steel!” It is reported that the phrase is attributable to Albert R. Broccoli, who recalled accounts of 1930s New York mafia gangsters offering full-service delis as a bribe to cohorts, complete with stainless steel countertops.
The following actors are dubbed By Robert Rietty: John Hollis, John Moreno, and John Wyman. Also some small part players are dubbed by Rietty as well.
The film saved United Artists from financial ruin. At the time of the film’s release, the studio was still reeling from Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate, a notorious $40,000,000 bomb that was about to force UA to file bankruptcy. When this film took in a worldwide gross of $194,900,000, the studio was saved and afterwards turned its focus toward blockbusters and less on personal films.
Snow had to be trucked into the ski resort of Cortina.
Charles Dance’s first screen movie role was as the thug Claus in this film. Incidentally, he would later go on to play James Bond author Ian Fleming in Goldeneye.
Hockey jerseys in the rink brawl scenes are exact replicas of the “Montreal Canadiens” and “Toronto Maple Leafs” NHL jerseys at the time, minus the logos.
The helicopter sequence in the pre-credits sequence involves Beckton Gas Works, which Stanley Kubrick converted to Vietnam in 1987 for Full Metal Jacket.
The exploding Lotus at the start of the film was a tacit acknowledgment that Bond would not be relying on fancy gadgets in this film as he had done in the last few entries in the series.
After viewing Flash Gordon, the producers at one time wanted to cast not just Topol (Zarkov) in this film, but also Timothy Dalton (Prince Barin) as Bond and Ornella Muti (Princess Aura) as Melina, even writing the part specifically for her. Dalton eventually became Bond in 1986 after Roger Moore retired from the series.
Greece is the major setting for this movie but it wasn’t for any of the “For Your Eyes Only” short stories. It was however the key setting in the Kingsley Amis James Bond novel “Colonel Sun”.
According to the movie’s CD soundtrack sleeve notes, Composer John Barry could not compose the score for this movie as he allegedly could not return to the UK for taxation purposes.
The story involving the sinking of the ship the St.Georges off the Albanian coast was inspired by an international incident on 11 April 1968 when a Soviet submarine was blown-up and sank in the Pacific Ocean. Seventy personnel died and the US Navy located the wreck using the nautical Glomar Explorer, a mission funded by Howard Hughes, whom the Willard Whyte character in Diamonds Are Forever was based on.
Twelfth James Bond movie in the EON Productions James Bond film series. Fifth James Bond film to star Roger Moore as James Bond. It was the eleventh to feature Q, the tenth to feature Desmond Llewelyn as Q and it was the 14th James Bond movie overall.
Vehicles featured included two Lotus Esprit Turbo 2.2 sportscars, one white and one copper metallic to contrast against the white snow after the other is blown up; a yellow Citroën 2CV fitted out with a Citroën GS 4-cylinder boxer engine for a drive in the country to escape two black Peugeot 504 sedans; black Yamaha XJ 500 and Yamaha 500 XT motorcycles; Hector Gonzales’s black, yellow & white Cessna U206G Stationair Amphibian seaplane; a remote-control Universal Exports red & white Mi6 Augusta / Bell 206B Jet Ranger helicopter; Aris Kristatos’ black Everflex top white Rolls Royce Silver Shadow / Silver Wraith II car; a white two-person Neptune lock-out submersible exploratory mini-submarine; a PZL-3A / PZL Mi-2 / Polish Mil Mi-2 standard Soviet light helicopter; Colombo’s yacht SS Colombina; the archaeological research vessel Triana; a black and yellow one-person atmospheric submersible Osel Mantis mini-submarine; the fishing trawler electronic surveillance spy ship HMS St. Georges containing one ATAC device; Emile Locque’s black Mercedes Benz 280SE; a black GP Beach Buggy; and Aris Kristatos’ motor yacht the Santa Mavra.
The Royal World Premiere of For Your Eyes Only was held on 24 June 1981 at London’s Odeon Leicester Square Theatre in the presence of British Royals Prince Charles and the then Lady Diana Spencer [Princess Diana] of England. The Gala Charity Premiere Benefit was held in aid of the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation. The launch was attended by then future James Bond Pierce Brosnan with then wife Cassandra Harris who had appeared in the film.
Third consecutive James Bond movie which excerpts famous theme music from another movie. The Spy Who Loved Me excerpted the theme from Lawrence of Arabia while Moonraker excerpted the theme from The Magnificent Seven whilst this movie excerpted the theme from Jaws.
The first line of the Ian Fleming James Bond short-story “For Your Eyes Only” read: “The most beautiful bird in Jamaica, and some say the most beautiful bird in the world, is the streamer-tail or doctor humming-bird.” The last line read: “She fell in behind and followed him, and as she walked she pulled the tired bits of golden-rod out of her hair and undid a ribbon and let the pale gold hair fall down to her soldiers.”
When Bibi flirts with Bond (Roger Moore), she states that Aristotle Kristatos (Julian Glover) is much older than Bond. The Kristatos character is also a 1939-1945 War veteran. In fact, Glover was born in 1935 and is eight years younger than Moore.
This movie is one of a handful of action-thriller films made within a five year time-span around the time of the mid to late 1970s that used a Mountaintop Monastery in Greece. The pictures include Sky Riders, Escape to Athena and For Your Eyes Only.
Peter R. Hunt, who directed On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, was approached to direct this movie, but was occupied with making Death Hunt, a film with a similar setting.
The previous Bond film, Moonraker, was a huge financial success but fans and critics complained that the series had become too focused on wild gadgets, outlandish plots, over-the-top villains and screwball comedy. As a result, producers decided to return to a more realistic storyline in ‘For Your Eyes Only’, using previous Bond films From Russia with Love and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as models. Therefore, this film contains many story elements similar to those films; the ATAC is similar to the Lektor, Kriegler is similar to Grant, Columbo is similar to Kerim Bey and the winter sports sequences are similar to those in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The only film in which Bond drinks the traditional Greek apéritif ouzo.
The Operation Undertow file handed to 007 by Tanner is dated 11/80.
The name Melina was something of an homage to Honey Ryder, the Bond Girl from Dr. No, the first movie in the series. Melina is the Greek word for Honey.
Although an accomplished cross-country skier, Moore wasn’t insured to do any downhill skiing. Willy Bogner handled all the skiing for him. Any closeups with Moore were done with him strapped to a sled pulled downhill, while Bognor skied backwards while looking into the camera. Moore tried to learn downhill skiing in Gstaad. His children had school afternoons there and were embarrassed that he kept falling over. But he eventually became quite reasonable at it.
The camera was played at 72 to 84 frames per second, and then played back at 24 frames to simulate underwater inertia when Bond and Melina are dragged along by the boat. The bubbles were added in closeup by simply adding Alka-Seltzer, which were then imposed over the negatives when Bond and Melina opened their mouths.
Roger Moore hated the end scene with Margaret Thatcher. He felt it didn’t suit the seriousness of the rest of the film. He also didn’t like getting a clue about the ATAC from a parrot. Moore thought that’s the type of silliness he usually got accused of.
First and only Bond film in the official series not to feature the M character. It was the first Bond film not to feature Bernard Lee as M, who had played the role in the previous eleven films in the series. Lee died of stomach cancer on January 16, 1981, after the filming of “For Your Eyes Only” had started but before his scenes were shot. Although Bernard Lee was dying of stomach cancer, he did try to film at least one scene in the movie, but in the end it was too much for him and he had to bow out. He died not long after. As a result, Q’s role in the film was slightly expanded to fill the gap. As such, a number of scenes originally intended to include M were re-written with Q, e.g. the confessional scene. As a mark of respect, producer Albert R. Broccoli refused to recast the role, changing the script to say that M was on leave. The tele-movie Climax!: Casino Royale also did not feature the M character.
Roger Moore’s vertigo made the rock-face climax especially hard to do. Moore (I)’ has said that he took a small amount of Valium and drank a glass of tall beer before some of the scary climbing sequences which helped him through the close-up shots. Stunt-man Rick Sylvester performed most of the work. Moore only had to dangle over a 4 foot drop, while Sylvester dangled over a 20 feet drop.
Your First Bond Movie?
Should Blofeld return?
World’s slowest fight scene…underwater
What We Learned:
Car Alarms were for serious back in 1981
Never look a gift Citroen in the mouth..
Before setting out for revenge, always dig two graves.
Greek women always avenge their loved ones.
Jeff: This has always been one of my top favorite bond movies. I’m not sure why, may have to deal with being one of my favorite themes or something. I’m a Bond fan through and through so I’d watch them all. Now I just need them all on Blu-Ray NOW!
Ray: My first Bond movie, not my Favorite but I still love it. Roger Moore will always be “MY” bond.
Steve: Hadn’t watched this one in a while and I remembered why. Snoozefest!! Just so slow for a Bond film and not the excitement I want out of a spy movie. I also got really tired of the female screaming “eek” and “James!” Enough with the damsel in distress bit.
The Present: Skyfall
Rotten Tomatoes 91% Fresh; 91% Audience
Director: Sam Mendes
Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Naomi Harris, Judi Dench
23rd James Bond movie in the EON Productions official series and the 25th theatrically released James Bond film overall if one includes the 1967 “non-Eon” spoof Casino Royale and the unofficial “non-Eon” production Never Say Never Again. And it’s the 26th James Bond film if one counts the TV episode tele-movie Climax!: Casino Royale.
In 50 years of Bond movies, Skyfall is the first film in which James Bond suffers a gunshot wound.
This movie is not a follow-on from the previous two films the way Quantum of Solace followed Casino Royale. Producer Barbara Broccoli said that the series “will go on to other different stories from now on.” However, the appearance of the QUANTUM organization is still likely, but helmed by different villains. Broccoli has also hinted at the possibility of a trilogy, stating: “I think in some way, he will go after the [Quantum] organization. So in that sense, it may become a trilogy, but we haven’t really structured it that way.”
With the use of Quantum of Solace, an original Ian Fleming James Bond story title, for the Bond movie made prior to this, there now remains only four unused original Fleming titles that could possibly have been used as a title for this film. These are “The Property of a Lady”, “The Hildebrand Rarity”, “Risico” and “007 in New York” (aka “Agent 007 in New York”). However, none of these were used, the title being a non-Fleming title ‘Skyfall’.
At one point it was rumored that this film would be shot in New York, even leading to gossip that it would be based on the Fleming short story “007 in New York” and even be titled that; however, it turned out to be untrue and it appears that New York was never under consideration. Other rumors claimed that Israel would be used for several Bond films; that turned out to be false as well. A rumor that filming would take place in India was partially true; they were set to film a number of action scenes in India, but then plans were changed and all location shooting in India was canceled.
Bond Girls in the movie are played by Naomie Harris as Eve; Bérénice Marlohe as Sévérine; Tonia Sotiropoulou as Bond’s Lover; and Elize du Toit as M’s Assistant Vanessa. Actresses Freida Pinto, Olivia Wilde, Rachel Weisz, Esti Ginzburg, Margarita Levieva, Alice Eve, Ana Ventura, Emilia Fox and Ebru Akel were rumored and/or considered to appear as Bond Girls in the movie.
When MGM announced plans to release this film during November 2012, producer Barbara Broccoli said that the series “will go on to other different stories from now on” after the two previous Bond movies. As such, this film is not a direct follow-on from Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale. Director Sam Mendes said that ‘Skyfall’ does “not connect” with those two previous Bond movies. Mendes has also stated that the secret criminal organization Quantum from those two films does not feature in ‘Skyfall’.
Released in 2012 around late October/November, 2012 is the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film series. Previously, Die Another Day was released in the 40th Anniversary year in 2002, Tomorrow Never Dies in the 35th Anniversary Year in 1997, The Living Daylights in the 25th Anniversary Year in 1987 whilst former Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli received the Academy Awards’ Thalberg Award in the 20th Anniversary year in 1982. ‘Skyfall’ world premiered within a couple of weeks of the 50th anniversary of the launch of Dr. No on 05/10/1962. Moreover, a new Bond documentary was made and released to tie-in with and celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the franchise, Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007, it premiering also on 5th October.
‘Skyfall’ and the previous Bond film Quantum of Solace represent the equal second longest period between films in the Bond film franchise. ‘Skyfall’ was released in 2012 after a four year hiatus from Quantum of Solace equaling the 4 year gap between Casino Royale (2006) and Die Another Day (2002). The gap between films also represents the longest gap in the series without a casting change to the actor playing James Bond. Previous hiatuses between Licence to Kill and GoldenEye (the longest period between films in the franchise) and then between Die Another Day and Casino Royale were both accompanied by casting changes to the actor playing James Bond.
Daniel Craig’s third outing playing James Bond. Craig’s first was Casino Royale and his second was Quantum of Solace. The film is Daniel Craig’s first James Bond film not to use an original Ian Fleming story for its title as his first two Bond movies used Fleming titles.
Development and production on this movie was delayed for around 8 to 9 months during 2010-11 due to the bankruptcy and delayed sale of studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), with the production being officially suspended on 19th April 2010. The press release from producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, ‘Skyfall’ being known then as ‘Bond 23’, stated: “Due to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development on ‘Bond 23’ indefinitely. We do not know when development will resume and do not have a date for the release of ‘Bond 23′”. Apparently, during this period, a number of the production continued on with development and pre-production of the film despite the cancelled financing believing that it was just a temporary setback, their goal to have this Bond film in theaters in 2012, the 50th Anniversary of the franchise. Production did in the end resume in January 2011.
Kevin Spacey was considered for a role, but declined due to scheduling conflicts. Spacey worked with this movie’s director Sam Mendes on American Beauty. Actress Judi Dench and Mendes have previously worked together in theatre on Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” whilst James Bond actor Daniel Craig and Mendes previously worked together on Road to Perdition. Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins have also worked together previously on Revolutionary Road and Jarhead. Craig and actor Ben Whishaw previously worked together on Layer Cake.
The title was touted in the media during 2011 as either ‘Carte Blanche’ or ‘Red Sky at Night’. Previously, in 2010, it was reported that a competition would run to pick a title for this film from the remaining Ian Fleming story titles – the two most popular being ‘Risico’ and ‘The Property of a Lady’. In addition, ‘The Hildebrand Rarity’ had also been touted as a possible title. Around October 2011, the new rumored title became ‘Skyfall’ as the internet domain names JamesBond-Skyfall.com and Skyfallthefilm.com were registered prior to any official announcement by the movies’ producers, financiers of the film, MGM and Sony pictures. The ‘Skyfall’ title proved to be correct, with producer Michael G. Wilson calling it “the worst kept secret in London” at the 03/11/2011 press conference.
ey was considered for a role, but declined due to scheduling conflicts. It is believed that director Sam Mendes originally offered the role of the villain to Spacey, the part in the film played by Javier Bardem. Spacey worked with this Mendes on American Beauty. Interestingly, in this movie Kevin Spacey’s character complains to his wife that by attending his daughter’s cheer-leading dance he is “missing the James Bond marathon on TNT.”
Third consecutive official James Bond movie to be distributed by Sony Pictures after Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. It is also expected that Sony will co-distribute the next James Bond film, Bond 24, after ‘Skyfall’. The official 13th April 2011 press release stated: “Sony Pictures and MGM look forward to Sony Pictures co-financing and distributing Bond 24 on a similar basis”. ‘Skyfall’ is Sony Pictures’ widest ever theatrical release in the UK and Ireland with the film launching on 1500 screens.
First time a Bond movie has filmed in China, it being shot in Shanghai. The earlier Bond film Licence to Kill was originally to be filmed in China but production difficulties became insurmountable. When the Chinese Government made a number restrictive demands such as veto rights over the script, the viability of the location fell through. ‘Skyfall’ was once rumored to feature a motorcycle chase along the Great Wall of China, a chase sequence originally intended for Licence to Kill, but instead there is a roof-top motorbike chase filmed in Istanbul, Turkey. Another sequence, a fight sequence in the then recently discovered museum of ancient terracotta statues at Xian was also scheduled for Licence to Kill but this sequence wasn’t used for ‘Skyfall’ either. Scriptwriter John Logan wanted to use Shanghai in China as a filming location because “What we were looking for was opposition to London. We wanted exotic locations that seem so unlike the world that he grew up in, the world that he functions in, in a way trying to find places for Bond to be uncomfortable.”
James Bond actor Daniel Craig said that he was worried by the delays in the production of ‘Skyfall’ and was eager to get back into the role because, at the age of 43, he feels he is already getting too old to cope with the extreme physical demands of playing James Bond. Craig starts preparation for a Bond movie about six months prior to filming and works-out for about two hours each day of principal photography after shooting has wrapped.
It was initially speculated that James Bond veteran composer David Arnold would be providing the score for this film despite a long-running collaboration between director Sam Mendes and composer Thomas Newman. However, in January 2012, it was finally announced that Newman would, in fact, be composing the score. This marks only the sixth time (out of twenty-three films) that a James Bond film has not been scored by either Monty Norman, John Barry, or David Arnold. It is a myth that Arnold was unable to score the film due to his duties as musical director for the 2012 London Olympics – in numerous interviews he has stated that Newman was simply chosen due to his ongoing work with Mendes. In October 2012, David Arnold revealed on Twitter that the producers had licensed some of his film score from Casino Royale for ‘Skyfall’.
Third James Bond movie to film in Istanbul and Turkey. The first was From Russia with Love and the second was The World Is Not Enough. ‘Skyfall’ shares two of the same key locations that the classic James Bond film From Russia with Love utilized: Istanbul, Turkey and Scotland. ‘Skyfall’ was also once rumored to be titled ‘Red Sky at Night’, the word red evoking Russia. Turkish locations that ‘Skyfall’ shares with From Russia with Love include Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square and the Hagia Sophia Mosque, now a Museum. Producer Barbara Broccoli maintains that Istanbul was James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s favorite city.
Second time in the official James Bond series that James Bond is seen with a beard, the first time was Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day. In both pictures the character only has the stubble for a portion of the film.
First Daniel Craig Bond movie not to feature the American CIA Felix Leiter character. Jeffrey Wright played Leiter in both of Craig’s previous Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. And its also the first Craig Bond movie not to feature Bond’s allie Rene Mathis character who also appeared in those two same Bond films and was played by Giancarlo Giannini.
Second consecutive James Bond film to have a car chase in the opening sequence. It included a fleet of twelve Land Rover Defenders and sixteen Audi A5’s which were all modified and reinforced in different ways to the requirements of the stunt and camera departments. Two of the Defenders had driving ‘Pods’ fitted to the roof of Eve (Naomie Harris)’ 8 ft above the ground car allowing her to concentrate on delivering dialogue while being driven by former ‘Stig’ Ben Collins at 50 mph (80 kph) through the packed streets of Istanbul. Multiple British rally car champion Mark Higgins was Harris’ driving stunt double for wide-angle shots of the Land Rover weaving through traffic. Other modifications to the vehicles for the stunt sequence included spread wheels to give greater stability, conversion from manual to automatic, modified engines to enhance engine power and the addition of interior roll cages for protection and safety.
Most of the first scenes in this movie, shot around the 7th November 2011, involve a car sequence through the streets of London. The clapper-board slate details of the first scene shot (in a grubby bathroom) on the first day of principal photography was Scene 45, Take 1 , a day interior shot, at 8.45am on 07/11/2011.
The number of individual Academy Awards totaled from this film’s cast and crew is as follows. Crew: Director Sam Mendes (1 win), cinematographer Roger Deakins (9 nominations), first draft of script by Peter Morgan (2 nominations), final script by John Logan (3 nominations), composer Thomas Newman (10 nominations), Designer Dennis Gassner (1 win & 3 more nominations), and Chris Corbould on special effects (1 win). Cast: Javier Bardem (2 nominations, 1 win), Ralph Fiennes (2 nominations), Albert Finney (5 nominations) and Judi Dench (5 nominations & 1 more win) making at least 41 nominations, and 5 wins.
Second James Bond movie to be edited by Stuart Baird, Baird’s first was Casino Royale. It’s also the second Bond film for production designer Dennis Gassner whose first was Quantum of Solace. It’s the third Bond movie as Stunt Co-ordinator for Gary Powell whose tally of Bond credits tallies to 007, beginning with GoldenEye. And its also the 007th Bond film as Special Effects Supervisor for Chris Corbould whose tally totals to thirteen Bond movies starting with The Spy Who Loved Me.
This is the third Asian-shot Bond film in the official series which has an actress of Asian descent playing one of the two main Bond Girls. The first two were You Only Live Twice and Tomorrow Never Dies. ‘Skyfall’ Bond Girl Bérénice Marlohe was born to a Cambodian and Chinese father and a French mother. Interestingly, the Dr. No character also has a mixed Asian/European genealogy, his being Chinese and German. A few Bond films which shot in Asia did not feature a main Bond Girl who was from Asia, these were Die Another Day, Octopussy and The Man with the Golden Gun. However, all three did have cast Asian women in minor Bond Girl roles.
Danny Boyle was once erroneously touted in the media as having being asked to direct this film prior to Sam Mendes. One of this film’s main Bond girls, Naomie Harris, appeared in Boyle’s 28 Days Later… which was released in the same year as the last Bond film with a black Bond girl, Die Another Day. Ironically, Boyle ended up directing the James Bond short with Daniel Craig and Queen Elizabeth II which opened the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony, London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony: Isles of Wonder).
First one-word Bond movie title in seventeen years, the last was GoldenEye. ‘Skyfall’ is also the shortest ever one word James Bond movie title. It is the only ever one with two syllables, most of them in the past having three (Goldfinger, Thunderball, Moonraker, GoldenEye whilst Octopussy had four). Dr. No remains the shortest ever Bond movie title with the least number of characters, having 5, whereas ‘Skyfall’ has 007.
First James Bond film to have a non-Ian Fleming title that has already pre-existed as the title of a fictional work, in fact a number. ‘Skyfall’ is the title of a 1966 sci-fi novel by Harry Harrison as well as a title of a 1987 novel by Thomas Block. Tomorrow Never Dies and Die Another Day were original non-Fleming James Bond movie titles though the latter was derived from a phrase from the A.E. Housman poem “A Shropshire Lad”. ‘Skyfall’ is also the title of a 2004 novel by Catherine Asaro in the “Saga of the Skolian Empire” science-fiction series as well also being the title of 2007 novel by Anthony Eaton in the fantasy action “Darklands Trilogy”. “The Legends of Skyfall” was is also a series of four adventure gamebooks written by David Tant. Moreover, ‘Skyfall’ is also the name of a 2002 Norweigan film Falling Sky, its literal English translation being “Falling Sky” or “The Sky Is Falling Down”.
Ben Whishaw is the fourth actor to play Q in the official James Bond series. ‘Skyfall’ marks the first time that Q is younger than James Bond. The producers have said that “When it came to trying to reintroduce the character of Q, it made sense that he would now be a young technical genius and the character was written with that in mind.” Whishaw’s character of Q has been likened to that of computer-genius types like Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg. Ironically, Whishaw has said that he doesn’t even own a computer. Peter Burton first played Q under the character’s real name of Major Boothroyd and nick-named the Armourer in Dr. No then Desmond Llewelyn played Q in 17 Bond films between 1963-1999 followed by John Cleese (as Q’s assistant R) in The World Is Not Enough then as Q in Die Another Day, the latter being the last time the character appeared in the official series before ‘Skyfall’, a gap of around a decade. Whishaw is the sixth actor to play Q if one counts the unofficial Bond films Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again where Q was played by Geoffrey Bayldon and Alec McCowen respectively. Q is an abbreviation for the word Quartermaster.
According to the 3rd November 2011 official press conference, this James Bond movie is not related to any previously published Ian Fleming James Bond short-story or novel.
The first James Bond film to be released in the IMAX format. Unlike most films blown up for an IMAX release, the film did not go through their DMR (Digital Media Remastering) process, as cinematographer Roger Deakins thought that the film’s image quality was high enough to make it unnecessary. Deakins has said they “…shot 2.35:1 [aspect ratio] but because of the size of the chip, you’ve got so much space top and bottom that basically I shot it for both formats…the IMAX was clean and the image quality is fantastic because you’re using the full size of the chip. So I had seen a lot of tests and was blown away by the IMAX. We did a 4K finish and it’s down rez’d to 2K after that. It quite surprised me, the fantastic quality.” Films shot in IMAX have an aspect ratio of 1.44.1 which takes up the entire IMAX screen. Skyfall wasn’t shot in IMAX, but the aspect ratio of the IMAX ‘Skyfall’ prints is 1.90.1 compared to standard theater ‘Skyfall’ prints which have an aspect ratio of 2.40.1. The IMAX image is 26% larger at the top and bottom of the frame than the screen image in conventional theaters thereby giving audiences a taller depth of field to view.
The passport used by Daniel Craig is no props department concoction, but an authentic document as issued by the British Home Office, according to producer Michael G. Wilson. Everything from the paper, print, photograph and jacket are entirely genuine on James Bond’s ‘official passport’. However, as a security measure, the passport is encoded with information that would instantly flag its improper use in any official transaction. The actual details shown on Bond’s passport in the film are as follows: Name = John Adam Bryce; Date of Birth = 16th December 1968; Sex = Male; Place of Birth = London; Date of Issue = 22nd June 2012; and Expiry Date = 22nd August 2029.
After receiving a personal invitation from Queen Elizabeth II , Daniel Craig appeared as James Bond in promotion of this film at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London in the games’ introductory video originally entitled “The Arrival” but later known as “Happy and Glorious”. The Daniel Craig and Queen Elizabeth II pretend entertainment segment features Craig as James Bond who meets with the Queen to escort her safely to the stadium. They are seen going to a helicopter which flies along the Thames River to the cauldron whereby stunt-doubles then ‘skyfall’ jumped out of the copters down to the awaiting ceremony to familiar James Bond music. The segment has been said to be the Queen’s first ever acting role.
In the film, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is given a Walther PPK/S 9mm short firearm by Q (Ben Whishaw). The Walther PPK is considered the most popular and wildly know Bond gun, since it is the one he has used the most. Originally, Bond used a Beretta, but that was later replaced with the Walter PPK. The hand-gun he has in ‘Skyfall’ is a hand recognition one which is coded to his palm prints.
Since Daniel Craig was first cast as James Bond he has often had the nickname of ‘James Blond’ due to his lighter color hair which is markedly different to the earlier actors who played Bond who had dark brown or black hair. As Javier Bardem sports blond hair in this movie, ‘Skyfall’ becomes the first film entry in the official series to feature both James Bond and the leading villain with blond hair.
The film’s “Skyfall” theme song sung by Adele is the first Bond Song to share the same name as the film’s title since Madonna’s Die Another Day and the first Daniel Craig Bond film to do so. A 90 second version of the song was leaked online (but perhaps this was a marketing teaser) not long after Adele officially announced on Twitter that she was the artist singing the film’s title song though other leaks and rumors had been surfacing for several weeks. Initially hesitant about performing the title song for a 007 film, Adele was later thrilled to become a part of Bond history when she co-wrote and recorded the song at London’s Abbey Road Studios backed by a full orchestra.
This film marks the return of title designer Daniel Kleinman who did the opening titles and gun-barrel sequences from GoldenEye to Casino Royale. In the previous film, Quantum of Solace, Kleinman was replaced by US special effects company MK12. ‘Skyfall’ is Kleinman’s sixth collaboration as title designer in the series and his second one in a Bond film starring Daniel Craig.
Adele’s title song “Skyfall” is the first ever James Bond theme to debut in the Top 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Chart, entering at No. #8. It’s the 007th Bond song to reach the US Top 10 and the 13th to reach the US Top 100. It’s the first to chart in the US Top 10 in a decade, the last time being Madonna’s Die Another Day song in 2002. Adele’s song sold 261,000 copies in the USA in its first three days. The song debuted in the UK Singles Chart at No. #4 within just 48 hours of release and then went to No. #2 within a week, tieing with the previous record holder, Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill (Dance into the Fire)” as the highest ever charting Bond song in UK singles history. The song sold 84,000 copies in the UK in its first two days and had sold 92,000 copies within a week. The song went to No. #1 on the UK iTunes chart within 10 hours. On its first day of release worldwide, the song hit the Top 10 on the iTunes Charts in 21 countries. Of those, it also went to Number #1 in Belgium, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.
Second time in a James Bond movie that Rory Kinnear plays MI6 chief of staff Bill Tanner. His first time was in Quantum of Solace. With this film, Rory Kinnear has played Tanner twice on film and three times in video games, meaning he has portrayed the character more than any other actor.
First James Bond movie to have two separate train action sequences involving different trains. From Russia with Love, Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, Octopussy and GoldenEye all had just the one locomotive. ‘Skyfall’ is also only the second James Bond movie to have a roof-top fight on a train, the first was Octopussy twenty-nine years earlier. Moreover, the Charing Cross Underground Station was used for location shooting for all three subway stations seen in the movie: Temple, Westminster and London Underground. All three are really Charing Cross.
The film was originally going to shoot in six countries but budget cutbacks in January 2012 resulted in the picture predominantly being filmed in the UK with most of this being in England and some filming in Scotland, with the main two other “exotic” countries being used for filming being Turkey (mainly Istanbul and Adana) and China (Shanghai). Glencoe in the Scotish Highlands replaced Duntrune Castle in Argyll, Scotland as the location for the film’s denouement though some of that was actually filmed at Surrey’s Hankley Common in England. Scenes planned to be originally shot in India or South Africa were instead filmed in Turkey. In the end, the picture filmed in five countries: England, Scotland, China, Turkey and Japan, the latter of which just a small amount of filming was done on Hashima Island.
At two seconds shy of 143 minutes, this is the second longest Bond movie of all time, the longest being Casino Royale at 144 minutes. The third longest running time for a Bond movie is On Her Majesty’s Secret Service which runs 142 minutes.
‘Skyfall’ started shooting in 2011 which was the 30th year that casting director Debbie McWilliams had being working on the series. McWilliams first Bond movie was For Your Eyes Only in 1981. For ‘Skyfall’, McWilliams co-ordinated casting sessions that took place in various locations all around the world which included, amongst others, Athens, Greece; Beijing and Shanghai in China; Istanbul, Turkey; London, England; Madrid, Spain; Stockholm, Sweden and Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During principal photography, three Turkish youths infiltrated tight film set security in Adana in Southern Turkey and in true espionage fashion, infiltrated a closed film set and filmed with their mobile phones their own B-roll footage of a train scene being shot. Fitting of the intrigue from the earlier Turkey set Bond movie From Russia with Love, the three snuck through alleyways and jumped a wire fence into a train station where ‘Skyfall’ was being filmed. The trio slipped under train cars and rendezvoused at the repair depot where they went into spy disguise and put on off-duty worker’s helmets and overalls. They were later caught by security whereupon shaken and stirred they were interrogated and sent packing.
Eminönü Square [aka Eminonu Square], a busy business district in Istanbul, was used for filming the movie’s opening sequence and had to be closed for three weeks in order to do this. The place is one of Istanbul’s oldest and most magnificent squares and is surrounded by the ancient Spice Bazaar and the fabulous Yeni Mosque. In a bizarre requirement for the bazaars, the shops could open but could not trade due to the area being off-limits to the public, traffic and pedestrians. Shop-keepers were reimbursed 750 Turkish Liras per day to cover their losses. The Turkish bazaar sequence in the film featured over 250 dressed market stalls created by the film’s art and props department and was populated by around 500 extras and background artists.
The production was criticized during principal photography in Turkey for allegedly damaging the rooftops of buildings in Istanbul where a roof-top motorcycle chase was being filmed. On such incident that made local headlines was when a stunt-rider rode off a roof and smashed the window of the renown Bobeyi jewellery store. Producer Michael G. Wilson held a press conference and the claims were quashed as the the roofing on the roofs had been removed for the stunt riding and replaced with replicas until filming wrapped there whereupon the original tiling was returned. ‘Skyfall’ is not the first Bond movie to feature a rooftop motor-cycle chase, it’s the second, as one appeared in Tomorrow Never Dies.
Fourth James Bond movie to film in Scotland after previous lensing in From Russia with Love (various locations in the Argyll and Bute region), The Spy Who Loved Me (the Faslane naval base) and The World Is Not Enough (Eilean Donan Castle at Kyle of Lochalsh in the Highlands). ‘Skyfall’ is actually the fifth Bond film to shoot in Scotland if one counts the unofficial Casino Royale which lensed in Killin, Stirling. ‘Skyfall’ is also the first official Bond movie to shoot in Scotland without the film having a long title. The first actor to play James Bond on the big screen was a Scot, Sean Connery. The Scottish Dalness Estate once belonged to the Fleming family and author Ian Fleming loved the Scotish region so much that he gave James Bond a Scotish genealogical lineage, the character’s father Andrew coming from Glencoe where ‘Skyfall’ filmed alongside the Buachaille Etive Mor mountain. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, James Bond was seen wearing a kilt.
Sixth appearance in the official James Bond series of the classic silver-birch the Aston Martin DB5 car. The film marks the return of the vehicle which first appeared in Goldfinger and last appeared in Casino Royale. The DB5 has also appeared in Thunderball, GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies. The car also features in the James Bond video-games James Bond in Agent Under Fire, 007 Racing, James Bond 007: Blood Stone and James Bond 007: From Russia with Love but not in the ‘Skyfall’ tie-in video-game 007 Legends which has instead the Aston Martin DBS. The license plate number of the DB5 in ‘Skyfall’ is BMT 216A, the same as it was in Goldfinger and Thunderball. The famous DB series of Aston Martin cars is named after Sir David Brown. Brown was an entrepreneur, adventurer, and chairman of Aston Martin from the late 1940s to the 1970s.
Bond Girl Naomie Harris’s mother is from Jamaica where author Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond stories at his GoldenEye estate. At 35 years of age at the start of filming, Harris is one of the oldest actresses to play a major Bond Girl. Honor Blackman is tied for eldest to ever play one, being 37 years of age at the time of filming Goldfinger, and Maud Adams was also 37 years old at time of filming for Octopussy. Harris attended the Royal World Premiere of ‘Skyfall’ with twenty-six members of her family.
Greek model-actress Tonia Sotiropoulou who appears as a minor Bond Girl in the movie during the film’s pre-credits sequence actually had auditioned for the leading Bond Girl role of Sévérine but lost out to Bérénice Marlohe. After Casting Director Debbie McWilliams suggested that the production might be able to find another part for her, her management company Back Door Management resubmitted her for the film and she was successful. Tonia’s Bond Girl character in the film though has no name and is billed in the credits only as “Bond’s Lover”.
The film’s original script title was “Silver Bullet” whilst for a long time in development and pre-production “Skyfall” was simply known as “Bond 23”. Its fake rumored titles at different times were “Carte Blanche” and “Red Sky at Night”.
Character and plot details were kept under tight wraps during principal photography with the names and identities of several characters such as those played by Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris and veteran Albert Finney being kept a secret for several months.
The Royal World Premiere was held on Tuesday 23rd October 2012 at Royal Albert Hall in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla Parker-Bowles). At the request of HRH Prince Charles, the Gala Charity Premiere Benefit aided the support of former and current serving members of Britain’s three intelligence agencies, GCHQ, the Security Service, and the Secret Intelligence Service. Prince Charles is England’s Royal Patron of the Intelligence Services. Also in attendance were director Sam Mendes, and actors Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw and Judi Dench. The only ever previous Bond World Premiere to be held at the Royal Albert Hall was for the franchise’s 40th Anniversary where Die Another Day debuted. The gala premiere raised UK £300,000+ in aid of the Prince’s chosen charities.
‘Skyfall’ is the twenty-third Bond film and pre-production on the next installment provisionally titled Bond 24 actually began during the making and release of this movie. Similarly, pre-production on the previous Bond movie Quantum of Solace began before its predecessor Casino Royale actually started filming.
Product placements, brand integrations and promotional tie-ins for ‘Skyfall’ include Heineken Lager Beer; Coca Cola’s Coke Zero; Bollinger Champagne; Visit Britain Tourism’s ‘Live Like Bond’ campaign; “The James Bond Archives” book; Procter & Gamble fragrance; Virgin Atlantic; ‘Literary Review’ magazine; Tom Ford clothing; Cartamundi playing cards; Omega Watches including a 50th Anniversary Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M “SKYFALL” Limited Edition watch; Swarovski Jewelery; Corgi die-cast James Bond Skyfall toy Aston Martin DB5 cars; the London 2012 Olympics; Honda Motorcycles; Hornby Scalextric car sets; Jaguar & Land Rover vehicles; Activision’s 007 Legends video-game; RT Marketing James Bond 007 merchandising; Sky TV’s Sky Movies 007 HD Bond channel and Sony Electronics products including Bravia TVs, Vaio laptops & computers, and Xperia tablets & smart-phones, the Sony Xperia TL phone and Heineken beer being two of the products making brand-cameos in the film. The London ‘Mirror’ newspaper has reported that about £29 million or about a third of the film’s budget was raised from commercial deals.
The movie’s soundtrack composed by Thomas Newman features the most number tracks (30) ever for a James Bond film score. The previous record holder in the official series had been Casino Royale with 25 whilst next is Quantum of Solace with 24. The previous record holder for any Bond movie and now second is the unofficial Never Say Never Again which has 26 tracks.
5th October 2012 was “Global James Bond Day”. It was created by the ‘Skyfall’ production to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the James Bond film series and as a promotional tie-in for the release of ‘Skyfall’. According to the official website ‘Global James Bond Day’ featured “Worldwide events celebrating Bond’s golden anniversary [and] include[d] a global online and live charity auction event organized by Christie’s in London, a global survey to discover the favorite Bond film country by country, a film retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, a Music of Bond night in Los Angeles hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Designing 007: 50 Years of James Bond Style [in Toronto]”.
First James Bond film to feature MGM’s new 2012 logo. The first James Bond movie to be released with the MGM Lion logo at the beginning was Octopussy. MGM merged with United Artists in 1982, the year before the release of that movie which was the first Bond movie distributed by the then new company, MGM/UA Distribution Co.
‘Skyfall’ is the 23rd film in the official James Bond series and its associated video-game 007 Legends, which has a ‘Skyfall’ mission, is also the 23rd title in its James Bond video-game series.
The film was influenced by The Dark Knight Batman film series of director Christopher Nolan according to the film’s director Sam Mendes. A number of the early reviews of ‘Skyfall’ likened the mood of the film to that of The Dark Knight Rises. Interestingly, a recurring line of dialogue in The Dark Knight Rises was “Permission To Die” – this is also the title of a 1989 James Bond comic book released in the same year as the Bond film Licence to Kill. Shots in ‘Skyfall’ of Bond (‘Daniel Craig’) standing on-top of a building looking-out over London with a flag of England evoke Batman perched on roof-tops looking-out over Gotham City. Mendes has said: “In terms of what [Nolan] achieved, specifically The Dark Knight, the second movie, what it achieved, which is something exceptional. It was a game changer for everybody…What Nolan proved was that you can make a huge movie that is thrilling and entertaining and has a lot to say about the world we live in, even if, in the case with The Dark Knight, it’s not even set in our world… That did help give me the confidence to take this movie in directions that, without The Dark Knight, might not have been possible.” Nolan has often stated that the classic James Bond films have been an influence on his “Dark Knight” trilogy. As such, one can say that Bond has inspired Batman and that Batman has inspired Bond.
Playing Kincaid, actor Albert Finney has said he remembers seeing the first James Bond movie Dr. No. ‘Skyfall’ is released in the 50th Anniversary year of the franchise which started with that movie. Other cast members were working actors in film and TV when Dr. No was in theaters. Actress Judi Dench, who plays M, was appearing as Anya in Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard whilst Finney’s closest film role to the release date of Dr. No was as another great lover, Tom Jones, in which he starred with Diane Cilento, who was once married to cinema’s first James Bond Sean Connery. Connery has been rumored to have been an original choice for the Kincaid character, but these are unlikely given his general non-connection with the 50th Golden Anniversary of the series. Producer Barbara Broccoli has said that her father, pioneer Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli, had been keen to work with Finney but the opportunity never arose.
The promotional tie-in with Heineken Lager Beer for this movie has been valued at being (UK) £28 million (= US $45 million). The product placement caused a controversy in the media prior to release, criticism being made for lacking integrity, blatant commercialization with Daniel Craig actually appearing in a Heineken ad and being disrespectful to Bond’s traditional drink, the shaken and stirred martini. Producer Michael G. Wilson and actor Daniel Craig defended the financing by indicating that the Bond films cost a lot of money to make and ‘Skyfall’ could not be completed without this support; that many of the product placements are based around supply of the products with technical support and the fact that James Bond is still seen drinking a Vodka Martini in ‘Skyfall’.
‘Skyfall’s marketing has been said to have gone to a new level with the actual actor who plays James Bond (Daniel Craig) appearing in a number of commercial television advertisements for product placements seen in the film such as Heineken, Omega Watches and Sony Electronics. However, this has been justified, Daniel Craig has said, “The simple fact is that, without them, we couldn’t do it. It’s unfortunate but that’s how it is. This movie costs a lot of money to make, it costs nearly as much again if not more to promote, so we go where we can.”
First time that an Academy Award winning director (Sam Mendes (American Beauty) has directed a James Bond movie. The first Bond film seen by Mendes was Live and Let Die whilst his favorite is From Russia with Love. During pre-production, Mendes was originally hired as a consultant during the MGM bankruptcy period so as to avoid a direct connection payment to Mendes from having been classified as a bona fide director to the production, and as such requiring an official director’s payment.
Third consecutive James Bond film dealing with terrorism. The central type of terrorism depicted in ‘Skyfall’ is cyberterrorism. Wikipedia defines this as “…the use of Internet based attacks in terrorist activities, including acts of deliberate, large-scale disruption of computer networks, especially of personal computers attached to the internet, by the means of tools such as computer viruses.” In an interview in the ‘Skyfall’ tie-in documentary Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007, producer Barbara Broccoli commented on how 9/11 made the producers think about doing something more serious and that it might be time to move on from the Pierce Brosnan style of Bond films. In another interview, Broccoli added: “In terms of 9/11, we thought Die Another Day had become too fantastical. That’s something that’s happened in previous Bond films along the way. There comes a time when you have to recalibrate the tone of the films to fit the times we live in”.
Director Sam Mendes used to be in a relationship with actress Rachel Weisz who was once rumored to going to be cast in this movie. Weisz is now married to the actor playing James Bond, Daniel Craig. Weisz has also starred in espionage films such as The Bourne Legacy and The Constant Gardener for which she won an Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Supporting Actress, and which coincidentally also starred Ralph Fiennes.
Second Daniel Craig James Bond film to feature a casino and the first for him since Casino Royale, Craig being notable for having debuted in this ‘Casino’ titled Bond film. Not every Bond movie has a casino sequence but ‘Skyfall’ joins the ranks in the official series of those that have: Dr. No, Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun, For Your Eyes Only, Licence to Kill, GoldenEye, The World Is Not Enough and Casino Royale. All the unofficial Bond films, Casino Royale, Never Say Never Again and Climax!: Casino Royale, have all featured a casino. ‘Skyfall’ is the first Bond movie since The Man with the Golden Gun to feature a casino in Asia. It’s name is “The Golden Dragon Casino” and it’s a floating-casino in Macau, China and is based on the actual real-life Macau floating casino, “The Macau Palace”.
French actress Bérénice Marlohe has said that her characterization of Bond Girl Sévérine was inspired by two things: “The Chimera” from mythology and actress Famke Janssen’s Xena Onatopp Bond Girl character from GoldenEye. ‘Skyfall’ is the first English-speaking role for Marlohe who is the sixth French actress to play a leading Bond girl, the others being Claudine Auger (Thunderball), Corinne Cléry (Moonraker), Carole Bouquet (For Your Eyes Only), Sophie Marceau (The World Is Not Enough), and most recently, Eva Green in Casino Royale. Prior to ‘Skyfall’, Marlohe once appeared on a TV show wearing just a red wig and nothing else and reportedly, Marlohe didn’t have an agent prior to ‘Skyfall’ and got the part in the film on her own. Marlohe was born in Paris on 19th May 1979 which was just a few months after Moonraker had finished filming there.
The names of few of the production crew appear in the movie as the names of MI6 agents during a YouTube video clip titled “MI6 AGENTS”. Their faces are of other actors, the real life people don’t actually appear in the video and are just named after them. They include art director Paul Inglis, assistant executive producer Andy Surry, and special effects technician Steve Benelisha. The other two Mi6 agent names, Mansur Dimka and Ben Daheer, appear not to be based on anyone in particular. The handle of the YouTube poster posting the video in the film is “vials” which is an anagram for Silva, the last name of the film’s villain Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). Moreover, the time on the YouTube video is 0:07, a reference to James Bond’s code number of 007.
Script-writer Peter Morgan left the production of ‘Skyfall’ when development was suspended due to MGM’s bankruptcy. Morgan later declared that ideas from his first draft were still retained by the Logan, Purvis & Wade screen-writing team including the film’s “big hook”.
Second consecutive James Bond film where the gun-barrel sequence is seen at the end of the movie. The gun-barrel sequence has been re-shot for this picture, thereby making it the third consecutive Bond film to have a different gun-barrel sequence in each. With this third Daniel Craig Bond movie, Craig has still never appeared in a traditional series gun-barrel sequence shown at the start of the film (the last film to use the sequence at the beginning was Die Another Day a decade earlier). There was an attempt to put the gun-barrel walk before the pre-titles sequence but the shots did not match. It was also put at the end of the film so as to be able mark the Golden Anniversary of the franchise with Bond’s 50th Anniversary logo.
The literal English translation of some of this film’s foreign language titles have the film known in their respective regions as “Operation Skyfall”.
Some of the cast have favorites from the film series’ film history. Playing the villain in this film, Javier Bardem’s favorite Bond villain is Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker whilst Bond Girls Bérénice Marlohe and Naomi Harris say their favorite Bond Girls are Famke Janssen from GoldenEye and Grace Jones from A View to a Kill respectively.
The opening train action sequence was originally planned to be shot on in the Sabarmati railway yard of the Konkan Railway in India. However, delays in getting permission to film there with the many complex problems meant the sequence was not filmed there. South Africa was considered to film this sequence but in the end it shot in Turkey.
10th James Bond film produced by Michael G. Wilson as a fully fledged producer (excluding executive producer credits). The next James Bond film provisionally titled Bond 24 is expected to be released around 2014, that year will mark producer Wilson’s 50th Golden Anniversary Year of his association with the James Bond official series, Wilson first appearing as an uncredited extra as a Soldier at Fort Knox in Goldfinger. Similarly, ‘Skyfall’ is released in the Golden 50th Anniversary Year of the series in 2012. Wilson has also acted on the films as a screen-writer and as a legal/administrative/technical consultant and is also known for making regular cameo appearances in the franchise.
Released late 2012, ‘Skyfall’ will be playing in theaters in early 2013 which will mark the 30th Anniversary Year that producer Barbara Broccoli has officially been associated with the series, first officially credited as an executive assistant on Octopussy. Broccoli’s first start on the series however was as an uncredited second assistant director on Moonraker, a 30th Anniversary milestone for this was in 2009 after the release of the previous Bond film Quantum of Solace. Skyfall’s release year of 2012 also marks the 25th Anniversary Year for Broccoli as a producer on the series as her first credit as a producer was as an associate producer on The Living Daylights in 1987. ‘Skyfall’ is also the 25th Year for executive producer and production manager Callum McDougall who started as an assistant director on the same Bond film.
‘Skyfall’ marks the 10th Anniversary of Gregg Wilson on the James Bond film series. The movie marks the milestone of Gregg being the first 3rd generation member of the Broccoli/Wilson family to achieve a senior producer credit on the series, that of an associate producer. Gregg is the son of Michael G. Wilson who is the step-son of co-founding producer Albert R. Broccoli. Gregg’s first credit on the series was a decade earlier as development executive on Die Another Day. Gregg was also an assistant producer on Quantum of Solace.
One of just a handful of Bond films to feature a British country home or manor house. Others include The Blayden Safe House in The Living Daylights; Shrublands in both Thunderball and Never Say Never Again and M’s home Quarterdeck in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
It has been claimed that ‘Skyfall’ has used Great Britain for filming locations moreso than any other Bond film in the franchise’s history. UK locations feature several locations in the countries of both Scotland and England.
Final Bond script (to date, October 2012) written by the screen-writing team of Purvis and Wade. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have been penning Bond scripts for 15 years and 5 films starting with The World Is Not Enough. They have worked on Die Another Day, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace and decided to move on after ‘Skyfall’.
When it came time to casting Silva’s mercenaries, director Sam Mendes wanted actors rather than stuntmen. In order to find actors that could fit the physical bill, stunt coordinator Gary Powell set up a stunt training camp. Starting with forty-two men, the group had to learn how to throw punches, react to punches, hold guns and react to being shot. The group was eventually narrowed down to the seven men who looked most natural.
For the weapons training, the cast went through 200,000 rounds of ammunition.
Patrice (Ola Rapace)’s gun in the film is a 100 round drum mag semi-automatic “Glock 18” machine pistol-class firearm which holds 100 rounds of ammunition and fires 20 rounds a second. The firearm has an effective range of 50 m (55 yd) and a muzzle velocity of 1,230 ft/s (375 m/s). It’s an Austrian gun that was developed at the request EKO Cobra, the Austrian counter-terrorist unit.
For the motorbike-chase in Turkey, Coca Cola was sprayed on the tarmac of the streets in Istanbul to keep the bikes from sliding. Ironically, Coke is not an official product placement in the movie (but there is a Coke Zero ad marketing campaign that tie-ins in with the movie).
For exterior scenes shot in Whitehall, halfway through the chase between James Bond and Raoul Silva, there were 100 background vehicles, 300 film crew, 750 extras, and massive multiple government agency bureaucracy co-operation. Permissions, negotiations and authorizations for the London chase sequence were permitted from such offices of English officialdom as the Westminster City Council, Transport For London (TFL) and TFL Buses, the Met and CHX Police, The London Underground, Network Rail, Herts Traffic Management Systems, the The Ministry of Defence (MOD), The Royal Parks, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Bond girl actress Naomie Harris attended the Royal World Premiere with twenty-six members of her family.
The spectacular London underground tube train crash that occurs when James Bond (Daniel Craig chases Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) was filmed at Pinewood Studio’s mammoth 007 Stage which has been the filming home to most of the super-scale Bond set pieces of the past. For the crash, filmed on “The Catacombs Set”, crew built two full size fabricated replica Tube train carriages, each weighing around 5-7 tons, the real ones weigh around 25-30 tonnes. The Tube carriages were raised onto a track about 20 feet above the base of the set. Near the ceiling of the set, broken Tube tracks curved downwards with a monorail supporting the carriages from above. The trains were then accelerated on the elevated track guided by the monorail as they veer of the tracks and crash through the catacombs ceiling which was composed of breakaway elements. Digital visual effects were later added in post-production to supplement the practical special effects. It was too dangerous to allow people to stay on the sound stage during the filming of the crash, so ten remotely operated cameras were placed around the 007 Stage to cover the crash from various angles.
The film’s opening sequence shot in Adana and Istanbul in Turkey took around two months to film, three months of rehearsals, four months of preparation, 10 weeks to shoot, 200 crew members from England with another 200 local crew in order to produce around 12-14 minutes of screen time.
007th James Bond film where the villain resides on an island lair, Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem’s home is the Dead City, an abandoned island off the coast of Macao. The others were Dr. No’s Crab Key island; Largo’s Palmyra Estate on the Bahamas Islands in Thunderball; Blofeld’s Japanese island volcano lair in You Only Live Twice; Mr Big / Dr Kananga’s fictitious Carribean island of San Monique in Live and Let Die; Elektra King and Renards’ Kizkulesi Island (aka The Maiden’s Tower) in Turkey’s Bosphorus Sea in The World Is Not Enough; and perhaps the most famous of all, Scaramanga’s island in The Man with the Golden Gun.
The film’s opening chase sequence runs through Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over three thousand shops attracting up to 400,000 visitors daily. Due to the hazardous nature of the sequence, access to the location for the film unit could only to be granted on Sunday, when the bazaar is closed. Through a combination of efforts from the locations department, set decoration, art and props teams, the bazaar was dressed overnight on preceding Saturday nights to look like the hive of activity that the one would expect from the location. 500 Turkish extras and stunt background were brought into the Grand Bazaar to provide the location with its usual crowded and buzzing atmosphere. The rooftops of the Bazaar served as a spectacular platform to view Istanbul’s ancient and dynamic skyline. The production went to great lengths to protect and preserve the Grand Bazaar’s historic architecture, which included floating reinforced steel roof panels over the existing tiles to protect the original structure.
Second consecutive James Bond film to have a car chase in the opening sequence. This vehicle chase was originally written and intended for the earlier also Istanbul-lensed Bond film The World Is Not Enough but was scrapped as the film’s story had become too expansive. The ‘Skyfall’ car chase includes a fleet of twelve Land Rover Defenders and sixteen Audi A5’s which were all modified and reinforced in different ways to the requirements of the stunt and camera departments. Two of the Defenders had driving ‘Pods’ fitted to the roof of Eve (Naomie Harris)’ 8 ft above the ground car allowing her to concentrate on delivering dialogue while being driven by former ‘Stig’ Ben Collins at 50 mph (80 kph) through the packed streets of Istanbul. Multiple British rally car champion Mark Higgins was Harris’ driving stunt double for wide-angle shots of the Land Rover weaving through traffic. Other modifications to the vehicles for the stunt sequence included spread wheels to give greater stability, conversion from manual to automatic, modified engines to enhance engine power and the addition of interior roll cages for protection and safety.
The climax of the opening chase sequence takes place at the breathtaking Varda Bridge about an hour’s travel out of Adana in southern Turkey. The stone arch structure is also known by a number of other names including Alman Köprüsü (German Viaduct), Koca Köprüthe (Big Viaduct), the Varda Viaduct and the Giaour Dere Viaduct. Construction was started in 1905 and was completed in 1916, the bridge being around 570 feet (174 m) long and 322 feet (98 m) high. The viaduct was originally designed and built by Imperial German engineers of the former Ottoman Empire as part of the Istanbul-Baghdad Railway Project.
Stunt-man and Bond stunt-double Andy Lister performed the opening sequence’s skyfall. Riggers were set up a crane on a train carriage to hold a safety line. Andy then reacted to the gun shot by limply diving backwards off the 300 foot (92 m) drop. This skyfall jump stunt is a typical Bondian ‘Skyfall’ jump stunt synonymous with the series, skyfall jumps having appeared regularly since The Spy Who Loved Me, with others in Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day and Quantum of Solace.
The exotic Calis Beach, a remote beach in Fethiye, a coastal town on the beautiful Turkish coastline in the south of Turkey, was a great challenge for the locations department to secure for filming a sequence featuring James Bond (Daniel Craig). EON Productions had to negotiate with the six hundred and thirteen part owners of the beach to allow filming to take place there.
‘Skyfall’ utilizes the City of London as a filming location moreso than for any other Bond movie. Several different locations in the city of London were used as interiors and exteriors for the film, some of which would not be accessible for filming, but the Bond brand opens doors. London locations included Vauxhall Bridge; Millbank; The Old Vic Tunnels; an underground car park on Great Suffolk Street; Trinity Square; the entrance to Broadgate Tower; The Virgin Active Pool in Canary Wharf; Cadogan Square, The National Portrait Gallery; Parliament Square; Tower Hill; the building roof of the Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC); the Smithfield Meat Market; St Bartholomew’s Hospital; Charing Cross Underground Station; Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College; Southwark; Whitehall; and London’s landmark Trafalgar Square.
The film’s “Skyfall” title is not a word taken from any Ian Fleming James Bond story. The film’s screen-writing team of Purvis & Wade thought up the film’s “Skyfall” title at 2 am one morning. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have said: “We needed a haunting place name. I just plucked it out of the air, and it turned out to be something that struck a chord with the filmmakers”. ‘Skyfall’ is the only ever Bond film where the team provided the film’s title. The World Is Not Enough’s title was taken from a true life Bond family motto and was mentioned by Ian Fleming in the novel of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service whilst the title of Die Another Day was taken from a phrase in A.E. Housman’s poem “A Shropshire Lad”. Both Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace were titles taken from original Ian Fleming stories.
Just prior to post-production lock-off, about ten minutes of footage was cut out of the film for the film’s final cut due to the picture’s extensively long running time. These scenes and sequences that were cut include MI6 agents after the MI6 HQ explosion; a funeral procession for MI6 agents; Sévérine at Shanghai International Airport; an M and Mallory scene; early scenes with M’s Assistant Vanessa; Bond running through Regent’s Park; and scenes involving Sévérine’s activities.
Second time in the official James Bond film series that James Bond discusses the death of his parents, the first time was in GoldenEye.
A sizable amount of the film’s story takes place below London’s street surface, an underground environment that is based on what was historically known as “The Churchill Bunker System”. During World War II, many government offices were relocated underground for protection from German bombing during “The Blitz”. In ‘Skyfall’, after the headquarters at MI6 are the subject of a terrorist attack, M makes the decision to relocate underground, just like Winston Churchill did during the Second World War.
Daniel Craig performed many of his own stunts including the signature roof-top fight on the top of a moving train traveling at 50 kph (31 mph) during the film’s opening sequence. Producer Barbara Broccoli has said: “Daniel contributes a great deal to designing the action and the fights in particular and he’s the one who really pulls it off, because he wants to do as much of it as he possibly can. We were in Turkey for the train sequence and I had my heart in my mouth the whole time; he and Ola were fighting on the roof of a moving train and the moves that they were doing were just heart stopping. Daniel’s the reason why the action works as well as it does because he sells it, he’s up there and I think audiences know that.”
The Paddock Tank (aka the Exterior Tank) at Pinewood Studios doubled as the exterior of the Shanghai Golden Dragon Casino. The set was lit by three-hundred floating lanterns and two thirty-foot high dragon heads. Twelve artisans were flown in from China to create the authentic structures. They were made from wound steel cables, silk fabric and lit from within by 400 light bulbs.
With the cooperation and assistance of the London Mayor’s Office and Transportation For London, the production was able to shut down both Vauxhall Bridge and Millbank for a scene where M witnesses a terrorist attack on MI6 headquarters. The explosion of the MI6 HQ was represented by a few fireworks on the day, but then an MI6 model miniature was later rebuilt at third scale on the back-lot at Pinewood Studios where long-time Bond fxpert Chris Corbould, the film’s special effects and miniature effects supervisor, used twenty-eight explosives to replicate the attack.
Second Unit Director Alexander Witt and the second unit traveled to Shanghai in China to shoot establishing shots and driving sequences. The crew worked nights in the busy week leading up to the Chinese New Year to capture the exhilarating, ever-changing metropolis that is one of the most dynamic cities in the world. An aerial unit piloted by Marc Wolff was granted rare access to the skies above the city to shoot from a helicopter on loan from the Chinese Government. Production Designer Dennis Gassner and the art department then worked to create the rest of the Chinese environment on sound-stages at Pinewood Studios.
When Q delivers the Walther PPK & passport to Bond in the National Gallery in London, the painting behind him is Joseph Wright of Derby’s ‘An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump (1768)’, featuring a natural philosopher – a forerunner to a modern Scientist – demonstrating an experiment to curious onlookers. This fits Q’s role as scientific research/development for SIS/MI6 and 007.
Fourth time in an official Bond movie that an M character’s home has been seen. The first time was M (Bernard Lee)’s manor Quarterdeck in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The 2nd & 3rd times followed much later with M (Judi Dench)’s homes in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. ‘Skyfall’ is the fifth time if one counts the unofficial Bond spoof Casino Royale which also showed an M character’s home.
M (Judi Dench)’s house in the film is the former home of the legendary Bond composer John Barry. The filmmakers thought it would be a lovely tribute to the late composer who composed many of the James Bond film scores and defined the signature theme music in the series, his work being a core inspiration for the modern Bond music composed by David Arnold. John Barry passed away in 2011. Thomas Newman’s score for ‘Skyfall’ has been said to pay tribute to Barry.
Stuntman Gary Powell and other members of his family have worked on every EON Productions official series Bond movie since Dr. No. Father and uncle Nosher Powell and Dinny Powell worked on all the early 60s and 70s Bonds with Sean Connery and George Lazenby; brother Greg Powell worked on the 70s and 80s Bonds with Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton whilst Gary has worked on all the 90s and 00s Bonds with Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig as well as ‘Skyfall’, the first Bond movie of the 2010s.
On an October 2012 TV talk-show with Graham Norton on the The Graham Norton Show, Judi Dench revealed how her mobile cell phone has a ringtone with the James Bond theme and how when it rang during filming on the set, it would often produce laughter, and after awhile, her annoying 007 cell-phone ring-tone became an on-set running joke.
‘Skyfall’ represents the 10th Anniversary of the now regular “Bond On Set” book, a photo record of the filming of a Bond movie, with pix that are shot by Bond regular stills photographer Greg Williams. The ‘Skyfall’ “Bond On Set” book is the fourth to be published, the first was in 2002 with the Die Another Day “Bond On Set” book. Prior to this, there had been “Making of” books for Bond films such as for GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies.
‘Skyfall’ has been said to use a very large amount of CGI (computer-generated imagery), the most since Die Another Day. A large amount of the visual effects in the film were created by around 850 staff of Technicolor owned post-production house The Moving Picture Company (MPC), 250 in Bangalore and 600 in London. Animators, graphic artists, visual fx technicians and other vfx professionals worked for eight months creating literally thousands of frames, computer animations, graphic insertions and high-end visual effects integrating all the digital content for the movie.
Javier Bardem’s casting marks the first ever time that a Spanish actor has played the major lead villain in a James Bond movie whilst Bardem is the third to play any villain after henchmen Simón Andreu in Die Another Day and Fernando Guillén Cuervo in Quantum of Solace. Bardem’s villain name of Raoul Silva in the film is actually an alias, the character’s real name being Tiago Rodriguez. The film’s writers wrote the script with Bardem in mind whilst Bardem had the film’s script translated into his native language of Spanish so as to achieve a better understanding of the story and his character. The first Bond movie Bardem ever saw was Moonraker, its henchman Jaws being his favorite Bond villain.
With his casting, Javier Bardem becomes the second Academy Award (Oscar) winner to play a major Bond villain. The first was Christopher Walken in A View to a Kill who had won an Oscar for The Deer Hunter. Both Academy Awards were for Best Supporting Actor, Bardem’s statuette was for No Country for Old Men. Bardem is not the only actor in ‘Skyfall’ to have a Best Supporting Acting Oscar, Judi Dench has one for Shakespeare in Love.
Glencoe in Scotland is a filming location that portrays its own setting: Glencoe. In the penultimate James Bond novel, “You Only Live Twice”, author Ian Fleming gave Bond a sense of family background, writing that Bond’s father Andrew Bond was from Glencoe. The Glencoe region has one of the most iconic landscapes in Scotland, the mountains contain some of the oldest sedimentary and volcanic strata in the world. In ‘Skyfall’, these mountains served as a beautiful backdrop for Bond and M’s drive through Glencoe’s scenic roads in the iconic silver-birch Aston Martin DB5.
Hashima Island, the site of Silva’s lair, is a tiny deserted industrialized island situated off the south west coast of Japan, 15 km from Nagasaki, and running just 480 meters long and 160 meters wide. The small isle is one of 505 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture. The isle is also known as “Ghost Island” as well as “Gunkanjima” which translates as “Battleship Island”. The island was last significantly inhabited in 1974 and was once a thriving coal mining community. The island is notable for its character due to its sea wall and its untouched abandoned and derelict concrete buildings.
At US $150 million, ‘Skyfall’ is the least costly budget of a Daniel Craig James Bond movie. Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace had more expensive budgets at around $172 and $200 million respectively.
The room in which Silva gives his introductory speech was specially constructed, so that it would be the right length for a one take shot with Javier Bardem walking leisurely down, ending up right at Bond when he reached the end of the speech.
Grossed $100 million at the international box-office in its first week. ‘Skyfall’ also had the biggest ever opening weekend at the box-office for a Bond film in Britain. The producers said: “We are absolutely overwhelmed with the reaction to ‘Skyfall’ this weekend. It is particularly thrilling as the UK is home to James Bond and it being the 50th anniversary year.”
A few days after the film debuted in Britain, the real MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), took out a full page advertisement in “The Times” and “The Sunday Times” running with the headline, “If the qualities that make a good spy were obvious, they wouldn’t make a very good spy”. The aim of the ad was to debunk the legend and mythology associated with film fiction spies like James Bond in Skyfall saying that real life spy work is not “high-speed chases and shoot-outs”, an average spy is not a “globe-trotting secret agent” and that psychological profiles of real life agents show that they are actually “far more ordinary”. The ad also dismisses the white male spy stereotype saying that “the truth is we don’t care what sex you are or where you’re from, as long as you’re a British national”. The humorous advertising campaign is considered one of MI6’s most open ever recruitment drives. But in true espionage fashion, the ad still warns of utmost secrecy and strict confidentiality advising potential candidates that they cannot disclose that they are making an application to anyone.
Second James Bond film to feature an attack on MI6 head-quarters in London, the first was in The World Is Not Enough. Similarly, a raid on MI6’s countryside Blayden Safe House was seen in The Living Daylights.
Actress Judi Dench’s largest ever on-screen role playing the M character. Dench played the role of M in this film at the age of 0077. The performance is also Dench’s 007th time playing M.
Third James Bond movie to film in Japan. ‘Skyfall’ used Hashima Island for shooting villain Raoul Silva’s island lair. The first Bond Bond film to lens in Japan where the largest amount of filming was done was for You Only Live Twice. The second was for The Spy Who Loved Me where filming was done there to get shots of exotic fish in Okinawa.
Actor Javier Bardem has described his Raoul Silva villain character as “An angel of death – a very cleanshaven person who happens to be rotten on the inside. He has a very personal objective – he’s not trying to destroy the world. And he is on a straight line to that objective: he is a man seeking revenge. It’s about being focused on the one person he wants to eliminate.” Bardem has also explained about finding the character inside the villain: “It’s always about who’s the person behind the character. It would be very difficult for me to play a role that I just saw as some kind of symbol. In this case, there is a man suffering, a man full of pain and frustration, who simply wants to fix the situation. Within that journey, there was room to be funny or aggressive, but I could perfectly understand who he was, and that helped me to portray him.”
The most significant James Bond film ever to explore a relationship between the M and James Bond characters. Producer Barbara Broccoli says that ‘Skyfall’ explores this relationship perhaps more than in any of the 22 previous films. She has said, “We wanted to really mine the relationship between Bond and M, because it is the most significant relationship he has in his life. M is the only person who represents authority to him. You have two extraordinary actors, and we just thought – let’s go all the way. It’s worked extremely well. It’s a very emotional story.”
According to the UK Sun newspaper, leading Bond Girl Bérénice Marlohe, said that James Bond actor Daniel Craig was coy and hesitant before filming their love scene in the shower. Marlohe said: “He was very shy and when he saw me entering the shower, he was like, ‘Oh my god’. He tried to keep his underpants on for the shower scenes but I said, ‘No, come on, don’t be shy. I will do anything to make you feel comfortable”.
A number of the actors playing smaller parts in the picture never got a script to work with to prepare their scenes. This is due to the production’s strict secrecy protocols, so stringent and tight, that they reflect real life intelligence espionage. Greek actress Tonia Sotiropoulou did not know what she would be doing on the film until the time her scenes were shot. She commented, “I was one of the people who never had a script. I just got told what I’d be doing on the set by the director. They have to be so careful. You have quite strict contracts that say you can’t say anything about the plot. And everyone respects that.”
Around the time of Casino Royale, director Sam Mendes originally thought Daniel Craig was miscast as James Bond. Mendes is quoted by Metro as saying, “I was one of the people who said I didn’t think he was the right casting. At the time, I was asked in an interview and I said, ‘I’m not sure, I would advise him not to do it’.”
Playing blond villain Raoul Silva, Javier Bardem joins a rogues gallery of male blond Bond villains who had blonde hair. The hulking blond assassin Red Grant in From Russia with Love provided a template for a number of series blond European henchmen that would proliferate the franchise: Hans in You Only Live Twice; Erich Kriegler in For Your Eyes Only; Venz in A View to a Kill; Necros in The Living Daylights; Peter Franks in Diamonds Are Forever; Stamper in Tomorrow Never Dies and Goldie in The World Is Not Enough. However, in the official series, Bardem is only the second ever main Bond villain to have blond hair after Christopher Walken as Max Zorin in A View to a Kill. Bardem is the third if one counts Gert Fröbe as the red-blond haired Auric Goldfinger or the fourth if one counts Klaus Maria Brandauer as Maximillian Largo in the unofficial Never Say Never Again. Bardem’s blond hair in the film was not peroxided but was a wig. ‘Skyfall”s 2012 release also marks 25 Years since there has been a leading blond Bond Girl who was Kara Milovy (Maryam d’Abo) in The Living Daylights. Since then, the only significant Blonde Bond Girl was the supporting role of Professor Inga Bergstrom (Cecilie Thomsen) in Tomorrow Never Dies.
The film deals with James Bond’s Scottish ancestry. Bond’s family history was created by Ian Fleming in his penultimate Bond novel “You Only Live Twice”, first published in 1964, it being his 11th Bond novel and his 12th and 3rd to last Bond book. Fleming was inspired to add the back-story of Bond’s genealogy into the book after seeing the character played by Sean Connery in 1962’s Dr. No.
There were 85 versions of James Bond’s Tom Ford suit tailor-made for the opening chase sequence. Thirty were made for actor Daniel Craig and thirty for his double and stunt-double. Each version of the suit was made specifically for a particular scene of the opening sequence. For example, when Craig was riding the motor-bike, a suit with longer sleeves was worn so that it wouldn’t raise up over his forearms. Costume Designer Jany Temime has said: “Each suit had three fittings, like a real traditional Saville Row suit. It was very high class tailoring. The first suit was mohair, very lightweight, woolen silk. The tuxedo is woolen silk. They were all [made of] beautiful fabric. He [would be] jumping and fighting, and then he would stand up, and the suit would be perfect.” Moreover, Craig’s tie had to be weighted for the motorbike section of the chase. The weight kept the tie from flying around when he rode at high speeds.
English Naomie Harris is the second actress of Jamaican descent to play a leading Bond Girl in a Bond movie. American Grace Jones was the first in A View to a Kill. Jones was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica whereas Harris’ mother is from Jamaica, Naomie spending some time there as a child. James Bond creator Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond stories at Goldeneye in Jamaica. The first ever Bond Girl in the official series was Swiss actress Ursula Andress who was first seen in a white bikini emerging from the tranquil sea waters of Jamaica in Dr. No.
The word Sévérine (the name of the Bond Girl played by Bérénice Marlohe) is a French name of Latin origin from the French language and translates into English as meaning “stern”. It is a French feminine variation of the Latin male name “Severus” which is a Saint’s name. Sévérine is made up of eight letters, has three syllables and is pronounced “Sey-Vah-RIY-N”. Sévérine is variant of the name “Severina” used in the Italian, German, Portugese, Romanian and Slavic languages. Other variant forms of the name are Severino, Severinus, Severo, Sevrin and Seweryn.
At the film’s Spanish Premiere at Madrid’s Espanol Theatre on 29th October 2012, a number of the big red carpet stars of the film including Javier Bardem held posters in protest against the dismissal of theater workers during the film’s premiere.
The first James Bond film to be shot entirely digitally (part of one scene in Quantum of Solace was shot digitally). It is also the first film to use the Arri Alexa Studio camera, which cinematographer Roger Deakins selected because, unlike the other Alexa models, it has an optical viewfinder.
Sixth James Bond film in the official series not to use an original Ian Fleming story title. It’s the 007th if one includes the unofficial entry Never Say Never Again. The others were Licence to Kill, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day, the latter of which a decade ago was the last Bond film with a non-Fleming title made prior to ‘Skyfall’. However, Licence to Kill and The World Is Not Enough were actually text phrase that appeared in James Bond novels whilst GoldenEye was the name that Fleming gave to his home in Jamaica.
Ola Rapace plays henchman Patrice. Ola is the ex-husband of Noomi Rapace who starred in the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. James Bond actor Daniel Craig starred in its American remake The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Swede Rapace is the second Scandinavian actor to play a James Bond villain in three Bond films. Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen played the villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale.
Clan of Bond names on the plaques and headstones at the chapel and graveyard include Andrew Bond, Robert Bond, Monique Delacroix Bond, Celia Bond, Kathleen Bond, Elsa/Elsie Louise Bond, Ramsay William Bond, and Margaret Jean Davidson Bond.
The chopper seen at the end of the movie is an AgustaWestland Merlin AW101 helicopter. An AgustaWestland Merlin AW139 helicopter was seen in the opening “Happy and Glorious” sequence of the 2012 London Olympics (see London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony: Isles of Wonder) where stuntmen Mark Sutton and Gary Connery took a skyfall jump in the guise of being James Bond and Queen Elizabeth II respectively.
A total of twenty Honda CRF250R motor-cycles were used for the opening motorcycle chase. The sequence is notable for being performed on narrow roof-top tracks and without any helmets or heavy-duty protective gear. The ‘Police’ and ‘Street Merchant’ bikes seen were ridden by stunt-riders and due to the high speed of the chase, the stunt crew teams filming it also rode the bikes too in order to carry the cameras. For the film, the Honda motor-bikes were modified especially for the stunt sequence by the special effects team of Chris Corbould.
Scriptwriter John Logan wanted to use Shanghai in China as a filming location because “What we were looking for was opposition to London. We wanted exotic locations that seem so unlike the world that he grew up in, the world that he functions in, in a way trying to find places for Bond to be uncomfortable.”
Filming at Pinewood Studios utilized thirty-one different sets on eight different sound stages including the gigantic “007 Stage”. Major sets included the Golden Dragon Casino on D Stage and the Paddock Lot, the exterior of the Dead City Island on the North Lot and the interior of MI6’s underground bunker headquarters on the “007 Stage”, the latter taking 9 weeks and 250 crew to build the set.
Gadgets featured in the film include a tiny radio tracking device; a NFC (Near field communication) enabled Sony Xperia T smart-phone (aka “The Bond Phone”) ; an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Mid-Sized Chronometer watch; an original silver-birch Aston Martin DB5 car with various gadgets including machine gun headlights; a Sony VAIO laptop computer; a Sony Xperia Tablet; and a hand recognition Walther PPK/S 9mm short firearm with a palm-sensitive hammer coded to James Bond’s palm prints.
The quotation that M recites is from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses”, e.g. “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”. First published in 1842, its recitation in ‘Skyfall’ occurs on the poem’s 170th Anniversary.
Javier Bardem was banned from smoking at the on-set location in Hankley, Surrey because of the fire-risk of the dry grass in the field where the set was located.
During the martini scene at the bar, the famous Bond drink catchphrase “Shaken, not stirred” isn’t actually spoken, however, the martini is explicitly concocted on screen, and the bartender makes quite a show out of shaking the martini before pouring it, after which there is a reference to a perfectly prepared cocktail, without saying either shaken or stirred.
First James Bond film in the official series where James Bond is seen drinking beer. The ale is Heineken who contributed a rather large amount of money for the product placements. The Bill Tanner character is also seen drinking the beverage in ‘Skyfall’.
The age of the Grand Bazaar shop where a motorbike crashed through one of its windows during the film’s opening sequence was around 330 years.
First Daniel Craig James Bond movie where the title of the film is mentioned in the opening song.
Villains and henchmen in the film include Raoul Silva aka Tiago Rodriguez (Javier Bardem), Patrice (Ola Rapace), Sévérine (Bérénice Marlohe), a Boat Captain (Milorad Kapor), as well as two henchmen and seven mercenaries working for Silva.
The traditional end-of-movie James Bond official series coda “James Bond Will Return” is included during the film’s closing credits.
Weaponry and guns in the film include an Anderson Wheeler double-barreled chambered 500 NE (Nitro Express) hunting rifle belonging to James Bond’s father; Silva’s reproduction Percussion Cap Ardesa 1871 Duelling Pistol; Kincade’s Colt Model 1878 shotgun; two Steyr M9-A1 pistols; various Heckler & Koch HK416 assault rifles belonging to Silva’s men; Heckler & Koch G36C rifles with G36V carry handles used by the Metropolitan Police Service’s CO19 officers; M4-style carbine assault rifles used by Mi6 security officers; Eve’s Olympic Arms K23B rifle; various standard Glock 17 pistols; a 100 round drum mag semi-automatic Glock 18 machine pistol-class pistol used by Patrice who also has a sniper rifle and a hand recognition Walther PPK/S 9mm short firearm with a palm-sensitive hammer coded to James Bond’s palm prints.
Reportedly, ‘Skyfall’ is the first ever James Bond film in the official series where production notes and publicity materials generally refer to the leading actresses in the film as ‘Bond Women’ and not as ‘Bond Girls’.
‘Skyfall’ has been described as a techno-Bond film, one for the Information Technology age, a computer-savvy Bond film that is the “first social media Bond movie” according to the ‘Live Mint Wall Street Journal’. The film’s technological theme is represented by the following: the new Q character is a young computer genius who has been said to have been based on people like Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg; many of the gadgets are Sony Electronics products like Bravia TVs, Vaio laptops & computers, Xperia tablets & smart-phones like the Sony Xperia TL phone; the terrorism is cyber-terrorism, the villain Raoul Silva is a cyber-terrorist who puts MI6 under cyber-attack; a YouTube video reveals the identities of a number of MI6 agents; and M (Judi Dench) loses a drive containing the identities of agents embedded in terrorist organizations around the globe. Ironically, Ben Whishaw who plays Q reportedly doesn’t even own a computer whilst Javier Bardem who plays cyber-villain Silva had to undertake computer lessons on how to use a computer for the film, Bardem has said, “for me just to write an email is like I’m doing rocket science”.
“The Jellyfish” was the nick-name of a set built with every wall, floor and ceiling made of glass. It was built to substitute for a Shanghai skyscraper in the film at Pinewood Studios and was likened to being like “a hall of mirrors”. ‘Skyfall’ cinematographer Roger Deakins has said: “Because it was all glass, the crew walking through it kept bashing into things”. For filming, Deakins lit the set with two gigantic LED (Light Emitting Diode) panels which were used to represent electronic billboards exterior to the skyscraper’s office’s windows. The production had originally location scouted for a Chinese skyscraper but this proved unsuccessful, the substitute set providing improvements by being multi-dimensionally made of glass. The sequence in ‘Skyfall’ that “The Jellyfish” is seen is when James Bond (Daniel Craig) is on the track of an assassin on the way to a Shanghai office complex. In the earlier James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun, a hall of mirrors was seen during the opening sequence and at the film’s denouement.
A number of new books on James Bond were released in 2012, many around the time of early October 2012 a few weeks before ‘Skyfall’ was first released and around the time that the franchise celebrated its 50th Golden Anniversary on 5th October 2012. The books include “Bond on Bond” by Sir Roger Moore; “The James Bond Archives” by Paul Duncan; “Bond On Set: Filming Skyfall” by Greg Williams; “LIFE: 50 Years of James Bond” by the Editors of LIFE Books; “James Bond 50 Years of Movie Posters” by DK Publishing; “The Music of James Bond” by Jon Burlingame; “James Bond Unmasked” by Bill Desowitz; “All About Bond” by Terry O’Neill; “Amazing & Extraordinary Facts – James Bond” by Michael Paterson; ; “The World of James Bond: From Dr No to Skyfall” by Luke Quantrill; “Ken Adam Designs the Movies: James Bond and Beyond” by Christopher Frayling and Sir Ken Adam; and “The Many Lives and Deaths of James Bond: From Casino Royale to Skyfall” by Nader Elhefnawy; “James Bond: The Unofficial Reference to the Man, the Books, the Movies, and the Man Who Invented It All” by Jennifer Warner and LifeCaps; “How to Live the James Bond Lifestyle: The Complete Seminar” by Paul Kyriazi; the 2nd 2012 edition of “James Bond 007: The Definitive Guide” by Paul Fleming; the 2nd edition of “James Bond Drinks: The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond” by David Leigh and “Essential James Bond Quotes” by William Rogers and “A Brief Guide to James Bond” by Nigel Cawthorne;
To prepare for the grueling physical demands of her action role as Eve, actress Naomie Harris was given a personal trainer and worked-out for around two months for two hours a day, five days a week. For this, Harris did yoga, kick-boxing, running and circuit training. Moreover, for one day of the week, Harris did combat fighting training; for one-two days of the week, Harris did stunt driving training and for three days a week, Harris fired guns on a shooting range learning to shoot machine guns and Walther PPKs.
When Bond and Q meet in the National Gallery in London, Q makes a joke about to give an “exploding pen” to Bond when this one moans about the tools received to fulfill the mission. It’s a nod for GoldenEye, where the previous Q (Desmond Llewelyn) gave an exploding pen to the too previous Bond (Pierce Brosnan).
The role of Kincade played by Albert Finney was originally written with Sean Connery in mind and the producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson originally wanted Connery to come out of retirement and make a surprise cameo. Director Sam Mendes told ‘The Huffington Post’, “There was a definite discussion about [Connery playing Kincade] – way, way early on. But I think that’s problematic. Because, to me, it becomes too… it would take you out of the movie. Connery is Bond and he’s not going to come back as another character. It’s like, he’s been there. So, it was a very brief flirtation with that thought, but it was never going to happen, because I thought it would distract.”
During this film’s development and early stages of pre-production, ‘Variety’ columnist Liz Smith once wrote about ‘Skyfall’, then known as ‘Bond 23’, being filmed in New York using its Primola Restaurant as one of it’s locations. Published on Wednesday 10th September 2008, the piece read: “WHO WAS that blond stunner who froze forks mid-air at the posh Primola eatery in N.Y.? Oh yes indeed, it was Daniel Craig, 007 himself. The studly Daniel was accompanied by his producer Barbara Broccoli. (She is the daughter of Albert “Cubby” Broccoli [Albert R. Broccoli], who co-produced all the James Bond films until his death in 1996 [sic, until Licence to Kill]. Barbara took over and now has a “license to film.”) Daniel and Barbara talked about the next Bond epic, part of which will be filmed – for the very first time! – in New York [sic, Live and Let Die was filmed in New York]. Primola itself will have a little cameo. Maybe Daniel just wanted to see if the restaurant could handle those shoulders of his.” It turned out that New York apparently was never actually under consideration as a filming location for ‘Skyfall’.
The script was heavily revised by John Logan, even throughout filming. When filming wrapped, it had been revised 13 times since the third draft.
The painting that Q and Bond view at the National Gallery is The Fighting Temeraire (1839) by J.M.W Turner. The painting depicts H.M.S Temeraire, being a part of the British armada that participated in the Battle of Trafalgar 1805 decommissioned and towed from Sheerness to Rotherhithe to be broken up in 1838. Turner’s main motive of painting that was to evoke a sense of loss rather than giving a recording of the event. In a metaphorical way, the painting’s depiction provides a hint to the fate of M by the end of the film.
The first time a character is audibly heard saying the “F word” in a Bond movie. In the 25th anniversary Bond film The Living Daylights, Bond clearly says “For f***’s sake!” but it cannot be heard due to plane engine noise.
This film and the previous two Bond films have villains with names based on colors. They are Raoul Silva (silver) in ‘Skyfall’, Dominic Greene (green) in Quantum of Solace, and Mr. White in both Casino Royale and of Quantum of Solace.
James Bond actor Daniel Craig told ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine that he wanted ‘Skyfall’ to be his third and final Bond movie, saying, “I’ve been trying to get out of this from the very moment I got into it but they won’t let me go”. Craig has signed on for the next two James Bond films, both Bond 24 and Bond 25
Javier Bardem apparently was once offered a role in an earlier James Bond film prior to ‘Skyfall’, perhaps even the role of James Bond himself (though this is unlikely). Bardem told CinemaBlend, “Years ago, I was [offered Bond]. I don’t remember what movie it was for. But yeah, it just was not that time. I didn’t feel that it was the time for me to do something like that. And also, I was doing something else, so I passed. This time, when I read it, I felt that it was very powerful material, and I wanted to join [a Bond movie].”
The movie features 172 scenes.
‘Skyfall’ is partly set in Istanbul, Turkey. Turkish producer Ali Akdeniz who has worked on both The World Is Not Enough and ‘Skyfall’ says that the location of this part of the film was particularly chosen as a homage to the James Bond character’s connections with Istanbul, once known as “The City of Spies”. James Bond creator Ian Fleming once visited Istanbul in June 1955 for an Interpol Conference which he was covering on behalf of “The Sunday Times”. The event provided both a setting and much background information for his Bond novel of From Russia with Love. For example, Fleming met Nazim Kalkavan, an Oxford educated man who inspired the Darko Kerim character. Moreover, whilst there, Fleming covered the “Istanbul Pogroms” aka “The Great Riot of Istanbul” which was published in “The Sunday Times” on 11th September 1955. When Fleming left the conference, he traveled by train, commenting that the experience was drab because there had been no dining car. Interestingly, both ‘Skyfall’ and From Russia with Love involve trains, both the London subway tube and a Turkish train in Adana in ‘Skyfall’ and The Orient Express in From Russia with Love.
The explosion sequence in the film’s climax was shot over two consecutive nights. It’s the second consecutive Bond film where the film’s climax and denouement results in the blowing-up and explosion of a landmark building. In Quantum of Solace it was a facility in the desert, in ‘Skyfall’ it’s a mansion in the English country. Ironically, prior to the big bang, Javier Bardem was banned from smoking at the on-set location because of the fire-risk of the dry grass in the field where the set was located.
This film is the first time that two actors playing the character of M, in this case Judi Dench and M successor Ralph Fiennes, have shared the screen in the same scenes.
When James uses his father Andrew Bond’s rifle, an “AB” can be seen engraved on it. These are also the initials of Bond Producer Albert Broccolli.
Actress Bérénice Marlohe has said that she has based her inspiration on her Sévérine character on “The Chimera” which is from the Greek Mythology. Also known as “The Chimaera” or “The Chimæra”, Wikipedia defines The Chimera as a “she-goat… a monstrous fire-breathing female creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of three animals: a lion, a serpent and a goat. Usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat arising from its back, and a tail that ended in a snake’s head, the Chimera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra. The term chimera has also come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals.” Marlohe has said “I wanted to have that dangerousness spreading through her, but at the same time I wanted to create a real human being with a range of emotions and the inner struggles we go through as human beings.”
Actress Judi Dench and director Sam Mendes first worked together on the stage in a production of Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard”. ‘Skyfall’ is released in the 50th Anniversary Year of the series in 2012 which started with Dr. No. Around the time of the first James Bond film Dr. No was released, Dench was also appearing as Anya in Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard as well.
The bottle of alcohol that Silva offers Bond on his island says, in big letters, “1962” on its label, referencing the franchise’s 50th anniversary. Silva pours a shot each for both Bond and himself, simulating a sort of “toast” to celebrate.
Skyfall is the second time Javier Bardem has worked with Director of Photography Roger Deakins. The first was No Country for Old Men. Bardem features as the main villain in both films.
Bardem’s performance – he gives good whackjob!
New Q, New M, New Moneypenny
Wow – that ending!
Positives: The best Craig Bond film to date; Craig has definitely made Bond his own, like Roger Moore did; classic and elegant with some visually stunning moments; A different type of Bond movie; great hero and great villain; makes us care for the characters; Mendes gave a great shot in the arm to the franchise!; the first Bond film to really feel like it’s set in the current affairs of the world
Negatives: Mendes took a pop concept and threw in Freud – not a good combination; Trying to revive the franchise, Mendes took the characters too far away from their roots; The franchise has jumped the shark (or should be wearing Depends)
What We Learned:
Everyone needs a hobby
Youth is a not a guarantee for innovation
A moving target is harder to hit
Jeff: WOW! I loved this movie! Very classic but modern Bond. It felt like a very smooth transition to a new generation. I applaud the Sam Mendes
Ray: Although a bit long.. and a bit heavy on the exploration of Bonds past..it was an entertaining film that had an AMAZING performance by Javier Bardem. This makes me excited for the future of the franchise.
Steve: Actually might be up there as one of my favorite Bond films. It was wall to wall action out of the gate and an interesting story, even though it was long. Definitely worth seeing, even if you’re not a total Bond geek – although I don’t know that it’s a must see in the theaters.
The Future: World War Z
Release: June 21 2013
Director: Marc Forster
Starring: Brad Pitt, Anthony Mackie, Bryan Cranston
As a zombie pandemic traverses the globe, United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt) travels the world trying to find a way to stop the pandemic that is defeating armies and collapsing governments as they try to prevent social collapse.
Jeff: Brad Pitt zombie movie. Not a high priority but I’d definitely go see it. I don’t trust it compared to the book though. Which I haven’t read or listed to.
Ray: Looks like it departs WILDLY from the book.. which makes me sad. Ill probably go see it though regardless.
Steve: I love the book – especially the audiobook – so I have some high expectations for this one. The trailer is impressive, but I want to see some more elements from the book because that’s what I’m looking for – those individual stories that make it so interesting. Looks good for what it is though, so I’ll still see it.