IGN Has Seen the Skyfall
We visit the set of James Bond's new movie.
We were among several media outlets invited to Pinewood Studios in England last week to observe the filming of Skyfall
, the 23rd James Bond
movie. Here's what we saw, so be advised that there's some spoilerish
Officially, Skyfall sees MI6 come under attack, revealing M's (Judi Dench
) dark past and testing 007's (Daniel Craig
) loyalty to her as he goes after the threat no matter the cost. Beyond that, the cast and filmmakers wouldn't reveal much more. In the sequence we witnessed being shot, Pinewood's famed 007 Stage had been transformed into the Temple Street station of the London underground for the climactic portion of an extended chase that takes place midway through the film.
Bond has pursued his quarry Silva (Javier Bardem
) into a tunnel. After an exchange of gunfire, Silva, who is dressed as a Metropolitan Police officer, triggers an explosion in the wall behind Bond that will send the train traveling above crashing through the ceiling, nearly killing both hero and villain. Alas, we only saw the explosion and not the train derailment, which was scheduled to be shot the next day. This sequence is one of two major train stunt set-pieces in Skyfall (the other will be shot in Turkey in the coming weeks), both of which were designed by Oscar-winning special effects whiz Chris Corbould
and his team.
In addition to the Tube station, sets at Pinewood have included an MI6 safe house, an abandoned Japanese island city, a Shanghai highrise and a waterfront casino in Macau. The two-story casino set, which was still being built with pieces from China, will see Bond (gasp!) meet a beautiful woman for a drink at the bar. The haunting abandoned city, inspired by Japan's Hashima Island
, is where Bond meets Silva. It was an eerie, striking setting of dilapidated buildings, abandoned bicycles and a giant, fallen statue of a leader in the middle of the town center.
There are only about six weeks of filming left, with the production slated to finish at Pinewood within the next two weeks and then relocating to Turkey where filming will wrap in late May. Skyfall began shooting in early November and locations have included Shanghai, the Scottish Highlands, Surrey and London. With 2012 marking the 50th anniversary of Bond on film
, it seems fitting that 007 should literally come home to London for it, but Craig was quick to caution us not to read too much into the role the capital city plays in the film.
"That's actually a little bit of a misconception. We're filming a lot in London, but it's only because we get photographed in London every time we go out into the streets. But the rest of the time we've been here in Pinewood on huge sets, which are based all around the world," said Craig during a roundtable interview.
"We're about to leave for Turkey next week, which will sort of double the number of locations. We're using London in a very particular way. Sam [Mendes
, the director] and everybody, we were all very keen to capture the parts of London you wouldn't ordinarily see but that Bond would have access to. So it's partially very much about London and partially about lots of other things."
Then what exactly IS Skyfall
about? That's a very good question we never really got answered. Unlike during our Quantum of Solace
set visit in 2008, where Bond producer Michael G. Wilson pretty much spilled all the beans about the film on the record, the cast and filmmakers this time around were more tight-lipped than Christopher Nolan on a wiretapped phone. (That's probably why Wilson wasn't on set this time!)
So what do we know about the movie? Well, we now know that the "government official" played by Ralph Fiennes
is named Mallory and that he has oversight over M and MI6 and, judging from the first photo of him
, he's also handy with a gun. Mallory is also said to have a contentious relationship with M. "Yes, we do lock horns in this, but then I think I lock horns with nearly everybody this time," said Dench, who wrapped on the film the previous week.
"There's more to it [this time]," said Dench of how M and Bond's relationship is different in this film than in the prior two entries. "By nature of the fact that she has more to do and I think you see that she's an altered person a bit. ... There's more of her and she's not being kept in that shed in the back." (Dench also certainly wouldn't comment on those rumors
making the rounds online.)
We know Naomie Harris
plays an MI6 field agent named Eve who has a relationship with Bond. He also romances the morally ambiguous Severine (Berenice Marlohe
), a character who the actress said also has a few scenes with Silva. "The terms we use to describe her are glamorous and enigmatic," said Marlohe during a roundtable chat. "Enigmatic is important because you can't really put her in one of the classic categories of good or a villain. This is very interesting and it is also what Daniel did with James Bond
. His colors are not that obvious. So I like this word enigmatic. I like to give her the most complexity of a human being and not determine color."
Likewise, Oscar winner Javier Bardem
enjoyed the opportunities presented by the role of Silva. "It's always about the material and when I read it, it was very strong, very well put together and very powerful in many ways and that the character that they were offering me had a lot of different possibilities to have fun doing it and also create a person," he recalled. "I didn't see a reason to say no to this and I'm glad I didn't because I'm having a lot of fun."
We also learned during our chat with the film's armorer Joss Skottowe that Bond not only fires his usual Walther PPK as well as a machine gun during the film, but also antique English flintlock pistols and one hell of an old school elephant gun. Pity the poor ****** who buys it from that beast! (And, yes, we got to hold Bond's Walther PPK and, no, that's not a euphemism.)
The film's title certainly has a doomsday-esque connotation to it with the idea of the sky falling. "We think it sounds like a Fleming title for that very reason, Skyfall. His titles always had many meanings. And when you see the movie, you'll understand," said producer Barbara Broccoli