Skyfall: Behind the scenes with Land Rover

The opening sequence of the new James Bond movie, Skyfall, sees Bond give chase in a Land Rover Defender 110 through the streets of Istanbul.

The action is fast paced, dangerous and all at close quarters. There are no CGI or projected backdrops behind the car, yet Daniel Craig and Naomie Harris as his partner, Eve, manage to handle the driving perfectly.

If you are wondering how that's possible, it is because they aren't driving - and no, the car isn't on a flat-back lorry either.

Turning to Jaguar Land Rover to help, the Bond production team worked with the car company behind the iconic 4x4 to create the scene and many others in the movie using more than 77 vehicles, on and off screen.

For the Defender 110 scene the Bond production crew used seven Defenders, with many modifications made by the special effects department to achieve the stunts and action required by the script.

Two of those cars were even fitted with a special remote driving pods on the roof so Ben Collins (ex-Top Gear Stig) could drive while still giving the impression Eve was at the wheel.

The pod allowed full control of the car at 8ft above the ground. But it wasn't just a case of sticking a driver on top - something that in itself was pretty dangerous - Chris Corbould, special effects supervisor for Skyfall, told Pocket-lint at a private preview screening of the new Bond movie before its official UK release.

The car underwent several other improvements to make sure it could stand up to the pressures and demands of filming.

The wheels were spread to give better stability, engines were modified for greater power and vehicles converted to automatic.

Other vehicles were fitted with complete interior roll cages to give stunt drivers maximum safety when driving close to the edge. 

"The close collaboration between the special effects department and Land Rover was integral to the success of this sequence," explained Oscar-winner Corbould, who has worked on a number of Bond and Christopher Nolan movies such as Inception and the three new Batman films.

Corbould, a master in his field, devised the famous tank chase in Moscow in Goldeneye (his favourite) as well as looking after the precarious ice lake driving sequence in Die Another Day.

"Every time a car went past we could hear the ice beneath us crack," he recalled. "The day after shooting it [the lake] was deemed unsafe."  

Why not just do it all in CGI? Corbould isn't having any of it, telling us that the "Bond films let me create an environment I can explore", as well as saying that the Nolan and the Bond team "force the CGI guys to live in the film's reality" rather than the other way around.

But it's not just the Land Rover Defender that gets a look in on the car front, the Jaguar XJ is used exclusively by M, and the Range Rover makes an appearance as well when Bond is in London.

Other cars spotted in the film include an Audi, VW Beetle, a Mercedes, and the Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger.

 

 

 



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