It’s safe to say that principal photography of Bond 25 hasn’t gone entirely smoothly. First there was Daniel Craig’s ankle injury incurred during the Jamaica location shoot, and then a “controlled explosion” got out of control, blowing exterior wall panels off Pinewood’s legendary 007 Stage, injuring a member of the crew and prompting a visit from the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The tabloids have leapt on these events as evidence of a Bond 25 curse, piling on the misery with a story that director Cary Joji Fukunaga kept cast and crew waiting for three hours while he got in some quality videogame time. Clearly this got under Fukunaga’s skin and he refuted the claim via Instagram, saying “As for my PS4 relationship, if my RDR2 progress is any indication, it’s been stunted at 63% for months and if anyone spoils the end for me before I wrap on B25 I’m going to be pissed.” That might not tell us a great deal (after all, he could just be crap at Red Dead Redemption II) but this story seems inspired by the “difficult” reputation he acquired during the production of It and True Detective, one built on creative disputes rather than sheer unprofessionalism. With this much negative and sensational reporting coming, it’s almost as if someone is trying to settle a score, using the media as their tool…
However, the week has been full of much more positive news, so let’s focus on that.
The 007 Twitter account kicked things off with an image of Daniel Craig laying on a gun show in the Pinewood gym before a Naomie Harris interview in EW allowed that she was due to start filming this week. Around the same time writer Adam Tanswell teased his interview with Rami Malek which includes Malek’s opinion that the production is on track despite schedule changes and the admission that he’s already shot some scenes in Norway.
The HSE was then reported to have closed its investigation into the Pinewood explosion without seeing a need for further action. More recent pictures from inside the 007 Stage showed a load of broken breakaway glass but flats and scaffolds still standing, suggesting the damage wasn’t as severe as we were lead to believe.
Along with the ice lake scenes shot in April Bond 25 has also shot some driving scenes on Norway’s spectacular Atlantic Ocean Road featuring an old friend: the Aston Martin V8 Vantage as driven by Timothy Dalton’s Bond in 1987’s The Living Daylights. Aston has played a big part in this week’s Bond news, announcing that its AM-RB 003 concept car exhibited at the Geneva Motor Show will be called Valhalla for production but being cagey about any Bond 25 involvement. Pictures soon emerged of the car on the Pinewood lot though, followed by a press release from Aston Martin that the car will indeed appear in Bond 25 along with the V8 Vantage and Bond’s iconic silver DB5 (note to everyone else: this is how you coordinate your media strategies and make the most of your partnerships). Even The Sun was able to get excited about this bit.
The crowning achievement of the week came yesterday when long-standing Aston aficionado and Bond fan Charles, Prince of Wales visited Pinewood to meet the cast, inspect the cars and tour the set, highlights of which you can see on The Royal Family YouTube Channel. There’s a lot going on there, including Craig walking around perfectly normally while explaining to the future King how the DB5 is one of five replicas with a modern engine and chassis, suggesting these will be the action cars rather than the Valhalla. Our pal Phil Nobile Jr. notes that Lashana Lynch, seen on what looks like the Moneypenny’s office set with Naomie Harris, is wearing a safari jacket which may well be a tribute to the item sported by Roger Moore in The Man With The Golden Gun.
Importantly, one does not just pick up the phone to Buck House and ask if Charlie fancies dropping by to give a movie a publicity boost: this visit will have been in the works for months, meaning that whatever slippage the production schedule is facing, it’s not enough to have any impact on some of the more peculiarly British traditions and associations of the Bond franchise. At the same time, the wave of positivity surrounding it is a pretty sweet antidote to all the negativity, and surely the production will be trying to keep that momentum going as filming starts in earnest.
How are you feeling about all this? Feeling buoyed up by the progress, or still struggling under the Bond 25 curse? Saving your pennies for a Valhalla or sticking with your V8 Vantage? Spotted any other goodies in the set visit video? Sound off in the comments below.
As of this writing, Bond 25 will be released in the UK on April 3rd 2020 and April 8th 2020 worldwide. Header photo used with permission via Aston Martin.