Kai Martin has worked on five James Bond films. Previously we were talking about four of them: Interview with Kai Martin – stuntman who has played in 5 James Bond films. This time Kai told about his work on ‘No Time to Die’.
Piotr Zajac (bondlocations): Good afternoon Kai. It’s great to see you again. We’ve talked last time in May 2020 when it was too early to talk about ‘No Time to Die’. After the premiere of the latest James Bond film you can finally reveal some stories behind the scenes.
Kai Martin: To be honest my involvement in this film was more limited than expected. I’m just very happy that I’ve eventually worked on it. In terms of volume of work that I’ve previously done on Bond films it wasn’t nearly as much. Lots of things have changed for everybody. I think originally I got a call from my good friend Lee Morrison in July 2018. He said that he just had a meeting with Barbara (Broccoli). He got a job and he was very excited. He wanted me to work on it. I was super excited so I’ve started to train and getting in shape. Then there were some changes in the script. There was another director. They had a few other doubles as well. There were so many things beyond my own control that have changed. In the end when they asked me to work on it I had another job. It amazingly turned out that I finished that job on Saturday and on Monday I was on ‘No Time to Die’ set because they really needed a double. In the end I was working on that film only for about three months.
When could we see you on the screen?
Daniel shot two guards on the head. It was Andrei and myself.
Which part of the film was that?
It was on Safin’s island. Bond with a gun comes up the stairs. There are two guys with guns aimed at him. I was one of those along with Andrei. That was very brief moment but it somehow got into the trailer. (smiling) I managed to make it again. It was a brief moment but a moment is better than no moment.
It was filmed in Pinewood Studios. Did you go to some other locations?
I went to Matera. That was beautiful city. I was there for under a month.
What was your job in Matera?
I did quite a lot of rehearsals. There is a scene with Bond visiting Vesper’s grave. Jean-Charles Rousseau did the stunt on the filming day but I rehearsed that.
I know that the graves were built on location in Matera just for filming. Were they rebuilt after each shot with explosion?
I think they only shot it once or twice. Anyway it was quite an easy reset.
Were you involved in filming of the chase in Matera?
There was a fight in washing lines. We rehearsed it so much at Pinewood Studios. We had general layout and dimensions of what we would have in Matera from art department. We’ve created a mock-up of the set. Then we’ve started rehearsals at Pinewood in a little square with clothes on lines. We got the general mechanics of the fight. Then we moved to Matera and imprinted on location what we’ve created in the studio. Sometimes things can change then. It can be changed on the day as well. It depends how the director feels, how actors feel. It can be quite a long process.
Have you worked on other locations?
I was also working in Ascot in UK. Part of the car chase in Norway was filmed there. I was involved in some pick-up shots with Bond’s SUV. I was the driver but I wasn’t doing anything crazy. There were pick-up shots with Bond shooting with bazooka. I was also involved in the scene with the bad guy falling off the bike after hitting the rope that Bond set up between trees.
How were you involved in those scenes?
I turned up on the day to rehearse some things.
You rehearse the scene before filming to check if everyone and everything is ready for shooting?
The scene is designed and then there is a rehearsal to feel it out, to see how it works. Sometimes on the day when we shoot we line up the camera.
Film director Cary Fukunaga said during the meeting at Camerimage Film Festival 2021 that he didn’t like filming the part in the forest because of the artificial fog.
There are a lot of sets where special effects crew makes smoke. I remember being on ‘Robin Hood’. It was so smoky. ‘Game of Thrones’ as well. It has also very unique smell.
Have you worked on Cuban set at Pinewood?
There is a scene with Nomi and scientist Valdo on a zip line. I rehearsed that.
That was very cold on the set as far as I know.
Yes. That was horrible. I think we rehearsed that in October. From roof to roof in a cold. Sometimes it is like that. Sometimes the rigs need to be rehearsed so they are ready for the guys who are doing that on the day.
How much did you know about the plot when you were filming?
I’ve read certain moment of the script. Then there were so many changes.
What do you thing about this film?
I think that it was amazing that this particular Bond had the opportunity to explore and complete the full journey. Very often when you work on a film like that it is left open-ended. There is always ‘what if’. This one was done. It was quite an unique journey and an amazing way to bring it to an end. The stunts very spectacular, they were great. Perhaps there wasn’t that volume they’ve had in previous Bond films.
Do you want to be back in a new James Bond film?
No. I’m done. For me it’s been 15 years of my life from when Gary Powell called me, gave me the opportunity and completely changed my world. I’m so blessed and so amazed to have that Bond journey for 15 years. It’s like the olympics of stunts. Some athletes never get the opportunity to say ‘I am retiring’. As a stuntmen you never have the opportunity to say ‘I’m done’. You just fade out into the dark. The story told by Daniel is done. It had the beginning and the end. Normally there is the beginning and then … . I watched that and said: ‘Thank you. I’m done’. I don’t think I will ever be on the Bond set again. That has been a big chapter in my life and it is definitely finished. That is nice to have that feeling.
So what are you plans for the future?
I would like to move more into the acting. That is where I see myself. Maybe stunt coordinating.
I keep fingers cross. Good luck with your plans.
January 26th 2022