In 2012 Daniel Craig, who has played James Bond 5 times in: ‘Casino Royale’, ‘Quantum of Solace’, ‘Skyfall’, ‘Spectre’ and ‘No Time to Die’, was present in Berlin at the premiere of ‘Skyfall’. I had a chance to photograph him at that event.
In 2012 Daniel Craig, who has played James Bond 5 times in: ‘Casino Royale’, ‘Quantum of Solace’, ‘Skyfall’, ‘Spectre’ and ‘No Time to Die’, was present in Berlin at the premiere of ‘Skyfall’. I had a chance to photograph him at that event.
At the beginning of ‘No Time to Die’ Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) had flashback of her mother’s death while swimming in the sea in Italy. After that she and James Bond (Daniel Craig) in Aston Martin DB5 took the scenic road at the sea. After a few corners they entered the tunnel that led to Matera.
The sequence with Aston Martin DB5 was filmed from a helicopter in the south of Italy on road SS18 Tirrena Inferiore between Sapri and Acquafredda. It began near Canale di Mezzanotte on the border between Campania and Basilicata. It ended a few corners later below the tower called Torre dei Crivi. In the film Matera was right after the tunnel. In reality it would have to be 200 km long! Matera is located on the eastern side of the Apennine peninsula, about 60 km from the Adriatic Sea. The SS18 Tirrena Inferiore road runs along the Tyrrhenian Sea, on the opposite side of the peninsula. Filmmakers wanted to film the seqence in in the setting sun therefore, they sought a suitable route on the western side of the peninsula.
The tunnel they entered was not real. CGI was used to create it. In the film you can see the wall of the tunnel covering third arch of the bridge (photo below) and part of the road on the right.
There is real tunnel around the next corner but it is very short and there is no Matera behind it as you can see below.
The same location was used to film the very last scene with Madeleine Swann driving Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
Go to LOCATIONS GALLERY – ‘NO TIME TO DIE’ to see locations photos compared with movie scenes.
Mathilde Bourbin is a French actress. She is also a writer and producer. For Bond fans she is known as mother of Madeleine Swann from ‘No Time to Die’.
Piotr Zajac (bondlocations): How did you get the part in ‘No Time to Die’? Did you know that it was for that film when you got invited for the audition ?
Mathilde Bourbin: I just knew that I was going to meet Debbie McWilliams who was casting for Bond films, but it was absolutely not specified for which film that particular casting was. I thought: ‘Let’s go there. I’m gonna get really prepared for that audition because I’m going to meet a very important casting director’. When I got to the casting place I had to sign a nondisclosure agreement and then I knew that it was for the Bond film.
Was the audition in London?
It was in France. The first one was in a casting room where I regularly audition for French productions. This is a working place for many casting directors. The second audition was in a hotel near Champs-Élysées in Paris.
How did the audition look like? How did you prepare for that?
Bond films are really specific. Everything is a secret. I knew very, very little about the script. For the first audition, I just knew that I was going to play an alcoholic mother. I didn’t even know if I had to speak French or English. Knowing this, I really worked on addictions, alcohol. I already was a mother, but I had to ewplore the relationship with a young kid when you are addicted. I did a big job on that with my coach. For the second audition I knew that I was still an alcoholic mother but I also knew that there was a man with a mask. That was all I knew. I had to get prepared for all kind of scenarios.
Was it something special for you to get a part in James Bond film? Are you a Bond fan?
Yes, definitely. As a kid I was into the James Bond films and especially into the Bond music. I really like all the themes. They are like invitations to dreams. When you listen to the Bond theme from any film you can feel the atmosphere and dream of being in action or maybe in a romance. As a kid I was listening to that music a lot. As a girl I didn’t want to be a Bond girl. I just wanted to be Bond.
What is your favourite Bond music?
For me the emblematic one is, of course, the James Bond theme from ‘Dr. No’ by John Barry. It is like ‘the’ Bond track. I really like the ‘Goldeneye’ and ‘Skyfall’ scores. I also like ‘No Time to Die’ a lot. When I listened to the track for the first time I thought that it was weird but later I really liked it.
You got the part but you couldn’t talk about that.
Definitely. I informed my very, very close family and my best friend. I also told some other close friends after lockdown, but nobody else. I was very superstitious about it. I thought that maybe my part would be deleted from the film if too many people would know about it. (smiling)
How much time has passed between the audition and filming?
It was about two months. I got the part and then I had to go to London to do rehearsals with the actual script. I had to try on my costumes. Then we shot in Norway.
You had quite a number of costumes to try on.
Yes. Sooo many. (smiling) So many pajamas, socks, earrings, necklaces … I had to try so many things so Cary (Fukunaga) could choose something that would fit his idea.
Did you have anything to say about your costume or was it just director’s choice?
No, it was Cary’s choice. I could just say if something was uncomfortable for me. But I was in pajamas so all of them were comfortable.
Did you have any rehearsals at Pinewood Studios before actual filming?
I had a rehearsal at Pinewood with Coline (Defaud) who played my daughter. It was not on the set, but in Cary’s office.
Then you were filming on the set in Norway. How long did you stay there?
We have been shooting for five days.
Was it cold?
It was very cold, also in the house. It was really built on the lake so increasing the temperature inside would melt the ice. Everybody was wearing warm clothes.
How did you work on the set? Did you have to take part in all activities such as lights setting or was there someone else doing it?
There was a Norwegian girl dressed like my character who was doing all the lights fittings. That was at the beginning of the day. During the day I was on the set as long as possible to feel the atmosphere.
Did you have to spend a long time in makeup room each day?
It wasn’t that long. Basically it is easier to make someone look ugly than beautiful. They just put some grease in my hair, added some red and dark on my eyes and that was it. I had also some brown on my fingers and on my teeth because my character was smoking a lot. I was ready in less than 15 minutes.
Did you work on the set with Rami Malek or with his double?
If I remember correctly, the first two days I worked with his double, Sebastien (Soudais). He was walking in the snow. Rami had a coach who was taught him how the poison could affect his body, his walk, the way he was standing. The coach gave all these information to Sebastien so he was moving the same way as Rami would. I think that Rami arrived on the third day. His character was wearing the mask but he was shooting the scene in person.
Did you have a chance to spend some time with Rami Malek?
Yes. I had lunch with him. We talked a little bit about his career. How it started. What the Oscar changed in his life. He was really sweet, very humble. He is a very nice person.
How much did you know about the plot?
I just got the script of the Norway part, but I didn’t know much about the rest of the film.
But you knew at least that your character’s granddaughter would be Mathilde.
Yes. Cary told me about that. I think that he found it funny that the little girl had the same name as me. So I knew that Madeleine would have a daughter.
Was her name inspired by your real name?
I don’t think it had any connection. Actually you should ask Cary about that.
Anyway it was probably nice that you were told about that.
Yes. I really liked this fact.
After filming you had to wait quite a lot of time for the premiere. You were not present at World Premiere but you’ve attended the premiere in Paris.
I was invited to London but unfortunately I couldn’t go there. I had not enough vaccination doses according to UK regulations at that time.
How were you feeling watching your scenes on screen?
I thought to myself: ‘I’m not crazy. It happened’. It all felt so unreal. It was 2,5 years waiting to watch the movie. I couldn’t talk about it with anybody during that time. Sometimes I had thoughts like: ‘Maybe it didn’t happen. Maybe it was all in my head. Maybe it was just a dream.’ I new that it wasn’t a dream but part of me couldn’t believe in that. When the movie started and my character appeared, I cried out of relief.
Have you seen your scenes before the premiere?
I saw it because I did dubbing and post-synchronization.
Did all your scenes were used in the film or some of them were deleted?
The whole scene was in the film, but after editing, some of the sequences looked differently from what we shot. For example, in the scene where my character dies, you can see feathers mixed with blood explode from my body. In the film you don’t see it. There is Madeleine’s reaction instead. Then you see feathers falling down around the Madeleine’s mother’s dead body.
How was it done that feathers were flying after your character was shot?
I was covered with explosives.
That sounds scary. Were you not afraid?
I was really stressed at first. I wanted to see one explosion before it exploded on me. They put one on a little table and activated it. I could hear how loud it was and see what the impact was. Then I touched it to feel whether it was hot or not. When I realized it was 100% safe I had no problem anymore. I was still a little stressed but not because of the explosives. I knew that during the shooting, the explosion, my movements and my acting had to be synchronized. So I was very focused.
How long did it take to prepare that scene?
It took about two minutes to fix the explosives on me and connect everything. The stunt team checked everything. Then they showed me the gun so I could see that there were no real bullets inside. There were so many precautions on the set that no accident could happen. There was a team dedicated to weapons. They were always showing what was in the gun and how it works to the person that was shooting and to the person that was shot. They were also showing how loud the shot was. We had some gum in our ears as hearing protections. I felt totally safe.
How many takes were required to film that sequence?
I had two or three takes and Rami had probably five with the machine gun.
Thank you for sharing your experiences from Bond set.
September 20th 2022
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
Brigitte Millar is an award-winning actress known to James Bond fans as Dr. Vogel in ‘Spectre’ and ‘No Time to Die’ (click here to watch Brigitte Millar in ‘Spectre’). Find more on her website: www.brigittemillar.com.
Piotr Zajac (bondlocations): Thank you very much that you agreed to meet and talk about your performances in James Bond movies. At first I would like to ask how you became an actress. As far as I know it is rather unusual story.
Brigitte Millar: When I did my A-Levels in Germany I was considering studying fine arts, but my parents didn’t want to hear about that. They thought that I wouldn’t be able to earn a living. I studied languages and then I was working as translator. After a short while, I found that office work was not very interesting. I was actually quite unhappy, because it was so unfulfilling. I eventually retrained and worked in the fitness industry as a fitness instructor at first and then as a fitness manager. Then I was made redundant from my job because the whole company was restructured. My brother said: ‘It is your chance to do something artistic’. I wanted to do a dance course, but it was fully booked. But there were spaces available on an acting course, so my brother said: ‘Why don’t you do this acting course’? At first, I wasn’t keen on it as I didn’t want to do any acting, I wanted the dance. In the end I did the acting and I loved it very much. The rest as they say is history….
It was a long way for you to become an actress. Can you say now that your dream came true?
Coming to acting was a real life saver for me because I had a real midlife crisis and I didn’t know what to do.
I guess that your experience from fitness industry could help you on set of ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ when you had to fly.
Yes, on a broomstick. The broomstick was mounted on a crane. It could move up and down, sideways and swing around. It was quite high up and it was really scary at first. Once I was up there and learned how to fly, it was a lot of fun. There was a tennis ball in front of me as a focal point that I had to follow with my eyes.
You played in the last two Bond films. How did you get the role in ‘Spectre’?
My agent submitted me to Debbie McWilliams, who is the casting director for Bond. I got a little speech in English that I had to learn for the audition. It had nothing to do with Bond. I came to the CDs office and did the speech. Then she said: ‘You are far too beautiful to be a villainess. Go to the bathroom and wipe off all your makeup.’ So I went to the bathroom to wipe off my makeup and did the speech again. I think that I really got into it. I enjoyed it so much and it must have come across, so they offered me the role.
Am I right saying that you are James Bond fan?
I’ve been watching Bond movies since I was a little girl.
Does it mean that as James Bond fan you wanted to be a part of the franchise so you asked your agent to submit you for a role in the movie?
No. He just submitted me for the role, because Dr. Vogel is a German scientist and I am German and speak German obviously. I was suitable for the role. I was also in the right age bracket.
So it was not on your request?
No. He did it by himself before telling me.
So it was nice surprise for you.
Yes, a very nice surprise.
Were you very nervous during that addition because it was for Bond movie?
Yes, I was a little nervous. I felt confident in the speech and I knew what I was going to do. I’m usually much more nervous afterwards, because then comes the waiting.
How long did you have to wait?
I think it was about 10 to 12 days.
Was the audition before they have started filming or was it during filming already?
They were already filming.
How much time has passed between your addition and your appearance on the set?
I think the audition was in January and we were filming in February.
Were you working on the set at Pinewood Studios?
Yes, we were filming a lot at Pinewood Studios, but we were also in Rome for the funeral scene.
How much time did you spend in Rome?
I think it was 4 or 5 days. We were filming for 2 days.
At Pinewood Studios you were filming the sequence in Palazzo Cardenza. I saw photos of the set. It looked amazing.
Yes, it was a hudge set.
You were speaking German. Is it right that it was first written in English?
Yes. I got it in English first. They asked me if I wanted to translate it myself. Of course I wanted to translate it myself. Writing my own nouns. (smiling)
So your speech was based only on what was in the script?
I translated it and changed the sentences a little bit to fit them to the character. There were very long sentences in the script. I just chopped them up a little bit to make them shorter and more precise because Dr. Vogel is a scientist. She is a woman in a room full of men so she wants to make it short to get everybody’s attention and to dominate the whole scene, to show her power. (smiling)
Did you look for an inspiration in old James Bond movies?
Yes, mainly on Rosa Klebb and Irma Bunt. They were my role models. I imagined myself to be the ‘niece’ or the ‘cousin’ of Rosa Klebb and Irma Bunt. A younger and more modern version of those two ladies.
Did you get detailed directions from the film director Sam Mendes how to play Dr. Vogel?
He only gave me one note. He said that when Oberhauser comes in, Dr. Vogel starts to feel really nervous, but then she gets more confident and continues the speech.
How long were you filming the sequence?
I was on set for about 7 days.
How long were the shooting days?
The days were very long. I‘d usually get up at 4 o’clock in the morning and read and rehearse my lines. The driver was to pick me up at about 5-5.30 a.m and I was on set by 6.30-7 a.m. One day, I was in my trailer taking off my costume. It was around 9 p.m. already. Somebody knocked on my door and said: Brigitte, you can’t take off your costume just yet. We need you to come back on set, because we had a technical problem with the camera. We need to do the scene again’. So I had to go back on set and do the speech 3 more times. It took roughly 45 minutes. There were around 100 extras around the table. They also had to be on the set very early and must have been so fed up and so tired. Naturally, they wanted to go home as soon as possible. I’m sure they were all thinking: ‘How long is this gonna take. I hope she’s not gonna fluff her lines and we have to do it over and over again.’ I did the speech flawlessly without any mistakes at all. By 10 o’clock we were all allowed to go home. I was at home about midnight and at 4 a.m. I had to get up again for the next day of filming. I had to do that speech everyday, because Daniel Craig likes to do 12-15 takes per day. I’ve done that speech for 5 days, so I must have done the speech more than 50 times. Eventually it feels like groundhog day, because in your brain nothing moves forward, you do the same thing over and over and over again. (smiling..)
Did you feel the pressure when you were acting in front of so big number of people on set?
Yes, there was a lot of pressure. A lot of attention was focused on me during the speech. Luckily, I was doing it in German so nobody could understand. (smiling) I think I fluffed my line only twice for the whole week of filming.
There was a stunt scene. One of the stuntman fell on the table near the place where you were sitting.
Yes, the stuntman was wearing a harness. At first, they lowered him slowly to try it out and see how it all worked. Then he came down very, very fast. He only had a split of a second to turn his head, or he would have fallen on his face and broken his nose.
Did he fall on the wooden table?
No. There was a mat on the table to absorb the impact of the fall.
Did you have a felling after ‘Spectre’ that you would return on the set of James Bond movie?
Yes, because my character didn’t get killed in ‘Spectre’. I wasn’t sure, but I was thinking that it would make sense for her to come back in the next James Bond movie.
When did you get confirmation that you would be in ‘No Time to Die’?
That was in summer 2019. The casting director, Debbie Mcwilliams e-mailed me asking, if I would like to come back. I said yes, I would love to come back. I think we were supposed to film in July but it was pushed back until October.
The whole Cuba set was built at the backlot of Pinewood Studios. I remember that it was very cold when you were filming there.
It was freezing. The dance hall had stone walls and stone floors and it was very cold. The wardrobe ladies were so kind to us…they gave us big fluffy Ugg boots and thick winter anorak to keep us warm.
In the scene your character died and you had to fall down on the floor.
Yes, it was quite dangerous. The floor was very cold and slippery, because of the mist coming down from the ceiling. I was wearing really high heels and an evening gown and wondering, how I could convincingly fall to the ground. Eventually, I asked for a stunt man. He was standing in front of me and I put my arms around him and when he fell down, he took me with him. Under his suit he was wearing padding to protect him and I fell on top of him, so as not to hurt myself.
You had to fall down but also act as if you were dying. How did you prepare for that?
Cary Fukunaga asked me to think of a fish that has been taken out of the water and can’t breathe and is gasping for air. So that is what I did.
You also had special makeup for that scene.
Yes, the make up artists applied special make up that hardens so that is stays in place. that makeup off because it harden. It was almost like glue that sticks to your face. It makes the face feel very hard and doesn’t allow any facial expressions. You can’t peel it off because you would rip off your skin. We had to wait until the evening when the makeup artist took it off again. They put on a face cloth soaked in a special solution, which softens the makeup, so that it can be taken off safely.
How long did it take to put the makeup on and then take it off?
It was probably an hour to put it on and an hour to take it off.
Was it only one day with makeup?
I think it was 2 or 3 days.
Did anybody forget to take off the makeup before going home?
No, thankfully that didn’t happen. (smiling)
I was wondering how much you knew about the plot of ‘Spectre’ and then ‘No Time to Die’ when you were filming.
I didn’t know anything about the plot as I didn’t get the script. I only got my scene.
So you didn’t know much about your character.
No, I made up my own background story.
Can you tell more about working with two different directors and their attitude to the character?
I think that, for Sam Mendes, Dr. Vogel was actually quite an important character, in the sense that she was one of the key figures in Spectre. He just let me get on with it and gave me only one note. Sam Mendes can look at an actor or actress and know whether they need direction or not. He’ll concentrate only on actors, who need directions. I also got on very well with Cary Fukunaga. My scene in NTTD was completely improvised. It was not in the script. Cary was trying out different things, which I enjoyed very much. He gave me a lot of useful advices and that was fantastic. I love working with both Cary and Sam, although they are very different directors. Sam Mendes is a theatre director and Cary Fukunaga is a film director. Two very different directors with very different approaches, but both really good and strong.
January 12th 2022
‘No Time to Die’ film director Cary Fukunaga and director of photography Linus Sandgren attended EnergaCamerimage International Film Festival in Torun, Poland on Saturday 20th November 2021 (see also Cary Fukunaga and Linus Sandgren at 29. EnergaCamerimage International Film Festival in Torun, Poland). I was there as photographer. I hope that you will enjoy my photo gallery of monochromatic portraits taken at that event.
Nicola Dove is a film stills photographer since 2004. She has been shooting big movies including ‘No Time to Die’. For more details visit her website: nicoladove.com Currently she is focused on her project called Film Stills Academy. Nicola shares her knowledge and experience with those who would like to work as still photographers. Find more on: filmstillsacademy.com
Piotr Zajac (bondlocations): Thank you very much that you agreed for an interview. I’ve seen a number of photos that you’ve taken on the set of ‘No Time to Die. They are really great!
You’ve been working in the film industry as still photographer for years. You have over 40 movies in your portfolio. How did you get a job in this particular film? James Bond franchise is special for many people. I guess also for you.
Nicola Dove: Yes, for sure. It was wonderful experience to be considered for the film. In the film industry it is very much based on who you know and the contacts that you’ve built up over many, many years. I lived in UK for 16-17 years and I worked for the film industry for that time. The industry relies on recommendations. I was just recommended to the marketing department. I think they were keen to try something different with images this time. I had an interview and meeting with the marketing department. I’m sure that it went through many others like producers to get approved.
There were also other photographers on the set, i.e. Jasin Boland, Greg Williams.
Jasin Boland was the stunt unit photographer, so he was mostly doing the stunts with the second unit. Greg Williams came on just a few days over the course of the film. He shot Daniel Craig’s poster after the film was finished. I was the main unit stills photographer and I shot all the posters of all the other characters.
You spent 7 month on 007 film set. Did you have some breaks during that time or were you shooting every day?
I was on set everyday with the rest of the crew. We were shooting five days a week for seven months. These were long days so it was a bit like a marathon, but we could recover during the weekend like in any other job. That is important because during a long job like this you need to look after yourself. It is physical. You are carrying equipment, standing and moving a lot. You have to eat well, and you need to make sure that you don’t get sick. The last thing you want on a Bond film is to get sick and miss any days.
You mentioned the equipment. I know that on the set you were using two Sony A9 bodies with 24-70mm and a 70-200mm lenses. You had also Nikon kit as a backup. I was wondering why two different systems? It is always a bit difficult to switch from one to another because of different positions of switches, different setting etc.
I don’t switch cameras very often. Nikon is my old DSLR equipment with the sound blimp. It is handy to have camera that is not mirrorless with the blimp as a backup just in case you need to have your camera housed in some way of protection. Actually I only used it once, so it was not like I was flipping forth and back all the time. Anyway I understand what you mean. I love my Sony A9s. I had my camera issue in Jamaica, but it was only with one camera, so had another Sony that I could continue using. Then I brought up a Nikon DSLR as a backup second camera.
A while ago, before the mirrorless cameras came out, I was a Nikon user. When the digital changes were happening Canon was the first one to go full frame, so I had Canon 5d for a while as well. On one shoulder I had a Canon 5d and my Nikon, I think it was d700. All the buttons were going different ways and everything was opposite. I got used to it though. I was using Canon, Nikon and Sony. They are all excellent.
What was your workflow on the set? Were you editing photos during the day?
It depends on the shooting day, because every day is a little different, depending on the kind of scene. If it is a really great scene that has to be photographed well I am on the set all day. If that is quiet scene in the afternoon I may get an hour or so to download photos. If not, then usually I was coming the following day into the studio very early to download photos from the day before and to prepare for the day ahead. At the end of every week we were uploading the images via private server.
How many photos have you taken during those seven months?
I haven’t actually added it up. I really don’t know. Now when you asked me I’m interested in that.
I guess that you took thousands of photos. With digital cameras there are no limits as it was some years ago.
Yes, it is very different. I remember when I first started working as a film still photographer on films sets in pre-digital time. I was aiming to shoot six rolls of films of 36 frames a day. If I shot ten rolls of film it was really big day. 360 images is nothing nowayadas when you are shooting digital. It’s changed a lot, but I’m glad I was learning on film. It taught me to be very precise when to push the button and not to be wasteful.
While working as still photographer have you been to all ‘No Time to Die’ filming locations?
I wasn’t able to go to Norway. There was another photographer, Christopher Raphael, with the unit in Norway. Second unit is more about stunts and it doesn’t involve the main cast. Anything with the cast is mostly first unit that I worked with. I was in Jamaica. I was able to spend a couple of days on a chase boat, chasing around the yacht. It was fun.
Was Jamaica second filming location after Norway?
Is it true that Bond’s home in Jamaica was built for the film only?
Yes. That was beautiful spot by the beach.
What about the bar in Jamaica where James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) where talking? Was it also built for the film only?
No, that wasn’t a built set. That was a location that they’d found and adapted.
Where were you working after filming in Jamaica?
After Jamaica we were at Pinewood Studios for a long time. Then we worked for a week up in Scotland. We returned to Pinewood for a bit and then we went to Matera in Italy for a month. We came back to UK to continue working at Pinewood.
In ‘No Time to Die’ only a few scenes were shot on location in London. One of them was filmed at Whitehall Ct at the Ministry of Defence. You shot there great portrait of Daniel Craig in front of Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Was it the first photo from the set that was sent out to global media?
Yes, that became the first look image. That was the main image that was released.
Was it taken during the shot, rehearsal or maybe Daniel Craig posed for the photo?
It was taken during the scene. We didn’t do anything extra. On paper it doesn’t look that much. He just gets out of the car and walks across the street. Sometimes smaller moments make the best images. He was walking across the street and I was able to walk backwards with him and get a few extra steps that he did for the camera. He is very professional so he knew that it was gonna make a great image. He knows the character best and he knows how to make a Bond moment. I was fortunate enough to capture that.
Were Cuba set and Safin’s headquarters built at Pinewood?
Yes, the whole Cuba set was built on the backlot at Pinewood Studio’s. It was amazing. There were huge set builds. We were many going to another stage at Pinewood for a couple of weeks and by the time we went back to the previous stage it was all different, with something else. They were very clever with what they were able to create.
There was a scene inside the aircraft with Daniel Craig and Lashana Lynch. Was it real aircraft or was it also filmed at Pinewood?
That was shot on a real aircraft.
What is your favourite memory from the set?
It is hard to say because there were so many of them. Shooting out in London was wonderful, especially the day we got the shot that was used for Omega advertising. That was the favourite day I suppose. As a photographer your favourite days are usually in relation to the kind of images you were able to make. It is wonderful to be at Pinewood and everyday to arrive and see 007 Stage, but it is always fun to be out on location. Shooting in the Jamaica house was great way to start a film. Perhaps it was an unusual to start a Bond film like that because you are seeing him in a relaxed mode that we haven’t really seen before. Matera was extraordinary. You can’t drive in Matera so you have to walk everyday with your gear up and down on the steps. I was living there for a month with my family. They were able to explore the history, the caves. It is really incredible location. The weather was beautiful, food was amazing and people were very kind to us. I will never forget that. Being in Matera was an experience of a lifetime.
That was your second film with Daniel Craig. You were also still photographer on the set of ‘Enduring Love’ in 2004. What can you say about Daniel Craig?
He is total pro and he takes it very seriously. He is very loyal to his crew that is around him. Knowing that it was Daniel Craig’s last film as James Bond was obviously a real privilege to photograph him. He just let me do my job. That made my job much easier.
You had the opportunity to photograph the last scene on the set. I’ve seen Daniel Craig’s emotional speech after that. How do you remember that last moments on the set?
In the last scene he ran down the alleyway. There was not much room so there was just one camera and myself. That was the end of the very long scene. I think that was nice that he had that moment for himself while walking back for maybe 15 seconds. He walked with big smile on his face into the room where everyone was waiting. It was only a matter of seconds between these moments took place. All the crew had come down to congratulate him and be there to celebrate the final shot. It was a real privilege to be there.
October 7th 2021
There were only a few scenes in ‘No Time to Time’ that were shot on location in London unlike in ‘Spectre’ or ‘Skyfall’. One of them was the scene with James Bond (Daniel Craig) arriving at MI6 headquarters in Aston Martin V8 Vantage Saloon. Previously James Bond was driving such a car in ‘The Living Daylights’.
The scene was filmed on June 30th 2019 at Whitehall Ct. Below you can see a photo of that place taken from the Whitehall along Horse Guard Ave. On the left you can see the Statue of the Duke of Devonshire the Gurkha Soldier Statue in background. Aston Martin V8 Vantage Saloon was parked right behind that second statue.
While filming the scene, Nicola Dove who was still photographer on the set of ‘No Time to Time’, took an iconic photo of Daniel Craig. It became an advertisement for Omega watches. It was also the first look image made available to the press.
Whitehall Ct is located in the very center of London. No wonder it is close to other filming locations known from James Bond franchise. In the next photo you can see not only ‘No Time Location’ in the right bottom but also the Old War Office on the left. It was the MI6 headquarter in ‘Octopussy’, ‘A View to a Kill’ and ‘Licence to Kill’ (read also ‘Old War Office Building as MI6 HQ‘). The dome tower was also presented at the end of ‘Skyfall’ when James Bond was standing on the roof and looking at the London panorama.
Another ‘Skyfall’ location can be found behind the Old War Office building. If someone walked on Whitehall Ct in the direction from which the Aston Martin V8 Vantage arrived, he would see the Embankment Place round the corner. The scene with Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) leaving the subway station was filmed there (‘Skyfall’ at Embankment Station in London).
‘No Time to Die’ in Poland is known as ‘Nie czas umierac’. It will be released in polish cinemas on October 1st. There will be several local premieres with film screening starting at 00.07. Tickets have been already in sale since September 13th. Official polish premiere will take place on September 29th in Warsaw in Cinema City Sadyba.
Below you can see a few photos of ‘No Time to Die’ posters in Poland.