This is a preview of our set visit to the upcoming James Bond film, "Skyfall." Check back Monday for the full report, including interviews with Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem.
There’s the call of action, people stop moving around to gaze at the monitor and all around is silence… except for the sound of Daniel Craig walking through a London underground tunnel and taking aim at Javier Bardem. Bardem is half-way up a ladder and, you would think, an easy target. But nonetheless, dialogue ensues.
I’m at Pinewood Studios, 20 miles west of London, deep in the British countryside. It’s where Nicole ‘n’ Tom holed up for the interminable "Eyes Wide Shut" production. Before that, the "Carry On" films had their home here. And most recently, it provided a trip down memory lane for "My Week With Marilyn."
But the one enduring force to have seen this lot come and go is the pillar of Pinewood, James Bond, and he’s back, filming "Skyfall," the 23rd outing for 007.
After the long-drawn-out forced down-tools of MGM’s business affairs, it’s very much business as usual here on the lot. The set is enormous, not including the abandoned Japanese city, complete with tattered statue of a forgotten hero -- which looks like it weighs a ton… misleadingly.
Inside, there’s a London tube carriage hanging halfway off the wall, ready to do some damage once Craig and Bardem, all blond and incongruous in a police uniform, have stopped hurting each other. Nearby, a half-built helicopter waits.
Through another door, and we’re in Shanghai -- a casino, to be precise. The ornate carvings on the balconies were made in China and all shipped over to be reconstructed, apparently. The hammering will have to stop this weekend when filming starts in here. For one day, two at max. And then the set will be broken down. It’s a lot of work for a few minutes of plot.
Ah yes, the plot. Well, the stars are all doing their best to keep everything under wraps, but no one off screen is as good a poker player as James Bond, unfortunately.
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