Sunday, 5 April 2015

SPECTRE - Shooting James Bond

The familiar gunbarrel scene, the suited figure whirls, shoots. The Mexican jungle. The camera swoops over a forest landscape and the Aztec pyramids of Palenque. Mexico City next – and the modern marvel of architecture that is the Museo Nacional de Antropología. Bond meets his contact, Estrella, who tells him of a plot to blow up a hotel in the city. 

 BELOW: Stephanie Sigman is Estrella

In a desperate race to prevent this, Bond chases Marco Sciarra, an Italian terrorist, his task made harder by the multitudes thronging the city for the Day of the Dead. 

The parade features ghoulish carnival floats and the revellers are painted to resemble skeletons, the focus being on a massive square. Bond fails and the building is levelled, blasted into rubble. Determined to make him pay, Bond chases Sciarra onto a Helicopter that has swooped down to collect him, dispatching a henchman on the way to engage in a desperate life or death struggle above the city. Both men seem equally matched, Sciarra trading blows with 007. 
 BELOW: 007 Chases Sciarra onto the Helicopter

During the fight, Bond manages to take Sciarra's ring from his finger. The chopper crashes into flames, Bond falling onto a giant float – saved by the Catrina herself, the symbol of the parade... or does he?
 Chuck Aaron, Aerobatic pilot supreme

 ABOVE: The Mexico shoot included high-rise stunts and a huge explosion. Daniel Craig did a surprising amount of work at giddying heights - a cable his only safety.
Its all speculation, folks. I've decided not to read any leaked scripts; what I do at Volcano Cat is close to the knuckle as it is and somehow profiting from a stolen script isn't for this blog. What you read is speculation – it will probably be hilariously inept; perhaps the chopper hits the hotel, perhaps the Museo will appear as another building. All I do know is at the time of writing, shooting has just wrapped on Spectre's Mexico scenes and the cast and crew have some time before the Morocco shoot begins. Palenque – the ancient Aztec citadel is featured, as is the Día de Muertos – 1,500 extras were involved (With CGI they will appear a much bigger crowd), there's definitely a big explosion – a rubble-strewn set was used as was an SFX hotel – a frame was used which will be completed later.
The helicopter fight is spectacular – the pictures and amateur videos confirm this. The fabulous Chuck Aaron, Team Red Bull's aerobatic pilot extraordinaire is clearly visible in the cockpit – his handlebar moustache an easy identifier. For an example of his work, click the link;
Bond producing veteran Michael G.Wilson stated the Mexico sequence was the biggest ever...

But of course, shooting started last year; 2014. Scenes on the river Thames and in Bond's London flat were the first official shoots, though a small part of Morocco's train sequence was reportedly shot last year with a stripped-to-the-bone Unit.
Just Jared get the credit for this long range shot of Bond in his flat.
More speculation; after Bond kills Sciarra, its back to London where Moneypenny delivers a box for JB at his place. It's from the previous 'M' – Judi Dench – and contains items such as a burnt photo and a document retrieved from the burnt remnants of Skyfall Lodge. The document is a temporary Guardianship certificate for the young James in the name of Oberhauser – the photo of a young James with the same, but Oberhauser's face has been burnt away. What does it mean?. A troubled Bond looks pensively out of his bay windows and broods on the past. There's trouble at the office, too; new 'M' Ralph Fiennes is fighting government plans to merge MI6 with the domestic MI5 – making MI11?. The oily Andrew Scott plays Denbigh, an MI5 type who is probably a shit as he's Moriarty in Sherlock. A boat-ride along the Thames past the old blown-up MI6 building at Vauxhall Cross and to a secret base accessa-bubble only by river... (Camden Lock provided the setting here). For my money, this is the new home of Q-branch and Bond is shown the new car – the Aston Martin DB10.Intriguingly, the DB5 makes a comeback-scenes with the car have been shot in London - but as we saw her destroyed in Skyfall, its my view this is a flashback sequence, possibly answering that most persistent of questions; how did Bond get the DB5 in the first place?. Was Daddy a Double-O?...
To Austria and Bond finds himself at the place where as a boy he learnt to ski and to mountaineer, an old lodge by Lake Altaussee. 

Obertilliach also features; it's in the Lienz district, as in Lienz Cossacks – who were betrayed so terribly by the British in 1945. Perhaps a co-incidence (If it rings a bell, it should; the Cossacks featured in Goldeneye.) In the lodge, Bond finds none other than Mr.White (Jesper Christensen) and shows him Sciarra's sinister Octopus-design ring before – presumably, killing him. 

There's a scene with Bond flying a medium sized plane which crashes onto a hillside and there's a shootout with bad guys and a scene in a mountain-top clinic (Echoes of Piz Gloria) with Lea Seydoux playing Dr.Madeleine Swann. 
 ABOVE: The plane crash sequence
BELOW: Lea Seydoux takes direction from Sam Mendes. The Ice Q restaurant, Solden, doubled for the clinic.
Patients there are being treated – but for for what?. Finally, there's a glacier road chase. Q – Ben Wishaw returns, being chased in Austria by bad guys. 

Somewhere in the Austrian fighting Bond meets a muscular henchman called Mr.Hinx, played by Dave Bautista, who uses a rather novel double pistol (An Arsenal Firearms 2011 Dueller Prismatic for the record. 007 himself carries an Arsenal Firearms LRC-2 in the Mexico scenes showing a tie-in with the company)
 BELOW: Shades of Piz Gloria, an alpine clinic (In reality the Ice Q Restaurant, Solden)
Rome: the Eternal City. Bond attends Sciarra's funeral, joining a sinister crowd of black-suited people, including a rather beautiful woman. 
 ABOVE: The funeral scene. Monica Bellucci is Lucia Sciarra. The truth about all those marble tombs is revealed in the bottom pictures...
This is Lucia, widow of the deceased Sciarra. Bond gets to know her and finds out more about the shadowy group behind all this. They meet at a vast palazzo that more than resembles Blenheim Palace... the palace courtyard is filled with exotic cars and Bond pops in for a squizz (It's a technical spy term...). Inside, a vast hall, with a gallery around which stand shadow figures. The whole place darkly lit. At a vast conference table in the centre of the hall sits the shadowy Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz.)

This then, is SPECTRE, the shadowy criminal organisation (I suspect from the lack of punctuation that they've dispensed with the campy acronym.) Oberhauser – or is it Blofeld? - is waiting for Bond, possibly a trap and 007 just gets away in the DB10 as a hail of gunfire rings out across the courtyard. 

A chase ensues, with Mr.Hinx pursuing Bond in a fabulous auto – the Jaguar C-X75. Through the streets of Rome they race, an automated duel (The Jag wins hands down on looks for me) that goes down by the river Tiber where Bond hits the button and fries the Jaguar with the built-in flamethrower. A FLAMETHROWER!.

A gadget!. I've heard rumours of machine guns and all-sorts here, including an ejector seat that sends Bond parachuting down into a square...
We're getting out of synch here; perhaps fatally so. A four-month prep has been underway in Morocco for the scene aboard a train and that set-piece may be before or after the Rome scenes. Intriguingly, a scan of the area shows several wonderful bridges and a large dam; perhaps a big explosion and wreck is planned.  

Nor do I know where and when Q rocks up. Apologies, dear friends for the mess. There's more; Brigitte Millar has been cast as a villainess – my gut tells me this will be Bunt. As in Irma. Veteran actor Detlef Bothe is billed on IMDB as 'man in cable car.' Really?. Of course, the production is based at Pinewood – and so it should be. 

 ABOVE: As well as the standard PPK, 007 uses the H&K VP9(Top), the
Arsenal Firearms LRC-2 (Centre), while Mr.Hinx sports an
Arsenal Firearms 2011 Dueller Prismatic
That's about all I have – it's not much, but without reading the script that's all I have. SPECTRE will be awesome – it has to be. If Sam Mendes and co mess this one up after a blitzer like Skyfall it will be a disaster. Wait for the release later this year, buy a ticket and find out...
 MONICA BELLUCCI is Lucia Sciarra
 DANIEL CRAIG is James Bond, DAVE BAUTISTA is Mr.Hinx (Lea Seydoux centre)
 CHRISTOPH WALTZ is... ? Oberhauser?, Blofeld?
BRIGITTE MILLAR is Dr.Vogel - or Irma Bunt?
BELOW: DETLEF BOHE is 'Man in Cable Car'. Possibly a blind for a bigger part.

 ABOVE: NAOMIE HARRIS returns as Moneypenny
This is our 100th Post. A big, no – a BIG Thank You to all our readers, new and old. I hope you have enjoyed this. It isn't the end for Volcano Cat – he's immortal, like his owner. There will be new posts here as time and energy allows. It's not been easy – apart from when it was and other projects beckon. I'm writing a Bond story and Sherlock Holmes hasn't left me in peace either. There's a new blog – a Glossary of terms used by spies ( ) and – and...

With the release of the latest trailer this week (July 2015) we learn Bond was in Mexico unofficially - some sort of personal business related to the box Moneypenny gave him? It is almost certain Oberhauser is, indeed Blofeld. There's a few clues; the clinic where Dr.Swann works may well be one of the recurring themes of Bond - the new face/new i.d. clinic (Diamonds are Forever opens with this, Die Another Day features such a place) and Christoph Waltz was spotted in London with cgi dots on his face - they are, as you probably know, used for facial mapping and probably here to give Blofeld his trademark scar - a bullet scar?, a helicopter blade?. Whichever way it goes - and however laughably inaccurate my guesswork proves, I simply cannot wait for SPECTRE!.

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