Skyfall brings James Bond home with London filming focus
James Bond has returned to London in Skyfall, the epic spy franchise’s 23rd official feature outing. The production spent several months filming above and below the streets of the English capital, including Whitehall and Westminster.
Bond’s global brand profile was useful in working out the logistics, but planning for the extensive shoot still involved many months of negotiations.
James Grant was Supervising Location Manager: “We met with a host of different agencies in the city, including Transport for London and Film London. It’s a matter of getting in early and seeing if they’re interested in helping out. Planning started in the early summer of 2011 and the best dates that worked were in March 2012.”
Given that Whitehall houses central Government offices, departments like the Ministry of Defence had to be on board from the start, as well as Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s residence. Then there were the various royal palaces, including Westminster itself. Persistence - as well as help from the Mayor of London’s office – resulted in everything coming together.
Grant adds: “To their credit, everyone we worked with got on board. We spent about three months shooting over consecutive weekends, which are really the only times you can make this kind of filming work in London.”
Everyone we worked with got on board. We spent about three months shooting over consecutive weekends, which are really the only times you can make this kind of filming work in London.
James Grant, Supervising Location Manager
The London Filming Partnership (LFP) is designed to make London filming easier through formal inter-agency co-operation. Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission: “The LFP has also been responsible for major improvements for filming in London, such as new legislation allowing road closures for filming in London – which was the first of its kind in the UK and utilised on Skyfall – the Met Police Film Unit and Film London’s Code of Practice, all vital tools for encouraging more filmmaking in the capital.”
While car chases were staged in the City of London and hordes of extras were collected for dramatic scenes around Westminster, the production also headed to the London Underground. Charing Cross station has a pair of un-used train lines that proved useful for the shoot, although Grant admits that productions need “deep pockets” to make the Underground work as a filming location, especially if a train and a driver are needed.
He comments: “Access to the Underground can be tricky, but you have two basic options. You can carry all the equipment down the escalators after midnight, which is labour-intensive and means you need to be a bit economical with what you choose to take down. Alternatively you might have the option of moving equipment in on a train that can be loaded up at Stanmore station in north-west London.
“There’s a lot of red tape to get through filming on the Underground, but it’s all absolutely there for a good reason and designed, rightly, to prioritise safety.”
Not Logged in
You must be logged in to post a comment
There are no comments