As Die Another Day neared the end of its action-intense, six-month shoot, Total Film zipped down to the Pinewood-based set to see how things were wrapping up. Mysterious millionaire baddie Gustav Graves’ (Toby Stephens) opulent ice palace was largely trashed, with BAFTA-winner Vic Armstrong’s action unit polishing off the indoor car chase which causes the all-water building’s demise. This scene involves 007’s weapons-laden Aston Martin taking on malevolent Korean General Zao’s (Rick Yune) similarly gadget-heavy Jag while the rapidly melting building crashes down around them. And, from what we’ve seen, it looks like the Bond team’s on course to meet their own target of delivering a full-on action spectacular which’ll top anything they’ve done before.
But, despite Die Another Day’s position as the franchise’s 40th Anniversary release, producer Michael G Wilson denies that there’s any more pressure on this shoot than any of the previous 007 movies he’s worked on (and considering he’s been with Bond controllers Eon since 1972, that’s a lot of movies). “Oh, it’s always hard,” he says. “You always try to do your best and make the best film possible and come up with something new and interesting, even though you’re making a James Bond film, which is naturally a contained subject.”
So don’t expect it to rewrite the genre, but do expect a few smart twists (which, in true, spoiler-avoiding fashion, we’re going to keep to ourselves), plus a sprinkling of fan-satisfying in jokes – although not too many, Wilson says. “There’s probably a few references that are so subtle that I wouldn’t be suprised if they pass unnoticed,” he laughs. “It’s not like the picture’s riddled with all these little jokes, but the fans’ll pick ’em up.”
Total Film reminds him of the tabloid attention lavished on Bond girl Halle Berry’s Ursula Andress- style bikini appearance. “Oh yeah. I guess that’s gonna be a 40th Anniversary Moment.”
Such press attention is typical for a 007 movie shoot, and Wilson treats it as a mixed blessing. “You can’t complain about the press,” he says, “because they obviously generate interest in the film. But sometimes I do complain that they’re all-too ready to pick up any rumour and run with it, no matter how outlandish or untrue it is.”
You mean like the current internet whisper that Madonna’s cameo sees the Die Another Day songstress locking tongues with Ms Berry? Wilson sighs. “Well, Halle Berry left the film weeks ago, and Madonna’s yet to do her scene, so it’s gonna have to be a long-distance kiss!”
Main attraction: It’s gonna be the biggest Bond yet. Need we say more?