Skyfall, 2012

Director

Cast



visit London

London: Flights: Heathrow Airport; Gatwick Airport


visit Scotland

Visit: Scotland


visit Turkey

Visit: Turkey: Istanbul: Flights: Istanbul Ataturk Airport


Trivia

For more of Bond in Istanbul, see From Russia With Love, and The World Is Not Enough

For more of Daniel Craig’s Bond, see Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace

Skyfall filming location: Broadgate Tower, Bishopsgate, London

Skyfall filming location: Shanghai on Thames – the hi-rise: Broadgate Tower, Bishopsgate, London

Memories of double-taking pigeons (Moonraker) can finally be laid to rest as the reinvigorated series pulls of the trick of being more grounded in reality without sacrificing excitement.

There’s no renewable energy source, so the MacGuffin has to be the other standby, a computer list of of undercover agents – though to be fair this does neatly fit the film’s themes of responsibility and betrayal.

The opening teaser finds Bond (Daniel Craig) in Turkey, on the trail of a stolen hard drive in Istanbul.

Skyfall filming location: Eminonu Square, Istanbul, Turkey

Skyfall filming location: the chase through the marketplace: Eminonu Square, Istanbul, Turkey

Photograph: wikimedia / Donnyhoca

With one agent already dying, Bond chases the assailant, Patrice (Ola Rapace), through the crowded Eminonu Square, one of Istanbul’s oldest squares, overlooked by the minarets of the fabulous Yeni Mosque, and filled with over two hundred and fifty market stalls for the production.

The high-speed pursuit continues across the rooftops and then inside Istanbul's famous Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. If you cringed as Bond’s motorbike roared over the historic structures, don’t worry. The existing roof tiles were carefully protected by reinforced steel roof panels.

Skyfall is the third Bond film to feature Istanbul, following From Russia With Love, and The World Is Not Enough.

Skyfall filming location: Varda Bridge, Kiralan, Turkey

Skyfall filming location: Bond falls from the railway viaduct: Varda Bridge, Kiralan, Turkey

Photograph: wikimedia / Mustafa Tor

The chase continues through the city of Adana, almost 500 miles to the southeast, towards the border with Syria, with a series of spectacular stunts climaxing in that perennial favourite – the fistfight on top of a speeding train.

Under orders from M (Judi Dench), Eve (Naomie Harris) reluctantly takes a difficult shot which unfortunately sends Bond plummeting from a 300-feet-high railway arch.

The Varda Viaduct, near the village of Kiralan about 30 miles northwest of Adana, was built by the Germans in 1912 as part of the Istanbul-Baghdad railway line, to connect Berlin with Basra.

Believed dead, Bond takes a little time off, recuperating in a beachfront shack on Koca Calis Beach, at Fethiye, a coastal town in the southwest of Turkey. Fethiye is a popular tourist venue, but don’t go looking to play scorpion-themed drinking games. The bar was constructed for the film and immediately dismantled.

Skyfall filming location: Trinity House, Trinity Square, London

Skyfall filming location: M is summoned to a meeting with Gareth Mallory: Trinity House, Trinity Square, London

Meanwhile in London, M is driven through Parliament Square and along Whitehall in Westminster, the centre of UK government, for a meeting with Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes).

It’s clearly implied that the venue is one of the many government buildings in the area. In fact, it’s way to the east, near to the Tower of London. The building at which M arrives was the vast and elaborate office of insurance company Willis Faber,10 Trinity Square (formerly the Port of London Authority building), looming over Trinity Square Gardens, EC3. It’s currently being converted into a five-star hotel, private members’s club and private residences.

The building’s distinctive frontage is not completely revealed: if it were, you might recognise it as the home to villainous lawyer Manfred (Iain Glen) in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider or, further back, from the 1960 Peter Sellers comedy caper Two Way Stretch, or from the 1976 screen version of Sweeney!.

Skyfall filming location: Vauxhall Cross

Skyfall filming location: M witnesses the attack on MI6 HQ: SIS Building, Vauxhall Cross, London

After being informed that she will be ‘retiring’, M returns to the real MI6 HQ, the SIS (Secret Intelligence Service) Building, 85 Albert Embankment, just in time to see her office blown to smithereens as she crosses Vauxhall Bridge. The up-front HQ doesn’t fare too well in Bond movies – The World Is Not Enough saw it struck by a missile.

M attends the funeral of the victims of the attack at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London SE10. Most of the sequence was cut from the final release, leaving little more than the shot of M paying her respects to the flag-draped coffins in the austere King William Undercroft, beneath the famous Painted Hall.

Skyfall filming location: Cadogan Gardens, Knightsbridge

Skyfall filming location: Bond turns up at M’s home: Cadogan Gardens, Knightsbridge, London

She returns to her Knightsbridge home to find Bond miraculously alive, and drawn back to service by the call of duty. Her house is 82 Cadogan Square, SW1, at Clabon Mews, between Knightsbridge and Sloane Square. The film sneaks in a tribute to the man responsible for so many classic Bond themes – this was the home of composer John Barry, who died in 2011.

Skyfall filming location: West Smithfield, London

Skyfall filming location: the entrance to the MI6 underground facility: West Smithfield, London

With the Vauxhall HQ out of action, Bond is taken to the standby underground facility, apparently entered by the underground Smithfield Car Park in West Smithfield, EC1, alongside the famous Smithfield Meat Market.

Skyfall filming location: West Smithfield, London

Skyfall filming location: the entrance to the MI6 underground facility: West Smithfield, London

The subterranean interior is, as you might expect, a different locale. The brick corridors and training area are the Old Vic Tunnels, 30,000 square feet of disused railway vaults hidden beneath Waterloo Station on the South Bank, which were recently acquired by the Old Vic theatre as a performance space.

It’s claimed in the film that the underground facility was used as Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s command centre during WWII and, while this is not true, Churchill did operate from an underground bunker during the war. You can now visit the real Churchill War Rooms at Clive Steps, King Charles Street, SW1, much closer to Downing Street and Parliament.

After much physical and psychological assessments, Bond is informed by M that he’s been deemed fit enough to return to the field. In these austere times, his armoury of gadgets, though, is reduced to a gun and a tracking device.

Skyfall filming location: National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London

Skyfall filming location: 007 meets up with the new Q: National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London

He’s approached by the new Q (Ben Whishaw), in front of JMW Turner’s masterpiece, The Fighting Temeraire, in Room 34 of the National Gallery, on the north side of Trafalgar Square (though the film’s production notes mysteriously refer to the location as the National Portrait Gallery, which is around the corner on Charing Cross Road).

HMS Temeraire fought at the Battle of Trafalgar, and the painting’s full title, The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Berth to be broken up, 1838, pointedly signals the fate of a valued asset once its time is up – something of which both 007 and M are becoming aware.

Nevertheless, bullet fragments retrieved from 007’s body, which point to a hitman operating in Shanghai, soon send Bond scooting off to the Far East once again.

There are striking aerial shots and driving sequences in the Chinese city, but most of the Shanghai scenes were filmed in London.

The gleaming blue rooftop pool of Bond’s hotel is the swimming pool at the Virgin Active Canary Riverside Club, West Ferry Circus in Canary Wharf, E14 – with a view of Shanghai added digitally.

Likewise, as Bond tails Patrice from Shanghai’s ‘Pudong International Airport’, the setting is no more exotic than the new (2006) Grandstand at Royal Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire.

The world-famous horseracing venue has already appeared as itself in A View To A Kill, and is just as famous for not having appeared in the 1964 film of My Fair Lady (where it was recreated in the Warner Bros studio at Burbank).

Skyfall filming location: Broadgate Tower, London

Skyfall filming location: Bond follows hitman Patrice into the ‘Shanghai’ hi-rise: Broadgate Tower, Primrose Street, London

Bond follows his quarry from the airport to the highrise block where a hit has been organised. You can see the striking X-braced office block just to the north of London’s Liverpool Street Station. It’s the Primrose Street entrance to Broadgate Tower, 201 Bishopsgate, EC2, and currently the fourth tallest building in the capital. It stands directly opposite the highrise ‘Moscow’ office of Russian oligarch Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh) in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

From a fake Shanghai, a handy poker chip leads Bond to the ‘Golden Dragon Casino’ in an equally fake ‘Macao’. The club doesn’t exist outside of Pinewood Studio where even the dazzling exterior, with its bridge, its 300 floating lanterns and 30-foot high dragon heads, was created in the studio’s Paddock Tank.

For a glimpse of the real Macao, see Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom.

Skyfall filming location: Hashima Island, Japan

Skyfall filming location: the deserted island retreat of Silva: Hashima Island, Japan

Photograph: wikimedia / Hisagi

Pinewood also housed the eerie ‘Dead City’ island retreat of Silva (Javier Bardem) to which Bond is taken.

Surprisingly, the long-shots are real. The strange Hashima Island, a tiny deserted outcrop off the south west coast of Japan, about 10 miles from Nagasaki. Less than a square kilometre in area, Hashima was once part of Japan’s deep-sea coal mining activity, packed with several thousand workers. Owned and operated by Mitsubishi Motors since 1887, it fell victim to the global decline in mining and closed for good in 1974, when the inhabitants quickly left.

The subsequent revelation of the workers’ living conditions supposedly caused embarrassment and the island was declared off-limits for many years. Times have changed, and you can now take a trip out to visit – though the decrepit condition of the crumbling buildings looks a mite risky.

Silva is captured and brought back to the UK but, hacking into the security system, he soon escapes into the London Underground system. Bond pursues him from ‘Temple’ station, on the District and Circle Lines, to ‘Embankment’. While there are brief shots of the exteriors of both these stations, the stairways and platforms were filmed in a disused section of Charing Cross Underground Station, on the Strand. This locale is fast becoming a screen favourite, having previously been used as ‘Waterloo’ station in The Bourne Ultimatum.

It’s back to Pinewood and the famously huge 007 Stage for the underground chamber into which the tube train crashes. Two full size train carriages, each weighing seven tons, were built for the sequence which was so risky it had to be filmed with remotely operated cameras, ten of which covered the stunt from various angles.

Skyfall filming location: Whitehall, Westminster, London

Skyfall filming location: 007 races toward the site of the hearing: Whitehall, Westminster, London

Unscathed, Bond finally emerges from Westminster Station and sprints along Whitehall in a desperate attempt to get to M and the parliamentary hearing before the vengeful Silva.

Skyfall filming location: Parkside Industrial Estate, Arklow Road, Deptford, London

Skyfall filming location: 007 returns to the Aston Martin: Parkside Industrial Estate, Arklow Road, Deptford, London

having rescued M from Silva’s attack, Bond spirits her off to the garage where the Aston Martin DB5 has been hidden away.

Skyfall filming location: Arklow Road, Deptford, London

Skyfall filming location: 007 whisks M away to safety: Arklow Road, Deptford, London

This turns out to be the arches of the Parkside Industrial Estate, beneath the railway track, on Arklow Road, just to the south of Childers Street in Deptford, SE14. He heads off under the railway arches on Arklow Road.

In the penultimate Bond novel, You Only Live Twice, written in 1964, after Sean Connery had so successfully established the character, author Ian Fleming gave Bond a Scots backstory, with his father hailing from Glencoe. This becomes the place to which Bond takes M to draw Silva out into the open.

Skyfall filming location: Buachaille Etive Beag, Glencoe, Scotland

Skyfall filming location: 007 returns to the Highlands with M: Buachaille Etive Mor, Glencoe, Scotland

Bond and M arrive in the Highlands on the A82 in front of the misty peaks of Buachaille Etive Mor and Buachaille Etive Beag. It’s a suitably breathtaking locale, previously seen onscreen in Braveheart and Highlander.

Considering its fate, you might assume, correctly, that ‘Skyfall’ was a set built for the movie. The chapel looks pretty solid, though? There’s more cinematic trickery here.

Bond’s childhood home, along with the chapel and entrance gate, was constructed on Hankley Common, a stretch of Ministry of Defence land just south of Elstead in Surrey – which had previously appeared in two Pierce Brosnan Bond movies: The World is Not Enough (where it stood in for the oilfields of ‘Azerbaijan’) and Die Another Day.

Skyfall filming location: Department of Energy and Climate Change, Whitehall, Westminster, London

Skyfall filming location: 007 on the Whitehall roof: Department of Energy and Climate Change, Whitehall, Westminster, London

The coda, which finds Bond atop a ministry building offering fantastic views along Whitehall to the Houses of Parliament, was filmed on the roof of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), 55 Whitehall. You won’t be able to repeat the experience – this location is not open to the public. The domed towers alongside are those of the Old War Office Building, Whitehall, which itself appeared – in pre-Vauxhall Cross days – as the MI6 HQ in Bond movies A View To A Kill, Octopussy and Licence To Kill.

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