James Bond loves to get on the piste, and the first images from Spectre, officially the 24th Bond movie, show him in familiar territory. On the snow.
It’s a fleeting image, mind you, just a glimpse of Daniel Craig in a rather figure-hugging black outfit at the very end of a short “behind-the-scenes” video in which neither Craig nor director Sam Mendes has anything to say. They were, presumably, busy filming the actual movie.
Daniel Craig as James Bond in the first official publicity image from Spectre.
Rather, we get various producers – very behind the scenes – chatting about how exciting it is to be filming at Solden, in the Austrian Alps. And we get words from French actress Lea Seydoux, who plays Madeleine Swann.
Production designer Dennis Gassner tells us they looked in many locations before finding what they were after, “a very unique, modern facility” – cue shot of a glass box surrounded by snow.
“The thing Sam and I talked about was how are we going to top Skyfall,” Gassner continues. “It’s going to be Spectre. We’re going to continue the history of Bond films, things that are exciting for audiences to look at. And what could be more exciting than to be on the top of the world?”
And then we get approximately 1.5 seconds of Bond, clubbing a would-be assailant in the head with both hands before swivelling to shoot another. While wearing sunnies.
It’s classic Bond, as is the setting. This will be our hero’s fifth time on the piste, and judging by the all-black outfit, perhaps his most sober.
The first time was in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, in which Bond – played by Australian George Lazenby for the first and last time – tracks down his arch-nemesis Blofeld, head of SPECTRE, to his lair atop the Swiss Alps. Logic would suggest a reprise of sorts is in store with the film now in production.
The second outing, in The Spy Who Loved Me, had Roger Moore in a puke-yellow ski suit, a crime that might have been unforgivable had it not been for the fact that the chase sequence ended with Bond skiing off the edge of a cliff and pulling the ripcord on a Union Jack parachute for one of the most memorable escape sequences in the history of the franchise.
The third time, Bond (Moore again), took to the then-new single plank, racing down hill on a snowboard in View To A Kill (1985).
Remarkably, it has been more than 15 years since Bond last traded the fine wool Savile* Row suit for some high-tech synthetic fibre. (*Corrected)
In The World is Not Enough (1999), Pierce Brosnan’s super spy and his rather lovely companion Electra King (Sophie Marceau) have to out-ski and outwit a bunch of villains who have not only skidoos, but also machine guns and parachutes. There’s an avalanche too, which might have done for our heroes if not for the intervention of an inflatable snow shelter that Bond just happened to have in his back pocket.
Never mind topping Skyfall, fellas. Topping Bond’s previous outing on the top of the world is the real challenge.
by Karl Quinn