“Magnificent isn’t she? Zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds. A few little tricks up her sleeve”, Q (Ben Whishaw) murmurs to James Bond (Daniel Craig). He’s enthusing, of course, about one of the main characters in the new film: the Aston Martin DB10. Our first glimpse of it on screen is as it rises out of the depths of MI6 on an industrial elevator. It really is the sports coupé that dreams are made of, with a sharkish grin, narrow headlights, and silvery grey hydro-shine paint job.
Aston Martin DB10 - 007’s exclusive company car
The new Bondmobile sits in Hall R of London’s Pinewood Studios, in the impressive setting of an underground workshop, and surrounded by other “wow” vehicles. We see Q Branch attaching machine guns to the steering wheel of a Norton Dominator, and a fleet of “Bond brand” Aston Martins (the DB10, the DB9 and the Vantage V12) standing in a row. The drone of wind machines comes from a small studio next door, where, in a scene resembling an ultra-high end bucking bronco ride, an MBB-Bo-105 helicopter twists and turns on a hydraulic arm in front of a green screen. James Bond fights a Mafia boss in the cockpit. However it isn’t Daniel Craig strangling his opponent, rather stuntman Andy Lister, with an incredibly realistic rubber Craig mask. Time and time again, second unit director Alexander Witt has the Mafioso tumble out of the chopper. The stunt double of the baddy, Kai Martin, is also repeatedly ejected from the cabin – yanked out by a narrow bungee rope.
These shots are part of the film’s opening scenes, in which 007 tracks the bad guy through a Dia de los Muertos festival to his helicopter, in which the duo then fight whilst Red-Bull-Pilot Chuck Aaron carries out a series of breathtaking corkscrews over Mexico City.Bond goes Austrian
Tirol, just north of Obertilliach – A Land Rover Defender lying on its roof explodes for the fourth time. The black wreckage of a plane in the snow flips violently on its axis. James Bond, somewhat shaken (but never stirred), storms out of the destroyed cockpit and frees Bond girl Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) from the villain’s Range Rover.
Despite the cold, director Sam Mendes and stunt specialist Gary Powell repeat the crash scene six times over the course of three hours. The five second scene is the conclusion of a breathtaking chase through the snow and ice; in order to track down criminal organisation Spectre, and 007’s new-found arch nemesis (Christoph Waltz), Bond chases down two Land Rovers fitted with 37in off-road tyres and a 550 BHP Range Rover Sport SVR. No longer is 007 on skis however; this time he opts for a plane – a twin-engined Britten-Norman Islander.Aeroplane fuselage tobogganing
The hunt takes them along glacier roads (Rettenbach), through woodland and down ski pistes (Obertilliach). The villains fire upon Bond’s plane, and the bullet-hole ridden aircraft falls to the ground. Mastermind of survival 007 repurposes the fuselage of the stricken plane as a giant sled and careens over the piste, crashes through a barn and finally into the pursuing cars.
For this scene, the film crews built a two-storey barn in the mountains above Obertilliach. The exterior walls are constructed of thin wood with a plethora of designed breaking points. The logs are nothing more than styrofoam. Even if it seems that 007 thunders into the barn with no control whatsoever, in reality the fuselage hid a stunt driver mounted upon a ski-doo controlling its every move. But how did the fuselage manage to fly straight through the barn? Well, one of the eight planes used for filming sits on the floor of the barn on rails. Members of Chris Corbould’s special effects team have positioned a 1.5m long steel piston at the rear of the fuselage and connected it to a compressed air cylinder, creating a launch system which works similarly to an airsoft pistol.
“We are rolling - 3 - 2 - 1." Phoom! The plane bursts through the wall of the barn – boards and logs flying everywhere – and makes a giant leap, landing with a mighty crash on the piste, and slides straight into a speeding Land Rover. After three months of preparation, the shot lasts a total of four seconds. The few residents of Obertilliach allowed to watch the spectacle applaud loudly. Their village has just made action movie history.Supercar showdown in Rome
For stunt drivers, Hell is a place you’ll find just down the road from the Vatican. “In Rome, we had to change tyres every 10 minutes on average. We destroyed hundreds of them. Oh, and a fair few clutches and steering racks.” explains special effects expert Chris Corbould with a grin, before looking back to the live-stream on his tablet. Two ridiculously overpowered alpha-monsters drift impossibly close past Berninis Colonnades in St. Peter’s Square, and roar over the cobbles of the medieval street Borgo Pio: Bond’s silvery grey DB10 being chased down by villain Mr. Hinx’ (Dave Bautista) bright orange Jaguar. The futuristic C-X75 prototype features gullwing doors and was fitted with a 550 BHP V8 plucked from the Range Rover Sport just for “Spectre”. Over the course of the four weeks of filming, the team alternated between seven of these C-X75 prototypes. The sleek carbon fibre shell hides a cage, as well as a strengthened underbody and bolstered suspension.
Aston Martin’s DB10 concept car was designed and built especially for “Spectre”. Ten were built in total, of which eight were used for filming and two for the promotion of the film. The cars are as such rather sparse inside – they lack automatic transmission, adjustable seats, working instruments and even air conditioning. What isn’t missing however, is the 4.7 litre V8 engine of the Vantage, which churns out 426 BHP. Naturally, “Q” has also made his own adjustments too: flame-throwers, machine guns, and that Bond staple, the pop-cap gear stick complete with ejector seat button.Meticulously prepared stunts
Tonight, driver Mark Higgins is preparing himself for a classic Bond stunt on the cordoned off Piazza Americo. The DB10 will roar over a raised staircase, taking the roof of a parking Alfa Romeo 166 clean off whilst in mid air, land on the lower down Via Ombrellari and drive off. For this stunt, the team has carefully detached the roof from the Alfa, and then even more carefully placed it unsecured back upon the rest of the car.
It’s 3 in the morning before everything is finally ready to go: Thanks once again to hydraulics, the roof of the Alfa flies into the air at the exact moment that the Aston Martin jumps over (or rather through) it. Without any hint of computer trickery, the old Alfa Romeo is irreversibly converted into a cabrio. Simultaneously, the Aston Martin DB10 puts forward its case to be regarded as the DB5 of the 21st Century – a perennial hero in the fight against evil.FILM INFO
“Spectre”, with its ca. 270m euro budget, is the most expensive Bond film of all time, and was filmed in Austria, England, Italy, Mexico and Morocco. In addition to spectacular action scenes, “Skyfall” director Sam Mendes tells a surprising story with Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, Léa Seydoux and Monica Bellucci.