For Your Eyes Only: RT in Austria with James Bond

RT visits the Austrian set of the next James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.

by | May 9, 2008 | Comments

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS.

Daniel Craig Quantum of Solace

The eye, steely blue in color, possesses a piercing, chilling gaze that is both eerie and enigmatic. Standing roughly 30 meters tall and 50 meters wide, this giant, movable painted iris — a surreal sight by even the most Dali-esque standards — is the centerpiece of the production of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Tosca that’s currently being performed at the Seebühne floating stage on the shores of Lake Constance in Bregenz, Austria. Several hundred people in evening attire were gathered at the Seebühne (or Lake Stage) earlier this week. They were not, however, there for Tosca, but rather to serve as extras in a scene being shot for the upcoming James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.

Rotten Tomatoes and our sister sites IGN.com, MySpace.com, and AskMen.com were among the select few media outlets invited to the set. We were there to see director Marc Forster film a sequence in which 007 (played once again by Daniel Craig) attends a production of Tosca at the Lake Stage in order to spy on the story’s central villain, Dominic Greene (portrayed by Mathieu Amalric). Still nursing a broken heart over the betrayal and loss of his beloved Vesper Lynd at the end of Casino Royale, Bond has vowed to track down those responsible for her treachery and suicide. Casino Royale ends as 007 locates Vesper’s contact Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), an important player in this shadowy network, at his gorgeous lakeside estate in Italy and then shoots him in the knee before making his first introduction as “Bond, James Bond.”

Picking Up After Casino Royale

Daniel Craig Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace picks up almost immediately where Casino Royale left off, with Bond interrogating Mr. White in order to find out who his associates are. Bond’s quest for answers — and possibly revenge — leads him to the Festival Opera House in Bregenz. The scene that we observed being filmed takes place early on in the story. A tuxedo-clad Bond tracks Mr. White to the opera, where a meeting between White and his fellow conspirators — including Greene and his henchman Elvis (played by Anatole Taubman) — is taking place during the first-act Te Deum scene of Puccini’s Tosca.

Bond, as Quantum director Marc Forster explained, “is trying to figure out who these people are and what is the relationship between them, because he’s realizing just how many there are. He’s trying to figure out how they are connected because the interesting thing is we have several bad guys in this movie. Dominic Greene is the lead one but there are a couple of other ones and he’s trying to connect them all.” After noticing that the bad guys are communicating with each other via ear pieces, Bond manages to procure one — you can imagine how — so that he can eavesdrop on them. After observing their movements from backstage, Bond makes his way down into the seating area, passing by Mr. White, who wryly comments to his date as several of the “guests” begin to leave the auditorium, “Tosca isn’t for everyone.”

Next: Paying homage to the classic days of Bond.

“Locations are characters themselves.” — Director Marc Forster

Daniel Craig Quantum of Solace

This sequence, which Forster described as being more about Hitchcockian suspense than Bondian action, was shot at the Bregenz opera house over the course of nine days this month. “I just came here and I loved this location. I thought it would work metaphorically and visually for the film and that’s why I chose it,” Forster said. “I chose it because it’s very special. You don’t find it anywhere else in the world.” Another reason for selecting the Lake Stage was because it was already hosting a production of Puccini’s dark love story and, as Forster revealed, “Tosca has a parallel to the story I’m telling.”

The opera sequences features 007 in investigative mode, a throwback to Sean Connery’s detective-like Bond seen in Dr. No and From Russia With Love. Forster certainly had the classic Bond films in mind when he forged his vision for Quantum of Solace. “What I loved about the Bond films, the early Connery ones, the Terence Young-directed ones, was that the set designs gave me a feel that was so interesting and beautiful,” the director recalled. “They were just slightly ahead in their style and design, and I felt that it was time to bring that back a bit. I thought Casino Royale was a good movie, but stylistically a lot could have been improved. The locations [in Quantum] speak for themselves, such as in Chile or like this place. Locations are characters themselves. Like what [early Bond production designer] Ken Adam did. That’s why I hired Dennis Gassner, who I think is a brilliant [production] designer.”

From Russia…with Olga?

This old school stylistic sensibility also extends to the film’s action sequences. Forster recently shot a boat chase in Panama involving 007 and female lead Camille (Olga Kurylenko) that is clearly reminiscent of the climactic boat battle in From Russia With Love. There is also an aerial action scene that Forster hopes conjures memories of the Master of Suspense. “The plane in the cat-and-mouse sequence I chose is a DC-3. That reminded me of Hitchcock, that era.”

Daniel Craig Olga Kurylenko Quantum of Solace

Forster’s visceral approach to the material and locations has met with approval from his leading man, Daniel Craig. “I think we have to set up this heightened world and the heightened world is one where you can get off planes and sit in foreign resorts. When I was a child watching Bond movies, that was one of the biggest deals for me. ‘Where are we going now?,'” Craig recalled during a roundtable interview. “We’ve gone away on this more than they’ve gone away before [on past Bond films]. We’ve spent two months in Central America, now here [in Austria] with a full opera going halfway through a movie. It’s a great experience to do apart from everything else but it should look cinematically wonderful.”

The movie’s hero isn’t the only one impressed with the style and scale of Forster’s Quantum of Solace. The villains are, too. “I’ve been on big sets, big productions but this is really a whole empire,” Taubman said. “It’s a world brand so you do feel that. You also feel the pressure that something big’s going to come out of this. Big anticipation. Casino Royale set new trends within that format. I’m sure Marc Forster, who is amazing, will manifest that whole new dynamic, that whole new realism that Casino Royale so beautifully started.”

Quantum of Solace opens November 7.

Click over to our friends at MySpace who have an exclusive video. The guys over at IGN Movies also have done a bang-up job on their article, “Quantum of Evil” which you can find right here.

Tag Cloud

Warner Bros. Toys TNT Reality Competition technology dceu Acorn TV politics Trailer DC Comics Mystery Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt SDCC golden globes crime drama Star Trek VICE TCA A&E Star Wars Rocky Sundance Fox News TBS American Society of Cinematographers police drama ESPN Musicals Polls and Games Writers Guild of America CNN PaleyFest Paramount Network Ellie Kemper Set visit vampires Lucasfilm thriller Interview composers BBC Schedule streaming Thanksgiving El Rey ABC spy thriller political drama Box Office Ghostbusters Columbia Pictures MTV Ovation Oscars Showtime HBO Year in Review SundanceTV romance Walt Disney Pictures Podcast Apple History Awards DirecTV YA Musical Bravo PBS sitcom Disney Opinion Cosplay Superheroes MSNBC Election Shondaland Video Games Masterpiece Western VH1 Sneak Peek Countdown Mindy Kaling Red Carpet Creative Arts Emmys Comedy Amazon cooking 24 frames Nickelodeon Nat Geo cinemax TIFF Logo Valentine's Day transformers CW Seed 21st Century Fox Trivia talk show Character Guide Best and Worst period drama science fiction 2016 TCA 2017 20th Century Fox Food Network FX Certified Fresh E3 BBC America Lionsgate NYCC The CW cats CMT LGBTQ Hulu Britbox serial killer AMC TV medical drama IFC WGN Netflix Syfy boxoffice Sony Pictures ITV Photos historical drama robots aliens Disney Channel Esquire diversity Pop adventure CBS All Access Infographic Watching Series USA Network Animation travel Action dc hist ABC Family harry potter Fall TV Tumblr 007 ratings APB BET Universal binge Nominations Martial Arts Rock Kids & Family what to watch 45 DC Universe Drama Fantasy E! finale Paramount crossover Adult Swim IFC Films Winter TV Emmys Super Bowl Premiere Dates mutant justice league TLC cops FXX Freeform Comedy Central blaxploitation Calendar See It Skip It YouTube Red Dark Horse Comics USA Superheroe Tomatazos dramedy The Arrangement comiccon social media Horror YouTube Premium Country OWN cults psycho CBS discovery Spike SXSW Marvel Pixar Mary Tyler Moore Teen Lifetime First Look Reality TCM RT History Holidays President singing competition Spring TV GIFs 2017 Summer Starz TV Land unscripted FOX Music Cartoon Network crime GLAAD National Geographic crime thriller Crackle Marathons sports festivals Rom-Com 2015 biography Pirates zombie supernatural Sundance Now Sci-Fi Winners Comic Book docudrama DC streaming service X-Men Christmas war Grammys Biopics NBC GoT TruTV based on movie Extras zombies