25 Jan 2015

Bond back in action in Istanbul

In the pre-title sequence of Skyfall, Bond finds a couple of Mi6 agents murdered in an apartment. The valuable hard drive, containing information about undercover agents, is gone. After leaving Ronson on M's orders, Bond gets after Patrice who has stolen the hard drive and escaped. The action and the following car chase takes place in Istanbul. Bond is back, for the third time in Turkey.

Craig comes out from the corner of a house located at a busy street in Istanbul. If this apartment belongs to the Mi6 as a safe house is a bit unclear. It is also possible that someone has been trying to sell the hard drive since there are piles of money on the table, and that Mi6 agents have been sent out to recover it. Patrice has apparently surprised and shot dead the British agents during the exchange. Craig in his ill-fitting suit, runs out on the street where he is picked up by Eve in a Land Rover.

However, in reality the house is the old Deutsche Orient Bank, located in the Eminönü neighborhood near the Galata Bridge in central Istanbul. The Deutsche Orient Bank was founded in 1906 and was a part of the Dresdner Bank. It was finally liquidated in 1946 but the sign above the entrance is still there, revealing this building's history. It lies right between Fındıkçı Remzi Sokak and Sultan Hamamı Caddesi and the entrance where Craig is coming out can be found right where these two streets meet.

Eve, who has been keeping a look-out further up the street, has seen Patrice leave the building and get into his Audi. Patrice, played by Swedish actor Ola Rapace, is unaware that he has been spotted and drives off. Eve is coming down on Sultan Hamamı Caddesi and picks up Bond as he exits the building.

Bond is walking through the hallway and out on the street. It is hard to determine whether this scene was shot in studio or on location.

Skyfall was the third Bond film to be shot on location in Turkey, the previous being From Russia With Love and The World is not Enough. Naturally, given that Bond has visited the city before, the choice of Turkey as a Bond location for Skyfall is a bit uninspiring and disappointing. Furthermore, since the more exotic landmarks of the city has been pictured in both From Russia With Love and The World is not Enough, there are very few interesting sights shown in Istanbul, apart from the rooftops of the Grand Bazaar.

After picking up Bond, they follow Patrice as he drives down Büyük Postane Caddesi. Continuing down this street you will eventually get to the larger Ankara Caddesi after a few hundred meters. From here you are only two minutes away from the Sirkeci train station, the station from where Bond and Tania jumps on the Orient Express in From Russia With Love.

The building lies very close to the spice market and, as stated above, is located right in the heart of the walled city of Constantine. The Walls of Constantinople was a series of defensive stone walls that surrounded and protected the city of Constantinople. Hence, this is one of the oldest parts of the city.

Early production rumors stated that the car- and motorbike chase, as well as the following train action sequence would be filmed in Bombay, India. However, these plans were scrubbed since it was, according to Director Mendes, logistically incredibly difficult to shut down the center of an enormous Indian city.

"We tried to make it work and to embrace the chaos, but in the end there were too many dangers - I don't mean from people trying to sabotage production, but there are narrow streets that are difficult to film in. I was very disappointed," Mendes said. Ultimately, Mendes found everything he was looking for in Turkey.

South Africa was also considered for Skyfall and would have been a much more interesting location than both India and Turkey. Bond has yet to visit South Africa even though he expressed his wishes to go there already in the 1971 Diamonds are Forever. (Why Bond wanted to go to apartheid South Africa in the 70's is however, still a bit unclear.)

1 comment:

  1. I thought Istanbul was an excellent choice for the opening scenes of Skyfall. It was even better when I got to visit this ancient city a year after the film was released.