30 Jun 2015

The Shanghai Skyscraper - Broadgate Tower, London

In Skyfall Bond tracks down the assassin Patrice who has stolen the secret hard drive and escaped in Istanbul. In the film, very little is known about Patrice, but thanks to intelligence from the CIA, Mi6 learns that Patrice will turn up in Shanghai in two days time. Patrice is apparently going to carry out an assassination from a skyscraper in that city.

When Patrice arrives at the Shanghai Pudong Airport he takes a taxi downtown, followed by Bond dressed up as a private chauffeur. Even though some car scenes were filmed in Shanghai, none of the principal cast were ever on location in red China. Rather surprisingly, this location can be found in central London, namely 20 Primrose Street.

For the exterior shots of the Shanghai skyscraper, the filmmakers used Broadgate Tower, located in the main business district in the City of London. Next to Broadgate, two other skyscrapers were added digitally in the film to make it look more like the densely built city of Shanghai. With its 165 meters, Broadgate is the 12th tallest building in London. It was constructed between 2005 and 2009. The interior scenes from Shanghai airport were actually also filmed in England, at another old Bond location, namely the Royal Ascot racecourse which Bond visited in A View to a KillSkyfall is thereby the second film in the Bond series where a racecourse has doubled as an airport. In GoldenEye, the exterior of St Petersburg airport was filmed at Epsom Racecourse in Surrey.

Bond follows Patrice into the building and finds a dead guard after walking up some escalators. These escalators can also be found on location inside the building and are accessible from the lobby.

The elevator where Patrice enters and Bond "hangs on" was re-constructed by the filmmakers and cannot be found on location. The rest of the interior scenes in the skyscraper were also shot in studio.

Among the more notable tenants of Broadgate Tower you find reputable law firm Reed Smith LLP. Many thanks to my esteemed colleague on secondment at Reed Smith, senior associate Bità Pourmotamed, for valuable information and the pictures.

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