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CASINO ROYALE

Special Effects
Special Effects and Miniature Effects Supervisor Chris Corbould, who made his 11th Bond outing with CASINO ROYALE, welcomed the news that the producers intended to return to a more realistic style of filmmaking and cut down on digital effects. "I am passionate about the art of special effects, and I will fight tooth and nail to do something for real,” he says. "Obviously, if there are safety concerns or budget concerns, then I can back off and admit defeat. CGI is a great tool and can be very useful, especially if blended seamlessly with reality to give a good performance, but if an effect can be done for real, it's the best way to go.”

Corbould's three biggest challenges on the film were each totally different and took place in vastly different locations: the sinking Venetian house, with scenes located in Venice on the Grand Canal and in Pinewood in the Paddock Tank and the 007 Stage; the Miami International Airport tarmac chase sequence, where Bond is pursuing a terrorist intent on blowing up a prototype plane; and Bond giving chase to Mollaka at a building site in Madagascar.

First on the schedule were the scenes on the Madagascar building site, shot on location in the Bahamas on the site of a derelict hotel, which the art department had dressed as a construction site. In the scene, Bond gets into an 18-ton digger and drives at about 35 miles per hour toward the building. He hits the side of a truck, destroys a hut, then slams into the concrete plinth on which Mollaka is running, the backhoe's bucket chewing into the concrete.

"We built a model and put forward two or three ways that the digger could conceivably take out the concrete, including taking out the pillar underneath. Martin Campbell preferred the direct way, with the bucket straight into the concrete. We did a couple of tests, and during the take it was even better than I expected. The concrete curled around the bucket and it came out like a wave.”

At Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, first and second units spent 10 weeks filming the sequence where Bond pursues a second terrorist through a Miami airport building and onto the tarmac. "Bond is chasing Carlos, who is driving a fuel tanker across Miami airfield during rush hour, with plenty of traffic on the ground,” explains Corbould. "Bond leaps onto the tanker and, as Carlos tries to shake him off, crashes into anything in his way, wrecking bendy buses, police cars and baggage trolleys – it's carnage! I've had experience with tankers before in License to Kill, and they are beasts to work with once you have all that tonnage hurling around. And obviously we wanted to strive to do more spectacular things than last time, so we souped up the tankers to get some high-speed collisions.”

Corbould describes the massive set of the sinking Venetian house at the action climax of CASINO ROYALE as the biggest rig he's ever built on a Bond film or any other. The scene involves Bond following Vesper and Gettler into a Venetian house undergoing renovation, so it is supported by inflatable balloons. As he pursues them, the balloons are punctured by gunshots and begin to deflate, causing the walls to collapse. Eventually, the whole building subsides into the Grand Canal.

Working in the tank of the 007 stage at Pinewood, the production built a Venetian piazza and the interior of the three-story dilapidated house. "The rig was massive — 90 tons — marrying together electronics and hydraulics. I was anxious to get really fast movement to sell the fact that the house is sinking. The hydraulic valves were controlled by computer because there was so much movement in the system — it moved up and down and tilted through two axes. It would have been easy to bottom out on the tank or hit the roof, so we needed to have a lot of safety features.”

At the same time, the rig could be immersed in 1

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