So, James Bond is headed for Tuscany! It was only a matter of time, of course, particularly since the penultimate scenes of his last adventure were shot in Venice, followed by the final setting of Lake Como.
I'm a sometimes Bond fan -- I loved Sean Connery in the early days of the Bond franchise, and am mad about Daniel Craig as the newest Bond. And now that I've learned that some scenes from the 22nd James Bond film are being shot in Siena's Piazza del Campo, I'm really keen to see the new instalment when it's released this fall.
Now, I realize that the Italian location of the film may be old news to many fans of Siena and to the many fans of the James Bond franchise. But hey, if it's news, it's new to me.
According to Friday's edition of the online newspaper The Florentine, four large cranes now loom over medieval Siena's beautiful Torre del Mangia, just metres from the Piazza del Campo, as crews prepare to film scenes for the new Bond film "Quantum of Solace."
The cranes will film a high-speed rooftop chase that occurs early in the movie, according to The Florentine. Apparently, some local residents -- especially those in the Contrada della Torre, right in the historic centre -- have been rather put out by the various road closures, scaffolding and replica facades in a gothic style. But, says The Florentine, most other Sienese are cool with the project. In fact, it's expected that casting crews will need more than 1,300 local residents to act as extras for the two Siena scenes, expected to last no more than about 8 minutes. Shooting by the 500-member production team-crew, actors and stuntmen is slated for April 4 to 12 and May 14 to 17.
The Florentine reports that the latest Bond film will pick up ‘literally an hour after' the final scene of Casino Royale, set in Lake Como.
As well, The Florentine quotes local reports as suggesting that Siena's city hall will receive 600,000 euro from film producers to use the medieval jewel as a backdrop for the opening scenes in the film and to reproduce original footage taken last August 16 during the Palio, the very famous, centuries-old bareback horse race.
Quantum of Solace will open, like all Bond films, with a smashing chase seen. This time, we'll see a car chase through Siena's underground alleyways and medieval aqueducts, with Agent 007 driving his Aston Martin. That sequence will be followed by the foot chase by Bond of a villain, which carries through the city's very steep, narrow cobbled streets and across rooftops, ending only when Bond emerges from the Fonte Gaia in Piazza del Campo just as the Palio race ends. (Originally, Bond was to have emerged from the city's cisterns in Siena's Duomo, but the film's producers decided it would be ‘disrespectful'.)
Apparently Bond will also visit another Tuscan jewel, the city of Carrara, during the film. Authorities have prohibited air and port traffic during filming in one of the Fantiscritti and Canalgrande marble quarries, between April 25 and May 13. A scene along the Versilia coastline will be shot at the private home of Italian actor Gianni Giannini, who also stars in the much-anticipated film.
Shooting will continue in Italy as Bond careers through the Alps at high speed and visits northern Italy's Lake Garda.
This, I have to see.