What we learned from the ‘Skyfall’ commentary track.

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September 17, 2015 by Craig Sutherland

So recently I revisited the James Bond film ‘Skyfall’ with commentary from director Sam Mendes, here’s some of the tidbits I learned…


  • The pre-title scene is 11 minutes long, Sam Mendes that the scene was ‘Right on the edge of being too long.’
  • A third of the shoot was spent on the opening 11 minutes.
  • Sam Mendes’ brief for the titles was ‘Bond into the water, into the underworld, a kind of down the river sticks, Alice into the rabbit hole.’413413318_640
  • The scorpion scene in the bar is inspired by the Russian roulette scenes in ‘The Deer Hunter’.
  • The neon strip lights inside MI6 were inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Dr Stangelove’.
  • The painting that Bond & Q sit in front of in the National Gallery is called ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ by J. M. W. Turner.
  • When Bond gets to Shanghai the exterior is Shanghai & the interior (Swimming pool) is the docklands in London.
  • The camera moves that follow Bond to the building in Shanghai were inspired by Roman Polanski’s ‘Chinatown’.
  • The visuals in the scene where Bond catches onto the bottom of the lift were inspired by ‘Vertigo’.
  • The painting that being sold in the assassination scene is Modigliani’s ‘Woman with a Fan’ and guess what, it really WAS stolen from a gallery in real life – the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, on May 19 2010.
  • The ‘Dead City’ is based on an actual place called Hashima Island an abandoned island lying about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the city of Nagasaki, in southern Japan.
  • The look of Javier Bardem’s character ‘Silver’ was created by suggestions from Bardem, Sam Mendes was dubious he would like the changes but what Bardem came into the screen test with remained, albeit with a couple of small changes.skyfall-bardem630-jpg_181141
  • The whisky that Silver gives Bond is a MACALLAN 1962, from the year the first Bond film Dr. No came out.
  • Javier Bardem became starstruck while shooting the scene in the cell, halfway through shooting the scene he shouted ‘THERE IS JUDY DENCH & DANIEL CRAIG!’
  • The tube crash was real stunt, Sam Mendes says that they destroyed $2 million of sets and only had one shot at it.
  • The scene with Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear & Ralph Fiennes in MI6 is called the ‘Hamlet scene’ by Mendes as all three have played Hamlet on the stage. Whishlaw in the Old Vic, Kinnear in the National Theatre & Fiennes on Broadway.
  • The DB5 travelling through the Scottish valleys was inspired by Kubrick again, this time from the opening of ‘The Shining’.
  • The exterior of the Skyfall house was built in Aldershot.
  • Mendes said he inspired by Akira Kurosawa during the shootout in the Skyfall house.
  • The Home Alone parallels were not lost on Mendes either he says that he was expecting Joe Pesci to turn up at any moment…


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September 2015
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