To mark the release of Spectre, the 24th film in the Bond franchise, here are 24 facts on the many stunts, super cars and sexy women - and why director Sam Mendes hailed Daniel Craig ‘heroic’
1 - Spectre’s opening sequence, set during Mexico’s Day Of The Dead carnival, is getting rave reviews and understandably so. It features a stunning, single tracking shot that’s several minutes long. 107 make up artists were needed to get around 1,500 extras ready on time, while the props department had its hands full with 10 decorative floats topped with skeletons, the tallest being 36 feet high.
2 - The film makers shot in three different locations around Mexico City - The Gran Hotel, Plaza Tolsa and the Zocalo. The city’s main square plays host to an impressive stunt sequence involving an out-of-control helicopter piloted by the Red Bull aerobatic pilot, Chuck Aaron.
3 - Stunt coordinator, Gary Powell, says the stunts are “very story-orientated”. “A lot of films forget the story and just do ‘crash, bang, wallop’. We don’t just blow stuff up because it looks good. With all the action in James Bond, we tell a story while we’re doing it.”
4 - Spectre marks the first time a Bond film has been shot in the snow since DIE ANOTHER DAY in 2002.
5 - The plane that hurtles down the mountain was built on skidoos so it’s actually being driven. Eight different planes were involved in shooting the sequence.
6 - The production team had to battle against unseasonal weather in Austria, which forced them to make 400 tonnes of artificial snow. They needed to cover a mountain which would normally have been blanketed in white.
7 - Moneypenny is now desk-bound after accidentally shooting Bond in SKYFALL but the actress, Naomie Harris, says she was relieved not to have been given any stunts, because the training’s so tough.
8 - Ben Whishaw who plays Q, on the other hand, couldn’t have been more excited to get a piece of the action. He says he’s looking forward to more in the future.
9 - Lea Seydoux, who plays Bond girl Madeleine Swann, has revealed she was so nervous before her audition, she had a beer to calm her nerves.
10 - Monica Bellucci was first asked to appear in a Bond movie 25 years ago. Now, at 51, she’s the oldest Bond “girl” to have appeared in the franchise.
11 - Dame Judi Dench’s M might have died at the end of SKYFALL but her death didn’t mark her last appearance in a Bond movie. Look out for her cameo role at the beginning of Spectre.
12 - Sam Smith’s title track WRITING’S ON THE WALL might have received mixed reviews, but it’s the first Bond song to make it to No 1 in the UK.
13 - Director Sam Mendes decided to return to the helm to direct his second Bond movie just nine months after the release of his first, SKYFALL. “It all starts with character with me,” he says. “We had populated MI6 with a whole new generation of people. I wanted to let those relationships develop and grow.”
14 - Things got a little too real during one fight sequence when Daniel Craig ended up hitting Dave Bautista, giving him a bloody nose.
15 - You’d think most people would jump at the chance to appear in a James Bond movie - but not Christoph Waltz, who plays the super villain Oberhauser. He took some persuading before signing the dotted line.
16 - Ralph Fiennes returns as M. Of his predecessor, Dench, he says: “She bought a real toughness that I’m keen to carry on.”
17 - When production moved to the African desert, film makers had to make sure that everyone within a 20-mile radius knew to expect loud explosions.
18 - On the first day of the shoot in Erfoud, Morocco, a huge sand storm with winds reaching 50mph halted production for the afternoon.
19 - The special effects supervisor, Chris Corbould, says the desert explosion, in which 2,100 gallons of kerosene was used was “definitely the biggest explosion of my career.”
20 - Before completing the scene which features a speed boat and a low-flying helicopter chase along the River Thames at night, supervising locations manager Emma Pill had to send out 11,000 letters to residents.
21 - For the first time, Aston Martin built a car specifically for the film - the DB10. Mendes wanted a car that “had clean, clear lines. Something classic where it is almost impossible to place its year of birth.”
22 - The sinister organisation, Spectre, has featured in six previous Bond films: DR NO, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, THUNDERBALL, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE and DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER.
23 - Although a lot was shot on location, many interiors were filmed at Pinewood Studios, the traditional home of the Bond films.
24 - Production almost closed down when Daniel Craig suffered an injury. Director, Sam Mendes, credited him for his “heroic” attitude in soldiering on. That’s a super-spy for you!