1. A Different Approach To Action In 'Quantum of Solace'

    By Devin Zydel on 2008-11-25

    Second unit director Dan Bradley on filming ‘outside the box’

    Second unit director Dan Bradley

    Second unit director Dan Bradley

    Having started his career as a stuntman, 2nd Unit Director Dan Bradley is no stranger to action and has written and directed some of the most ground breaking stunt sequences in recent history. Quantum of Solace is Bradley’s first Bond film; “When I first got called to interview for the Bond film I really couldn’t believe it. In an instant the 20 year old stunt guy that I was 30 years ago took over and, even though I had just finished my sixth picture back to back and really wanted a vacation, there was no way that I was going to miss working on the 22nd Bond film.

    “One of the things that a lot of people don’t know is that I write most of the action that I shoot. So the first thing I asked Marc [Forster] is if he minded me taking a pass at the action in this script. Fortunately he really liked what I dreamt up. Through this process we quickly found we were on the same page concerning the action for this film.

    “One of the things I really believe is that we shouldn’t try and make everything feel perfectly staged. I’m always saying to my crew, I want to feel like we were lucky to catch a glimpse of some crazy piece of action. I don’t want it to feel like a movie, where everything is perfectly presented to the audience.”

    Dan Bradley spent two months with the 2nd Unit in Italy shooting the car chase and the rooftop chase. “I loved shooting in Italy, the locations were stunning but there is a price to be paid for all this stunning scenery and I paid it in gray hairs. The logistics of taking over mountain and lakeside roads meant that often we had very limited time on the street to get our shots. And car chases take time, lots of it, and the faster you want to drive the more time it takes so my ambition was often battered by my reality.

    “I love the bit where Bond loses the driver’s door of the Aston Martin. I have never before seen that in a car chase. In the middle of the chase, Bond’s door is ripped off, now it’s like, every car that comes past him, every shot that is fired at him, the potential for Bond’s demise withers from every moment. I love that, I love what it gives us in terms of storytelling and the threat to Bond.

    Daniel Craig

    Daniel Craig is James Bond in Quantum of Solace

    “I am always experimenting with ways to deconstruct the action so that it feels spontaneous and really dangerous as opposed to the reality; which is that, it is all very carefully and painstakingly choreographed and rehearsed so that it is safe.

    “I have been very impressed with Daniel Craig. He is an obviously talented and capable actor, but he has this fantastic work ethic and is willing to do just about anything to get a good shot, including his own stunts. In the Siena rooftop chase there were several leaps across streets and alleyways from 4 and 5 story rooftops and Daniel did them all. He even jumped out a window and dropped 20 feet toward the roof of a speeding bus. It’s pretty impressive.

    “I’m after emotional, visceral reactions from the audience and I get that through a shot by shot evaluations and judgment calls. It’s not easy and a lot of what I do requires the crew to think and operate ‘outside the box’. If something feels too familiar I find myself searching for a different approach.

    “I want each shot to pass my gut check. Does it make me feel something? Does it feel dangerous enough? Does it feel too staged or artificial? Can we go faster?

    “It’s all a bit counter-intuitive. It has to be safe but not feel safe. We have to see it but if it is too easy to see then, to me, it feels staged. I don’t want the audience to have a passive viewing experience. I’ll do anything I can to subversively provoke them into active participation.

    “Every time someone finds themselves gripping the armrests in the theatre or leaning to one side trying to see something better, I’ve won. That person is no longer just an audience member he’s a participant.

    “It’s quite simply an unbelievable experience being part of a Bond film. After all, Bond stands alone in its success and sheer longevity. There will never again be another character that can so successfully remain relevant in a fast changing world.”

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