To start off with…the first image we have from Bond 20 if it makes the final cut:
A surfing news web site; Surfline has published an interview with Laird Hamilton who portrayed, who seems to James Bond – however it is uncertain whether it is the good or the bad guys in the shot…read on for more!
January 6, 02 Hamilton. Laird Hamilton. If any surfer deserves to be James Bond's double agent, it's the man who continues to stretch the boundaries of waveriding time and time again. Seems logical, then, that when the new James Bond movie (Dubbed "Bond 20" by producers at Pinewood Studios) called for a stunt scene in harrowing, 20-foot surf, it was the Peahi superhero who got the ticker-tape message on his titanium watch. But hiring the right man for the job was the easy part. As big-wave event organizers have learned this year, just finding the optimal day is the biggest mountain to overcome. Leave it to Hamilton to pull it off — twice. In late Dec., while forecasts were throwing every big-wave rider holiday curve balls, Hamilton and fellow agents Dave Kalama, Darrick Doerner, Rush Randle and Brett Lickle gave photographers a View to Kill over two clean, 20-foot days at the real Jaws. How did they fare on their Mission Improbable? We'll let Hamilton blow his cover.
SURFINGTHEMAG: How does it feel to be the next 007?
LAIRD HAMILTON: It was taxing. We did it in waves that — even if you were alone — would demand your full attention. It's only today that I feel somewhat recovered from the exhaustion of getting doughnuts with the buoyant gloves and headgear with no peripheral.
So it happened two days after Christmas?
I'm not sure of the exact dates, a couple days after Christmas. It was when Peahi [Jaws] was good for three days in a row. One day was a half-day and for the other two, we were in the water more than 10 hours both days.
What was the mission?
We had to wear the full Northern Cal fullsuit, booties and hoods. Plus we had to put on, you know, these night-vision goggles and carry rubber guns for effect. Darrick [Doerner], Dave [Kalama] and I had to ride together on as big of a wave as we felt was safe.
Did you have to shoot each other or were you on the same team?
Well, I can't really get into the details of the actual script, but it has to do with an elite combat team and some psycho general who likes to put his men on the edge, so to speak.
I'm assuming you're Bond.
We're all in costumes, so it will be determined by the edit. It could be any one of us, or it could be all of us, it just depends. We don't really know because the good guys and the bad guys are all the same in this situation.
Sounds like they've upped the ante in the James Bond stunt department.
This Bond is a huge one — it's the 20th Bond movie that's been done and it's the 40th anniversary for James Bond. They're making a pretty big push, and as far as I know, we're just a fraction of the whole thing. We're just glad that we could do it. We feel like we supplied them with the highest level of stuff that we could, given the situation.
It seemed like a pretty demanding task. You had to have your system down, right?
It was tight, you know? But it was a good exercise in teamwork. I felt like it was a team effort and a good example of what you're capable of doing when you work as a unit. As far as Darrick and Dave go, they definitely carried their shields, and I was really impressed with their precision. The whole thing went like clockwork. We got a good blessing with good conditions and were able to finish the job in a surprisingly short time.
Did you have to pull in behind the peak with all that gear?
Well, it was kinda up to us. At the end of the day, the stuntman is going to make the call as far as what they're capable of delivering in a safe way. We actually gave ourselves a pretty low cap because we didn't want to put ourselves into too risky of a situation. We put a low cap, but at the end, — I don't want to make a judgment call on the size or anything — but we put ourselves in spots that were serious for just one guy.
What did you ride?
I rode one of my new guns from Gerry [Lopez]. It was a board I'm most confident and comfortable with, and Darrick and Dave did the same. We're not going to go out and test a brand-new board when you're wearing night-vision goggles. I mean, in that two-day period, Dave, Darrick and I each rode at least 100 waves.
How many of those did you attempt to ride together?
Probably like, 40 waves together and maybe like, five or six of those were intense ones. We couldn't surf like we normally would — we had our blinders on. We had to go straight; no quick moves or we woulda taken each other out.
Who else was towing?
We were doing a double-tow on one of the Skis, so Rush Randle and Brett Lickle were the drivers. Two Skis are challenging enough.
And you were able to have the lineup cleared?
No. We let everybody tow. There were a bunch of guys practicing for that contest, and, well, we could have cleared it because we had all the permits, but we kept it open. When the guys saw us coming, they were nice enough to give us priority, so in turn, we were like, 'Go ahead and surf.' Everybody got to do what they wanted to do.
It wasn't too much of a madhouse, then.
Well, it was a madhouse, for sure it was a madhouse. Probably the most crowded I've ever seen it out there, and it would've been that way even if we weren't there.
Was there a huge film crew?
Our unit was actually pretty stealth. We had one of the top water crews you could have, Sonny Miller and Don King, and then we had this guy Michael Graber, who'll be shooting the Olympics pretty soon.
How did it come about? Did "M" approach you with the secret code?
Well, actually I see Pierce [Brosnan] all the time in Malibu during the summer and know and surf with one of his personal assistants. Combined with that connection, a British documentary — which featured our hydrofoils and all this other far-out stuff — has had a lot of success over there. The producers and special effects people saw the documentary, and that brought about a lot of awareness. As far as why surfing was put in the script, it seems like a lot of films are going that route. It's the centennial push for Hollywood surf films after the Gidgets and Big Wednesdays of decades past. I think there's, like, three or four films currently in production that somehow involve surfing.
What's the scheduled release for the 20th Bond movie?
Ten or 11 months. Our little segment will probably only be two minutes in the movie if it even makes the final edit. For us, I felt like we had a job to do, and we did it. We delivered as much as…
…As you could deliver.
Yeah, and in a way, it's kind of comedy. Well, it's not comedy but it's ironic, is that these producers, directors and other people on the outside don't really have a clue what they got and what we did for them. But that's always how it is.
Have they seen the footage?
One of the producers came here and then flew back to LA to review it. We had storyboards of what they were looking for before the shoot, and he said we had supplied what was illustrated in the storyboards. There was a shot for every storyboard, and that's all we were obligated to do. As far as I'm concerned, we gave them much more than what was even outlined on the storyboards. And I think the level of some of the shots is far greater than what we discussed.
Were the producers sort of unemotional about the footage?
Yeah, well, they've gotta be unemotional because they have to go answer to the d
irector. The director hasn't seen it yet, and there's a lot of trick stuff to do to the film before they can put it in the movie. And so yeah, they're unemotional, sometimes to a point where you're like, 'Don't you guys get it? We gave blood for you!' But it's cool. I think that in the end, it'll stand the test of time.
Pierce wasn't on the scene, was he?
No, he wasn't. But one of our strong points was that he demanded that one of us play him. So that was a big compliment to us, because there's always someone willing to do it for, you know, a dollar less [laughs].
It's funny because there's a handful of big-wave events this winter that are having trouble finding just one good day. Yet you guys managed to be on it for two good days for a Hollywood movie shoot. Any insight on this?
I got the goose bumps when you said that. The bottom line is, we could have been here all winter and had nothing happen. We really got a big blessing on our end as far as having the conditions, having the guys and the photographers available and having the gear here during the holiday season. A lot of special people worked overtime during the holidays to make it happen. Not that there's any deserving thing here, but I think that our intentions as far as what we've been doing are genuine. Maybe we've gotten a bit of a blessing for it.
People might be all, Oh, money and this and that, but the Bond thing was an opportunity to showcase what we're capable of doing and what teamwork means and what towing's all about. I think that lately, what tow surfing means and some of the contest venues and formats aren't necessarily reflective of the spirit of what has brought us to where we are right now. This Bond shoot is good example of how it's supposed to be. It's a sharing thing, teamwork, more of an unselfish thing and we got blessed for that.
Blessed twice, in fact.
Two days, not a cloud in the sky, sunny, combined with all the needs of the photo shoot. And when it was finished, it seemed like a dream. It happened so efficiently and so quickly it almost seemed like we didn't do it.
Well there you go – what great news! It's a shame that there's confusion over who they actually were portraying, but all we have to do is wait one more day…and hopefully…we'll know more.
Thanks to Tim and gala_brand for the tip offs!