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On Location With Die Another day

Click HERE for DIE ANOTHER DAY press conference pictures and cast list

magazine was recently invited to visit 2nd unit director Vic Armstrong and his stunt team on the set of DIE ANOTHER DAY. Located in the de-militarised zone between North and South Korea, the pre-credit sequence includes an exciting high-speed hovercraft chase.

 On the set of DIE ANOTHER DAY 

Location: Aldershot, Southern England

Date: 8th February 2002

Weather: Cloudy, slight wind, scattered rain showers

Reporter/Photographer: David Williams

                                                                                                   

   After arriving at the railway station I met up with my friend and colleague on STUNTS magazine, editor Jon Auty, and we were quickly on our way to the base. A short car ride brought us to a clearing in the forest and a parked van with an EON sign in the window. We enquired and were pointed in the direction of a gap in the trees. Driving along a narrow road, passing signs declaring ĎPlease be aware that Hovercrafts are being tested and filmed in this area. We apologise for any inconvenience causedí, we soon arrived at the film base and alighted from the car. Walking further along the road, we passed various vehicles carrying the everyday equipment necessary for a Bond picture, namely Panavision cameras, Lee Lighting, Bickers action vehicles, explosives and other technical equipment. A tarpaulin-covered structure held a large, muddy coloured hovercraft, with a couple of technicians making adjustments to its skirt. Another, smaller hovercraft was parked nearby, behind some portacabins containing the production offices. We entered one and spoke to the guy inside. He arranged transport to take us to the filming location.

   A short ride in the back of a Land Rover bought us to a scene of devastation. Watchtowers with guns pointing from the turrets looked down upon a military area, supposedly in Korea, complete with burnt-out tanks and overturned supply vehicles. As aircraft flew overhead from a nearby airfield, it wasnít too difficult to believe we were in a battle zone, the attention to detail was incredible. Barbed wire and tank traps protected a concrete structure at one end of a long, wide and muddy track. On this track were three hovercraft, with a couple more lying idle on the sidelines. On one large hovercraft we could see a Korean soldier at the trigger of a rather large machine gun. Smaller 2-man hovercraft had khaki uniformed soldiers at the controls. We could see a Bickers Action truck, with cameras on the back, pulling away from two advancing hovercraft, closely followed by the larger hovercraft. After the filming run had been completed, a tractor pulling a raft of chains traversed the route to erase the tracks of the vehicles. A similar network of chains was hanging from the back of the Bickers vehicle, to ensure itís own tyre tracks didnít show up on film.

   We saw 2nd unit director Vic Armstrong talking to his crew during a short silent lull, then the hovercraft were noisily fired up to return to their starting positions ready for another run. At this point one of the 'Korean' soldiers, in an immaculately detailed khaki uniform, strode forward and greeted us in a broad Yorkshire accent. Roy Alon, veteran Bond stuntman, was on the set of his 7th 007 film. After speaking with Roy for a few minutes he introduced us to another ĎKoreaní soldier, stuntman Dave Forman. We all chatted about the British Equity Stunt Register which, with its dedicated band of stuntmen and women, was the most professional and highly respected of organisations, and envied throughout the film-making world. The working commitments of people like Simon Crane, Paul Weston and Vic Armstrong, and many other members of the register, mean they are rarely out of work, their expertise being in high demand by film companies all around the globe. Roy and Dave both expressed their opinion that it was great that STUNTS magazine was helping to promote and showcase the safe working practices of everyone involved in the stunt industry, whilst continuing to keep the action as exciting as ever. It is this band of performers who are the real heroes of the silver screen.

   As Dave and Roy wandered off to continue with the action, we watched as the hovercraft battled it out in the distance. Smoke flares were lit, gunfire crackled, and Bond was back in action once again. After a while, during a short break in filming, we wandered in the general direction of the mayhem, trying unsuccessfully to avoid getting our boots full of mud. Standing alongside the Bickers Action Vehicle, we watched as the smaller of the hovercraft was put through various maneuvers. A helmeted cameraman sat behind a Bond stunt double in the driving seat, and the video feed from the camera was relayed by radio back to the monitors. The view we saw on the screens was over Bondís shoulder as the small hovercraft advanced towards the larger hovercraft, the one with the Korean soldier manning a machine gun. 

Continued on PAGE 2

 Words and pictures ©2002 D.J.Williams All rights reserved. Not to be used without permission.

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