James Bond filming stalls again

Following up on the Bond 23 news and rumours…. Well there hasn’t been a lot to talk about, Daniel Craig was talking Bond some at a few Cowboys and Aliens press functions but the news from the home office was notably lacking.

Although from the Cowboy and Aliens interviews we did learn a few things like Craig only got a finished script a few days before the end of July, odd because Judi Dench said her copy was dropped off months ago by a mysterious Man In Black. 😉 We kid Dame Dench only because we care. However we were aware from several sources that work in earnest on the Bond 23 script was only beginning in late last spring so the status of the script was very much in question.

There were also various rumours about casting the latest involving Ben Whishaw, which there has been no official confirmation… Of any of them (Fiennes, Bardem, Harris, Beale) .

Finally a few days ago some real news broke or seemed to break. The Times in India (Bond going off track in India?) reported problems Bond 23 had getting permission to close down the railway system for the better part of a week or more to film a chase scene. Hampering production to such an extent as to push back the start date and even more pointedly to The Times of India opening the real possibility of India losing Bond 23 production to South Africa. Since then more reports have emerged confirming this and more .

India Take One Productions is in talks with the Union railways minister to resolve the matter, but according to them the delay has already pushed production back by about two months (From October – November 2011 to January – February 2012). No doubt the Take One team is hoping this publicity puts a little more positive pressure on the railways minister, the mister however willing to be accommodating says he will keep the public safety first and foremost.

One other interesting titbit is the (apparent) confirmation of the reduced budget for Bond 23 ($135 million) the lowest since The World Is Not Enough 1999, and a far sight from the bloated $230 million Quantum of Solace (according to Sony over $400 million was spent making and marketing QOS).

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Off-Track Bond 23 May Exit India For South Africa

Unhappy that permission to shut down portions of two railways outside Mumbai still has not been granted, Take One Productions is threatening to move production of Bond 23 from India to South Africa. Originally scheduled to shoot in the fall, the Sam Mendes-directed project starring Daniel Craig is now pointing for a January start. “South African authorities are waiting to provide everything that is required to support this movie,” said Take One’s Pravesh Sahni. “If we can’t get this cooperation from India, the film will no longer be shot here.” The railroad scenes will be a major part of the film, Sahni told The Times of India.


The Telegraph, Calcutta India

The meeting with Trivedi is scheduled for Monday.

“I received a request from the unit members today and have called them for a meeting on Monday. I will be pro-active to sort out the problem,” Trivedi told The Telegraph from New Delhi.

“I’ll have to find out about the problems. It will be solved but I’ll ensure that passenger safety is not compromised,” he said. “We all love Bond movies and it’ll be good publicity for India and the Indian Railways,” the minister added.

Shooting for the Sam Mendes-directed Bond 23 — that is the working title for the film — could not take off as the railways held back permission for stunts on running trains, citing safety as a reason. A film unit source said the team at one time was planning to shift the location to South Africa.

The Times Of India

The production team is proposing to shoot a chase scene for the 23rd James Bond film, ‘Bond 23’ featuring Daniel Craig as the legendary British secret agent and Judi Dench as ‘M’, in Ahmedabad. They have identified the Sabarmati railway yard for stunts on a freight train and one of Ahmedabad’s roads for a car chase scene for the $135 million Hollywood film. Bond 23’s production team, including director Sam Mendes and production assistants, had visited Ahmedabad two months back.

Pravesh Sahni of India Take One Productions, which is handling the Indian leg of the Bond 23 shoot, told TOI, “We preferred Ahmedabad over Goa and Mumbai as for car chasing sequence the roads were apt and the Gujarat government promised to extend all support in the first meeting itself. For permission to shoot an action sequence on a train at Sabarmati railway yard we are meeting Union railways minister Dinesh Trivedi on Monday.”

Senior western railways officials at Ahmedabad said that a team of Hollywood filmmakers have come to Ahmedabad twice in the last two months and visited the Sabarmati railway yard.

India Take One Productions officials said that they have got the green light to shoot at Sabarmati but the scene needs stopping the freight trains on the busy track for eight hours a day for more than five days. Officials said that the shooting was supposed to happen in October-November this year but it has been put off till January-February as permission from the railway ministry is taking time. The film is slated for a late 2012 release.

However, talks are doing rounds that with permission taking time the film’s crew travelled to South Africa scouting for alternative locations to shoot.

“We already have permission from Gujarat government to shoot chase sequences on road and are hopeful that will get a go-ahead will railways ministry as well. ‘Bond 23’ is an important project for India which is attracting Hollywood filmmakers and we are doing everything to put things in place,” added Sahni.

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