The story of the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, is set in Bolivia and Haiti. In reality however, the filming was all carried out in Panama, particulary in Casco Viejo and the islands of Bocas. The movie was adapted from a short story that the original creator of 007, Ian Flemming, wrote in 1960 and promises twice as much action as seen in Casino Royale. Olga Kurylenko, who plays Bond Girl Camille in the film is going to be very different from the previous bond girl - she is a fighter looking for revenge!
An Extra’s View from Panama. September 5, 2008 by Cerrito Cynthia
It was an exciting few months early this year in Panama when they were filming the next James Bond movie, The Quantum of Solace, due to is shown in cinemas this coming November 2008.A number of people were fortunate to be chosen as extras and I was one of them. I had never thought of joining the group of some 1000 extras but a friend eventually convinced me to go and sign up.
Although I had done television advertising before, I had never been on a big movie set prior to this and it was very interesting. Costumes, makeup, hair, coordination. And the waiting….. for hours upon hours. We really came to appreciate what it takes to be a professional in the business. It seems glamorous but it is very hard work.
The first scene I was in was shot was a night scene in the old Union Club in Casco Viejo, Panama City. We changed into our costumes and had hair and makeup done in an enormous underground garage which had been revamped into dressing rooms, cafeteria, and makeup. Then we were allowed outside to wait for our calls. It was beautiful weather and since Casco Viejo is beside the ocean it was quite lovely at night. There, we pulled three all nighters in a row for Bond. Super tiring but awesome in the professionalism, coordination and detail that went into the making of it by the mainly British crew. Watching Daniel Craig (James Bond) and the pros shoot their scenes numerous times to get it right for the exacting Golden Globe nominated director Steven Forster — German born, educated in Switzerland he studied film in New York. Forster made his directorial debut in 2000 and most recently directed the Kite Runner. Daniel Craig is said to be one of the finest actors of his generation in stage, screen and television. His supporting actors included: Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Almalric, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright, and of course Judy Dench.
An old historic building (former Union Club) was used which they revamped just for this. Set in Bolivia the scene was shot in Panama. It was an elegant extravaganza during which Dominic Greene (a criminal mastermind played by Mathieu Almalric), gives an important speech (I almost had it memorized–cannot tell you the speech, if I did M might send Bond to silence me). We were among the some 700 in this scene, dressed in elegant evening wear. Along with the cool party set, there were several stunts so the scene should be a great one.
Several weeks later I went again in one of several buses (some 50 extras) to Colon to shoot our next scene on a private island on the Caribbean coast in Panama (in the movie I believe it is Haiti). We stayed overnight in a hotel in Colon City, a very seedy port (not many of us were on the streets after dark, or even in the daylight!) Then before dawn we drove the hour to a site on the Caribbean Coast. There we dressed for the tropics and were made up, then taken by small local fishing boats (called pangas) to the private island. What a beautiful location.
Since the extras group was rather small, we had a very enjoyable day acting as the “background”, waiting, chatting, taking in some sun, and eating from a scrumptious buffet. I was in a group of about 10 or so asked to be background in one of Bond’s heroic action scenes where he speeds up to the dock in his powerboat and carries the beautiful Camille (Olga Kurylenko) ashore who has been hurt. It was excellent to have the chance to watch the making of a major movie from within. What an awesome day. Late in the afternoon we were bussed back to Panama City and said good bye to the friends we had made during the shoot.
I believe most of us had a great time and what a once in a lifetime experience. Would I do it again? Indeed I would. We were absolutely not allowed to take photos which are a shame because I cannot share them with you here. So the only souvenir I will have is to buy a copy of the film once it becomes available. But you can check out the trailer now: