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Rally driver Mark Higgins talks about his `Quantum of Solace` stunt work

01-Nov-2008 • Quantum Of Solace

The sensational opening car- chase scenes in the latest James Bond blockbuster Quantum of Solace were made possible thanks to Welsh-based rally ace Mark Higgins, it emerged yesterday.

The 37-year-old three times British rally champion, who lives in Newtown, Powys, filmed the thrilling scenes in April - reports Wales Online.

They ensured that heavily insured Bond actor Daniel Craig was neither shaken or stirred by the breathtaking chase scenes, which many critics have called the highlight of the new movie.

Until now, Higgins, who lives with his partner Caroline and two children Charlotte and Ben, has been sworn to secrecy about his role as a stunt double/driver in the 22nd (Eon produced) Bond movie.

The high speed opening scenes were filmed in the streets of Siena, around Lake Garda between Milan and Venice and in Carrara in Tuscany.

Mark, also a test driver for Pirelli, stood in as the villain chasing another stunt driver playing the role of Daniel Craig’s James Bond.

Mark said yesterday: “It was a dream come true appearing in a Bond film.

“My family have stopped talking about my rally driving now – they all say ‘He’s been in a Bond movie’.

“I haven’t had a chance to watch the film yet. The premieres are reserved for the ‘Division A’ team in the film, the stars, cast, producer and director and the lead technicians.

“I’ll have to watch it with everyone else. It will probably get boring for people around me at the start, I’ll be saying ‘That’s me, that’s me!”

Speaking of Craig, Mark said: “He’s a really down-to- earth, nice guy.”

Fans of the spy series are already flocking to screens to for Bond’s 22nd outing, which has met with a mixed reception from critics.

The film is Craig’s second in the iconic role.

His brooding performance in Casino Royale was credited with reinvigorating the franchise.

It took £1.7m on the first day of its release in the UK alone, grossing more than £300m worldwide.

Quantum of Solace picks up where the last finished, as Bond seeks revenge for the death of his love Vesper Lynd, and sets out to stop environmentalist Dominic Green, (played by Mathieu Amalric) from taking control of a country’s water supply.

It boasts two Bond girls – Ukrainian-born Olga Kurylenko as Camille, and British actress Gemma Arterton as Agent Fields.

Princes William and Harry were guests of honour at the film’s world premiere in London’s Leicester Square on Wednesday.

Mark said he was sworn to secrecy about the film before its release. He said: “I’d like to be in another so I had to stay silent.”

The intriguing title of the latest Bond film was chosen from a 1960 short story in Ian Fleming’s collection, For Your Eyes Only.

Critics, who have generally preferred Casino Royale to Quantum, have praised Craig for helping reinvent Bond as a cruel and emotionally battered character... far closer to the super-spy of Fleming’s gritty novels.

“The character’s rounded and 90% of his views I can’t go along with,” said Craig after Wednesday’s premiere. “But he falls in love and falls out of love, he struggles with his work, and to get some of those in the movie is just the job. I don’t know another way of doing it – I look to the Flemings for help.”

Quantum of Solace is the shortest Bond movie to date, but packs in more locations than ever before. Filming began in January at Pinewood Studios in the UK before moving on to Panama, Chile’s Atacama desert, various locations in Italy, plus Bregenz in Austria and San Felipe, Mexico.

The workload was tougher than it was on Casino Royale, Craig said.

“There was a potential actors’ strike in June or July and because we’d started we had to finish on a certain date, so the pressure was on – we couldn’t stop. If I’d got an injury and we’d had to stop for a couple of weeks it would have really screwed things around.”

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