M's chief of staff Bill Tanner will return to the series in "Quantum of Solace", plus a round-up of plot detail and shooting news from Pinewood Studios...

Production Diary (7)
26th January 2008

Tanner Returns
Although Moneypenny and Q will not return following their absence in "Casino Royale", one of James Bond's long-standing allies will appear in "Quantum of Solace". British actor Rory Kinnear will play Bill Tanner, M's chief of staff at MI6. Tanner and M were recently captured filming at The Barbican in London (seen below).

Tanner, a character from the literary series by Ian Fleming, has been played in earlier films by three actors. The character first appeared uncredited in "The Man With The Golden Gun" played by Michael Goodliffe. In 1980, when Bernard Lee had been struck down with stomach cancer and was unable to film "For Your Eyes Only", producers split all of M's dialogue between Q, the Minister of Defence (played by Geoffrey Keen) and Bill Tanner (James Villiers) as a mark of respect. Tanner had been a regular character in Fleming's novels, acting as M's chief of staff. It would be James Villiers' only appearance in the series as M was recast in the follow-up film "Octopussy".

When Pierce Brosnan took up the role for 1995's "GoldenEye", Tanner reappeared at MI6 along with a new M played by Dame Judi Dench. This time around, Michael Kitchen took up the role opposite 'the Queen of numbers'. It was planned for Tanner to return in the next film, "Tomorrow Never Dies", but Kitchen was unavailable to reprise his role. It was quickly rewritten as a new character, MI6 aide Charles Robinson, played by Colin Salmon. Both Tanner and Robinson returned for Brosnan's third film, "The World Is Not Enough", once again played by Kitchen and Salmon respectively. For Brosnan's final outing, "Die Another Day", only Robinson would return and the character of Tanner once again disappeared from the series.

Above: Rory Kinnear plays Bill Tanner in "Quantum of Solace", M's chief of staff at MI6. Scenes were shot at The Barbican in London on January 4th 2008.

Set Tour
In "Quantum of Solace", Tanner's office is adjacent to M's and is separated by a wall of glass that can be 'frosted' for privacy at the touch of a button. For the latest film, an impressive two-story set has been built at Pinewood Studios featuring ultra-modern decor, steel-grey furniture, marble floors and frosted glass doors. It has been outfitted with impressive attention to detail, from the real desks and computers down to the chrome coffee pots and weekly newsmagazines laid out on a waiting-room table. The iconic MI6 building on the River Thames did not feature in "Casino Royale", with M's scenes played out at her apartment. This time around, audiences will be introduced to her house.

Above: Under fire, Daniel Craig makes a leap from a balcony in the Siena art gallery to a rope

Elsewhere at Pinewood, amongst the various sprawling sets, is a cavernous interior of the art gallery in the Italian city of Siena. It is here that Bond has an explosive fight scene, as revealed in some early footage released by the studio, according to a BBC report. Although Craig will perform most of the action himself, Ben Cooke returns from "Casino Royale" as his lead stunt double. Several statues - some eight metres tall - stand around the gallery set, wrapped in clear plastic - presumably to protect them from the pyrotechnics. One snippet from the action scenes, where Bond leaps from a window on to a rope hanging from vast black-and-white marble pillars, has been seen in the B-roll footage at the press conference.

Producer Michael G. Wilson has let slip that the new film will open with a big car chase in the streets of Siena. As MI6 reported last year, some location filming has already taken place in Siena. At Pinewood, a complex of underground tunnels - the Siena cisterns - have been recreated to an amazing level of detail. Another Siena-based set is a subterranean MI6 safe-house with a deep-water well, a crypt with massive stone columns, and huge wooden beams.

Above: Daniel Craig watches the action from the Palace Of Elci in a balcony overlooking
the "Madonna dell'Assunta Palio di Siena" horse race, where the "Quantum of Solace" crew shot location footage on August 16th 2007.

Filming has already taken place on a set of a luxurious hotel suite in Pinewood. The 'honeymoon' suite will be featured in a high-end hotel in Bolivia in the film. Bond will be looked after by Fields (played by Gemma Arterton), an MI6 agent based at the British Consulate in Bolivia.

Wilson also mentioned to reporters that an ambitious free-fall sequence involving motion-control cameras will be featured. The new Bond girl Olga Kurylenko is currently in body flight training for the aerial scenes.

Filming, which began January 3rd, is taking place on five sound stages, including the vast "007" stage, rebuilt after it was gutted by fire in 2006. There are about 500 cast and crew working on the film at Pinewood, 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week. "We have a crew that's all worked together, all know each other," said Wilson. "It's a good atmosphere." He added that the visual style created by production designer Dennis Gassner and director Marc Forster was "a postmodern look at modernism".

Above: Bond's luxury 'honeymoon' suite in Bolivia

Once cast and crew move on to shoot in more glamorous locales - including Austria's Lake Constance, Lake Garda in northern Italy, Panama, Chile and Peru - the sets will be dismantled and new ones constructed for a fresh round of filming on their return. Shooting will wrap in June.