Details of filming in Panama and Italy for the 22nd James Bond film "Quantum of Solace" emerge...

Production Diary (9)
2nd February 2008

A 78-year-old building that houses the Cultural Institute of Panama will be transformed into a hotel for the filming of the new James Bond film "Quantum of Solace". Shooting will also includes scenes set in the northern province of Colon.

Filming in the Instituto de Cultura building in the Old Town district of the Panamanian capital will start on February 11th. The shooting will last about a week and will include other sites in the area such as a former colonial social club.

The Instituto de Cultura has been repainted and fitted with new carpet for the filming. The building constructed in 1930 and served from 1932 as the seat of the Supreme Court.

Local press claim that one of the scenes include an assassination attempt on James Bond when he is in the hotel elevator.

Above: The Instituto de Cultura building in the Old Town district of Panama.

For the filming will use hundreds of extras both in the Old Town and in Columbus, about 80 kilometres north of the capital. For shooting in the Old Town, parking lots near the National Theater were rented and the area of an old public market was used as a focal point. Pitu Jaén, assistant head of the Old Town office, confirmed the details to local reporters.

Above: A typical street in Old Town, Panama

Jaén said that the Panama locations will be doubling for Bolivia. Panama will not feature as Panama in the film. He added that his office has been in consultation with the production to coordinate with local residents to "minimize inconvenience" during the shooting.

Elsewhere, Carlos Chavarria the district mayor of Portobelo, in the Atlantic province of Colon, said that filming in his area would take place between March 1st and March 4th.

"They are going to shoot in the town of La Guaira, on Goat Island and in the Tunnel of Love, a place where there is only mangroves and is located between the towns of Garrote and Cacique", he said. Chavarria, who noted that the film highlights the historic sites of Portobelo, revealed there are plans to hire some 700 people to work as extras, 'although most are choosing to (the city of) Columbus'.

Above: The old colonial town of Portobelo

The Marketing Coordinator of the Panamanian Institute of Tourism, Andres Castro, said that Panama receives benefits of filming. "Many of the films we see in the movies leave us images that stay with us and encourage us to want to visit places where they thrive plots," he added. He stressed that "the production of a film also generates foreign exchange and creates local jobs associated with the films." He added that jobs, temporary or permanent, "serve as a great experience for the development of Panamanian qualified personnel in all areas of film production." In July 2007, President Martin Torrijos signed a law on the Promotion of the Film and Broadcasting in Panama, which helps boost the country's film industry.

Cast and crew will arrive in Italy to shoot at Malcesine from March 15th to March 21st, according to reports. The filming will take place between the resort towns of Malcesine, Tempesta and Navene.

The locations have been selected for the pre-titles sequence for the film, which will see a stunning 200 KPH car chase along the banks of Lake Garda.

The pursuit will feature spectacular and reckless manoeuvres in a series of tunnels, culminating with a scene where a truck brings the action to an abrupt halt and huge explosion.

After March 21st, the production will move to Limone in order capture the remaining shots for the chase.

Above: The resort town of Malcesine

News Round-Up...
Spanish actor Fernando Guillen Cuervo has been cast in "Quantum of Solace", according to media reports. The Barcelona-born 45 year old actor/director has mostly appeared in Spanish-language films up until now. Cuervo's agency confirmed the casting to reporters. There are no details yet on his character

MI6 attended the 2008 Toy Fair in the UK earlier this week to witness the unveiling of new James Bond products coming out later this year. Corgi announced a new series of 7" action figures that will feature characters from the 21 James Bond films to date as well as the upcoming "Quantum of Solace". In the line-up of figures from the new movie, Corgi mysteriously included a character named "Elvis" in the list. This character has yet to be announced by the production. Back in December, Swiss actor Anatole Taubman confirmed he had landed a 'henchman' role in the film. Taubman has yet to be officially announced too.