2nd Unit Director Dan Bradley talks about shaking
and stirring James Bond in "Quantum of Solace" with
adrenaline pumping action sequences...
Dan Bradley On Shaking Up 007
25th November 2008
Having started his career as a stuntman, Dan
Bradley is no stranger to action and has written and directed
some of the most ground breaking stunt sequences in recent history. "Quantum
of Solace" is Bradley’s first Bond film; “When
I first got called to interview for the Bond film I really couldn’t
believe it. In an instant the 20 year old stunt guy that I was
30 years ago took over and, even though I had just finished my
sixth picture back to back and really wanted a vacation, there
was no way that I was going to miss working on the 22nd Bond
“One of the things that a lot of people
don’t know is that
I write most of the action that I shoot. So the first thing
I asked Marc is if he minded me taking a pass at the action in
this script. Fortunately he really liked what I dreamt up.
this process we quickly found we were on the same page concerning
the action for this film.
“One of the things I really believe is
that we shouldn’t
try and make everything feel perfectly staged. I’m always
saying to my crew, I want to feel like we were lucky to catch
a glimpse of some crazy piece of action. I don’t want
it to feel like a movie, where everything is perfectly presented
to the audience.”
Dan Bradley spent two months with the 2nd Unit
in Italy shooting the car chase and the rooftop chase. “I loved shooting
in Italy, the locations were stunning but there is a price to
be paid for all this stunning scenery and I paid it in gray hairs.
The logistics of taking over mountain and lakeside roads meant
that often we had very limited time on the street to get our
shots. And car chases take time, lots of it, and the faster you
want to drive the more time it takes so my ambition was often
battered by my reality.
I love the bit where Bond loses the driver’s door of the
Aston Martin. I have never before seen that in a car chase. In
the middle of the chase, Bond’s door is ripped off, now
it’s like, every car that comes past him, every shot that
is fired at him, the potential for Bond’s demise withers
from every moment. I love that, I love what it gives us in terms
of storytelling and the threat to Bond.”
“I am always experimenting with ways to
deconstruct the action so that it feels spontaneous and really
dangerous as opposed
to the reality; which is that, it is all very carefully and
painstakingly choreographed and rehearsed so that it is safe.
“I have been very impressed with Daniel
Craig. He is an obviously talented and capable actor, but he
has this fantastic work ethic
and is willing to do just about anything to get a good shot,
including his own stunts. In the Siena rooftop chase there
were several leaps across streets and alleyways from 4 and 5
rooftops and Daniel did them all. He even jumped out a window
and dropped 20 feet toward the roof of a speeding bus. It’s
“I’m after emotional, visceral reactions from the audience
and I get that through a shot by shot evaluations and judgment
calls. It’s not easy and a lot of what I do requires the
crew to think and operate ‘outside the box’. If something
feels too familiar I find myself searching for a different approach.
“I want each shot to pass my gut check. Does it make me feel something?
Does it feel dangerous enough? Does it feel too staged or artificial?
Can we go faster?
“It’s all a bit counter-intuitive. It has to be safe but
not feel safe. We have to see it but if it is too easy to see
then, to me, it feels staged. I don’t want the audience
to have a passive viewing experience. I’ll do anything
I can to subversively provoke them into active participation.
“Every time someone finds themselves gripping the armrests in
the theatre or leaning to one side trying to see something
better, I’ve won. That person is no longer just an audience member
he’s a participant.
“It’s quite simply an unbelievable experience being part
of a Bond film. After all, Bond stands alone in its success and
sheer longevity. There will never again be another character
that can so successfully remain relevant in a fast changing world.”
Thanks to Sony Pictures Releasing UK.