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007 Chronicles (17-02-99)

22nd February 2014

15 years ago this month plans for filming Bond 19's snow scenes had to be scrubbed because of a record-setting avalanche

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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With filming already under way on "The World Is Not Enough", Michael Apted was poised to take his 007 star and his leading lady to the French Alps. But then, disaster struck and the resort of Chamonix was subject to the largest avalanche disaster for almost 100 years. 11 lives were lost in the process, victims were found under 23 feet of snow, and the insurers of the Bond production deemed it too dangerous for their precious stars to film.

The news hit the mainstream media on 17th February 1999; as ever, the British tabloids were following all the trials and tribulations of filming the latest instalment in the iconic series. The setback put the shooting schedule several days behind and added new logistical challenges and hasty arrangements to the already pricy 70 million pound production, the news media explained.

The delay was thought of in economic terms, as well as human resources and time. As an EON spokesperson explained: "We are talking about millions of pounds that could be lost. The insurers decided it just wasn't a risk worth taking".

The spokesperson added: "It's a major headache. There are people already close to a nervous breakdown." Although the delays meant that the principle stars could not film at the location, second unit and crew members already on location were able to assist with the rescue operation. Then Bond, Pierce Brosnan, and co-star Sophie Marceau eventually shot on the location, but once the alps were deemed safe for the insurers investment. The location actually doubles for the Caucasus mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

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