MI6 talked to 2nd Unit director Alexander Witt on
the set of Casino Royale to discuss his work on the
21st James Bond film...
Casino Royale 2nd Unit Director - Alexander
13th November 2006
With just over a week of filming left before
Casino Royale wrapped principal photography, MI6 visited the
filming on location at Dunsfold Aerodrome, UK, and caught
up with 2nd Unit director Alexander Witt to talk about the movie.
Can you describe what you are filming
We are recreating a part of a scene set at Miami Airport. There is a car chase
which we are currently setting up for, a approach from the escaping tanker
towards the plane.
We’ve just watched the scene been filmed and
reset for another take, how long will it be on film?
The scene with the bullet hits on the tanker will probably be on screen for
around one to two seconds. We have to get the timing right, the squibs, the
water coming out of the tanker and the police car moving out. The first take
didn’t really work, no water came out of two bullet holes. So we have
to do it again!
Above: Bond and Carlos fight aboard the tanker as it ploughs
towards the prototype aircraft at Miami Airport.
How dangerous are some of the scenes and stunts you have
are dangerous because we are going through a lot of debris, planes,
police cars and over police cars. It’s really dangerous
for the stunt drivers who are driving the tanker, because there
is no glass on the front, so any debris can hit them. It takes
a lot of planning to make sure nothing goes into the cab.
We have a new James Bond, it’s a fresh start, what
will the film offer Bond fans new and old in the way of stunts?
film is more about the story and going back to basics which the
first James Bond films had. There are two big scenes we did,
one in the Bahamas and one at Miami Airport. The
action is raw in the sense that they are trying to do every stunt
for real. If we are using CGI its more to enhance the background
plates. The stunts themselves we are doing for really. That
is the difference. The last couple of Bonds have had a lot of CGI
and invisible cars. It was getting a little over the top, this
one we are back
to basics and that’s the main difference between this film
and the others.
Has Daniel Craig performed most his own stunts?
Yes, we’ve encourage him to do them, and he’s
willing to do them. We have to stop him doing the more dangerous
stunts. If he gets hunt we have to stop the how production
and that’s not good.
Who makes the decision if he will carry out his own
It’s between the Stunt Coordinator and Producers,
the Stunt Coordinator could say "yes" and the
Producers say "no its too dangerous", so we have
to listen to them. At the end of it’s the Stunt Coordinator
who say "yes I feel comfortable in doing the stunt
What it the next setup for the shoot?
The next scene is the
approach from the tanker to the plane, which you can see in the
background. We’ve change
the whole geography of the plane and set it up for how it fits
into the film.
What does being a Second Unit Director entail?
to help the first unit, especially with actions scenes and help
finish the actions scenes. The first unit will
come in and do all the close ups on the actors or if we get the
actors sometimes then we finish the whole scene. On this film Daniel
is very busy with the first unit everyday so it’s difficult
to get him.
Above: Alexander Witt (2nd Unit Director) on location at Dunsfold
Airfield in Surrey.
What was your reaction when you first read the script?
Even before I read the script I had an interview, I was very
work on one of the Bond films. Because it’s one of the longest franchise
we’ve seen, and I grow up with it.
How closely have you worked
with Martin Campbell?
From the very beginning you work very
closely together, the storyboards and the every time we start
a scene, we talk about
how he sees the scene as it’s his film. We are really here
to help him. We’ve also worked very hard to match what
the 1st Unit DP does, so we’ve worked very closely
You’ve worked on a great may action films over the
years how does Casino Royale rank up there?
That’s a hard one…. I think the stuff we’ve
been doing is very cool, like the chase in the Bahamas is something
I’ve never done before and that was exciting.
What do you think the signature scene will be for this film?
think the stuff we did in the Bahamas as it’s
never been put on film before.
How does it feel to be almost wrapped?
We finish in a week so its all pretty much done. It feels good,
to finish it.
Alexander Witt – 2nd Unit
Alexander Witt’s career spans more
than 25 years, starting as a camera assistant and then an
operator and director of photography. He has since earned
a stellar reputation as one of the industry’s top
visualizes as both a second unit director and a director
of photography and made his directorial debut in 2004 on
Resident Evil: Apocalypse staring Milla Jovovich.
Noted for his high-octane car chases and action sequences,
his credits as a second unit director include Speed and
Speed 2, Twister, Gladiator, Hannibal, Black Hawk Down,
The Bourne Identity, xXx and The Italian Job. Most recently,
Witt worked as second unit director on Hidalgo and Pirates
of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.*
Produced by Michael G. Wilson and
Barbara Broccoli (Eon Productions) and directed by Martin
Campbell, CASINO ROYALE is scheduled for release on November
16, 2006 in the UK. Principal photography started on January
30th 2006, with locations in the UK, Czech Republic (Prague),
Italy, and the Bahamas. It will be British actor Daniel Craig’s
first outing as James Bond. He is the sixth actor to play
the 007 role in the franchise.
The film also stars Judi Dench, Eva Green, Mads
Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Caterina Murino,
Simon Abkarian, Tobias Menzies, Ivana Milicevic, Clemens Schik,
Ludger Pistor, Claudio Santamaria and Isaach de Bankole.
Campbell On Directing 007
Craig Press Conference
James Bond 007 #6 is Daniel Craig
Thanks to Sophie Davison
*Mini Biography courtesy of Sony Pictures