Earlier this month MI6 persuaded Sarah Donohue to
take some time out of her hectic schedule and talk
Interview - Sarah Donohue (Part 1)
26th December 2003
European Champion powerboat racer Sarah Donohue took a short
break from her busy schedule to talk to MI6. In this two part
we chat about her work on the opening sequence of "The World
Is Not Enough" and how she got into the world of stunts...
How long have you been in the stunt business?
Ive been in the stunt business 4 years, but in the
extreme sports world working for television testing/reporting
on new and
old extreme sports, 10 years!.
How did you start out as a stuntwoman?
My father suggested stunt work to me when I was 21.
there I took qualifications to be on the register
but got sidetracked by Offshore Powerboat Racing which
as you can imagine took up all my time and energies
and I had
to focus 100% on racing, and then the Extreme sports
kicked in soon after, working for Granada TV.
Left: Sarah Donohue in costume as
the Cigar Girl on set.
What has been you favourite film you have worked on, or your
favourite stunt you have performed?
I loved working for the BBC when I actually reconstructed my
own accident for the TV show 999. Its the
first time the BBC have allowed such a thing as usually it would
traumatic and they would always have to bring stunts into it.
But as I said to them - if they went to the register, they
only get referred back to me anyway!!! I had a big accident racing
in Italy and was on life-support. Everyone used in the reconstruction
was used in 999.
Come In 007...
Was "The World is Not Enough" your first film to
perform as a stuntwoman?
When the stunt was proposed, where you the first person
that Vic called for the job, why?
As far as I am aware, they needed a specialist for
the job as opposed to someone who had boat-handling skills.
It was precision driving, or as much as it can be on water!!!
So I was the obvious choice. It was a piece of cake for
At what stage did you come onboard the project?
I came onboard right at the beginning, training at the
lake in December
It was very important we knew
the limitations of the boat and worked on any foreseeable
early. Also the jet boats and the 360 midair barrel roll
had to be practiced.
How long was the prep and what did it involve?
We tested at the lake in December and into January, February
was the ski scene in Chaminoix and then back to boats in
March through to I think around May. We had to see if the
boat could turn on a six pence and what it was capable of.
Where theyre any accident that delayed shooting?
No accident delayed shooting but one scene that took longer
than expected which took up loads of time and pissed everyone
off to the point where when we got it, it was pure Euphoria,
was when Pierce was seen going underwater in the boat, straightening
his tie, after the bridge had come down just as I went through.
Above: Sarah Donohue
When you try and dive a boat, its touch and go which direction
it comes up when underwater. We needed it just to go straight
ahead only for a second, but the force of the water kept changing
the boats direction as it dived. Both Gary Powel and Wade Eastwood
took turns continually until we got the shot. It must have taken
a million goes!!! Finally Wade got it, it was luck.
No one, no matter who it was, was in charge of the outcome. It
down to Mother Nature.
Where was the sequence filmed?
Docklands and the Thames, London.
Were there any heart-stopping moments during you time on
the Bond films, or did everything go to plan?
Heart stopping. Yes! Every time I looked at Simon Crane the
stunt co-ordinator! Hes a stunner!
"The World is Not Enough"
3. Blazing Boat Chase
Above: A Sunseeker similar to that
which appeared in "The
World is Not Enough" 1999.
How close to the storyboards and pre-visualisation
did the chase end up?
The storyboards just about matched the film. They had been
well thought out, there were a few things that were very
hard to do with boats which I dont think they realised
just how difficult until they were tried, i.e. the midair
barrel roll, but there was such a good team of experts that
Simon and Vic got what they wanted in the end. Anything
on water always takes over twice as long as expected and
is ALWAYS unpredictable.
Bond & Boats
How many Sunseekers did you have for the chase sequences?
We had three to begin with. But then went down to 1
and 1 empty shell to blow up at the Dome. There was a new
one ready to go just in case but they told me to keep my
paws off it! I think they thought me to be destructive!!
How did the Sunseeker compare to the other boats you have
The Sunseeker... Well Id like to sing its praises
but to be honest I cant. Every time I pushed it to the
limit, I broke it. The drives went. It is a pleasure boat after
is perfect for what it is built for. But it is not built for
full speed 180 lock turns as the drives got smashed to pieces,
had the Volvo drives been changed for Mercruiser racing drives
and the transom been strengthened then it wouldve caused
a lot less hassle. They are made to be punished! It served
purpose and Sunseekers are definitely the best boats in the World
by far. But they are made for pleasure not for extremities
and James Bond...
Keep an eye out for the final part of the interview where we
continue chatting the "The World is Not Enough" pre-credit
Many thanks to Sarah Donohue.
- Sarah Donohue (Part 2)
MI6 "The World is
Not Enough" Coverage