Tell us a bit about Bond’s return to Jamaica. Why did this seem important to you for this latest film in the Craig’s Bond series?
It was something that [producer] Barbara [Broccoli] really wanted to do. Barbara doesn’t like to talk about her age but she was a one year old baby while filming Dr No. [Editorâs note: Broccoli is the daughter of Dr. No producer Albert R. Broccoli, who produced more than 15 Bond movies.] And given that Ian Fleming wrote the stories in Jamaica and it’s Bond’s birthplace, going back – from Doctor No until now – as a sort of retreat for him, it suited him.
Where did you find Bond’s open-air waterfront villa?
We found this little cove just outside of Port Antonio – we did a few scout trips there. I had in mind a picture of what I wanted this place to look like. I had spent time around GoldenEye [where Fleming lived and wrote the novels] a few years ago and I had had an idea of ââthe mangroves and the waterfront and its beauty. I felt like it had to be the right mix of remoteness, but still a little bit of civilization, and this little cove in particular offered that. There were no other houses built around; in fact, we built this house on the beach, so it’s a complete build. There was an old pool there that we rehabilitated, but other than that there was nothing else down there. There wasn’t even a road to get to it, so we had to simulate the Land Rover leaving and the scooter arriving. We brought a Land Rover on a barge [to make it work].
Speaking of something out of thin air, how did you and your team create a replica of Cuba to film?
We had spotted Kingston – and parts of Kingston have a similar architectural relationship with different parts of Cuba. I specifically wanted [recreate] Santiago, Cuba, as Santiago almost directly faces Port Antonio. It seemed the only reason the CIA contacted Bond was because they couldn’t get in, but he could, so it made sense to use Santiago as a sister city since Port Antonio was the starting point.
We couldn’t shoot in Cuba, although I really wanted to shoot there, as production requirements required us to either stay in Jamaica or return to the UK. We ended up building it on the grounds of Pinewood Studios [in London] and it was a fortuitous choice because we made this decision before going to Jamaica – and in Jamaica, Daniel got injured. So the whole thing was built and ready to go and then suddenly we only got to film some parts of it. We ended up shooting part of it in May, and then we kept the set for about five months until the end of production where we were able to come back to it and finish the sequence. If we had been addicted to a place, I can’t even imagine what it would have cost us to have to go back. So we were very lucky to be able to keep him on the pitch. This was ultimately the last shooting of the film. Whether it’s the first place we shoot or the last place we shoot, it has special meaning. It was also an incredible piece of street decor. I wish they could keep it forever.
I guess the winding highway, fjords, and forests in the movie’s car chase scenes weren’t built on studio land. What inspired these real film locations?