Niagara Gazette

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April 8, 2008

FILM: On ’Quantum of Solace’ set, even the explosions are feeling lonely

After getting the bad end of his own ax in a fight, a bloodied villain limps alone in a stark desert.

Mathieu Amalric stumbles to the red, rocky ground.

“CUT!” rings loudly from the set of the 22nd James Bond film.

Picking up an hour after “Casino Royale” left off, “Quantum of Solace” is the spy franchise’s first direct sequel. Filming began in January and has taken the crew from Britain to Panama to this moonlike landscape in northern Chile, which is standing in for Bolivia.

It’s a place that director Marc Forster said evokes Bond’s “isolation and loneliness.”

“He is an assassin, he is a secret agent, and that reflects a certain lifestyle, which is lonely,” said Forster.

Indeed, the big news on the set is that one of the two Bond girls, Olga Kurylenko, doesn’t get in even a single kiss with star Daniel Craig. (“Why would I be disappointed?” Kurylenko insisted. “I’m just doing my work.”)

The question is: Do audiences want an emo Bond?

Craig says not to worry too much.

“We’re not making a kitchen sink drama here. We are making a Bond movie,” he said. “What Marc wanted and the producers and what I wanted is to bring back a visual flair to the movie, so that every frame in every shot that we see is beautiful. And there may be things exploding, but they’re good to look at.”

Still, Forster, the youngest-ever Bond director at 39, was hired on by longtime producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson because of his emotionally intense films like “Monster’s Ball” and “The Kite Runner.”

Despite the heightened realism of the last Bond film, not to mention its commercial success (over $500 million worldwide), the German-born Swiss director was wary of joining the bombastic franchise.

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