The plot thickens…
JAMES BOND SPOILER ALERT – please stop reading NOW if information about the film set and plot would affect your enjoyment of Skyfall.
Almost didn’t go back to Hankley today, but I’m glad we did, as I had an interesting chat with one of the construction crew who told me some plot stuff. Apparently the lodge is Bond’s Scottish family home. So not a monastery at all, rather an ancestral seat. According to him, the chapel is going to have the gravestones of Bond’s grandmother and other family members, and that’s where Bond takes refuge after the lodge gets blown up.
We got talking because I was surprised to realise that the big hole in the wall that I discussed here, had completely vanished. I wondered what the point was of building a big hole and then filling it in, so I asked them. As it turns out, my daughter’s suggestion was right – they’ve covered up the hole.
So… they’ve built a big hole into the wall, then they’ve built a second, normal looking wall over the top. They’ve even put in window frames made of balsa, the ultra-light wood that model aeroplanes are made of. The point of this extra special fakery is so that they can blow up the second wall and be left with the original hole-in-the-wall. Clever stuff.
The hole-in-the-wall is on the far right of photo here – to the right of the big doorway. Watch that space, folks.
So then apparently Bond is going to come hurtling through the gates on the ridge in his aston martin, hotly pursued by someone with unfriendly designs on him. I heard today that Daniel Craig would actually be there for some of the filming, but I’m a bit doubtful, tbh.
Anyhow, the plot dictates that the homecoming son takes refuge in the grand family seat, which then gets blown to bits by baddies in a helicopter and simultaneously stormed by armed baddies on the ground (who’ve poured out of said helicopter), whereupon Bond flees to the chapel, presumably seeking the protection of his forefathers (and mothers).
Apparently the lodge is a replica of an actual lodge in Scotland, where they’ve already been filming, but can’t blow it up for the obvious reason that this would rather annoy the owners. So I’m guessing that any heartstring-tugging shots of Daniel reverently touching the gravestone of his granny before doing forward rolls into a bush and throttling the baddies with their own braces, have already been filmed. You never know though, I suppose. They’ve still not finished the roof, and apparently it’ll now be left as it is, since they can cover the bald bit with cgi. It’s the front that you see above that’s the important angle, apparently. Here are some nice hot air balloons floating over the undone bit of the lodge – I wonder if Surrey air balloon revenue has increased in relation to the skyfall filming. All three emergency services were certainly in evidence yesterday, and I assume the film-makers generously compensate the M.O.D. and all the services. Today I was chatting with a Surrey police officer, and he told me that lots of safety cover is provided (at a price) to ensure that the whole explosives issue is safe and covered from a fire perspective. He also told me that the film set had to apply for a licence to blow stuff up, and that the licence is valid for the next few weeks. On the basis of all that I’ve been told today, it seems that filming starts on Tuesday, that there’ll be day and night shoots over the next couple of weeks, and that there’ll be some gratifying low-light explosions occurring. I’ve been a bit concerned about the fire risk inherent in blowing up stuff on heathland – one of the most flammable protected habitats you can find. I’m reassured by finding these big inflatable water bowsers, accompanied by huge reels of hose, which will presumably be on standby on the explosive night.
We wandered a long meandering way around Hankley today, only coming near all the film business towards the end of the walk. We ended up on the ridge overlooking the site though, and came across ‘the gatehouse’.
What really struck me is that the fakery looks just so damned realistic. They’ve pretty much finished the gatehouse now, and it’s fabulous; the edges of the walls are just so convincingly tumbledown and colonised with mosses and lichens. It’s only when you look very closely at the lichen that you realise that it’s just sparsely scattered yellow dots on plaster. It really does the job on first glance though. If the filming’s going to occur mainly at dusk or night, though, then you wonder whether all this detail is worth it considering the fact that most of it is unlikely to be seen. I’m drawn in by all this make believe now though, and I’m feeling rather excited at the thought of seeing some filming.