of the blades
has taught swordplay to the greats of the actingworld, including elfin
Arwen FELPHAM, England - The latest handiwork of Bob Anderson, who
nearly 50 years making sword fights on the screen look convincing, can
be seen in the film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic The Lord of
battle scenes have drawn praise from some critics, the results are not,
Anderson is quick to point out, fencing in thetraditional mode. "We use
weird weapons," he said. "It's not fencing, I've got to tell you. It's
hammering each other with swords. Tremendous!" With Tolkien setting his
story in Middle-Earth, conjuring up medieval times, Anderson said he
to deal with "all sorts of characters -- barbaric creatures, really
brutes." "So I made it bestial, but there's still some really neat
himself on his reputation for safety, and will not accept any
When Liv Tyler, who plays the young heroine Arwen, was told to practice
for her sword fights, she was less than enthusiastic and faced the full
force of the sword master's wrath, he said.
I was going away for a while, leaving her with my assistant," he said.
"If she wasn't properly rehearsed on my return, I would report as such
to the film's director, Peter Jackson. When I got back, I could see a
in my assistant's eye so I knew something was up. Liv put on one of the
best fights I've ever seen a girl do."
widely acknowledged as the master of his craft. No one else can match
experience, imaginative swordplay or longevity. "It started in 1952,"
said. "I was in England, in the Royal Marines, and had made the British
sabre team for the Helsinki Olympics."
the games he was asked if he was free to act as double and fight
in an Errol Flynn movie, The Master of Ballantrae. He said he hit it
with Flynn immediately, but during a duel in Sicily he played a French
pirate, and pierced Flynn in the thigh. Flynn said immediately that it
was his own fault -- he had been distracted by a boat passing by -- and
soon the two men were off drinking together. But for long afterward
stuntmen mercilessly recalled the thrust. "That's the man who stabbed
Flynn," they would warn actors, Anderson said.
to work with Flynn on two other movies. During a career of more than
films, he doubled for Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back and Return
of the Jedi, taught Richard Gere his swordplay for First Knight and
Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones for The Mask
of his film career, he fenced competitively. At the Helsinki Games, he
narrowly missed the final because of an injury. In 1954, he was
Britain's national coach, remaining until 1979. He won the British
title from 1962 to 1964 and the professional championships in all three
weapons -- foil, sabre and épée -- for four years in
He went to seven Olympics, first as competitor, then as coach.
film fights often emphasize the romantic Three Musketeers style of
which is different from the ultrarealism of such films as Rob Roy or
Duellists, or the impossible swordplay of Crouching Tiger, Hidden
in which the skills belong to the special-effects room, not the
He is the first to point out, though, that competitive fencing and the
film version are worlds apart.
bigger on film," he said. "You have to pull back your arm before making
a foil or épée thrust, and at sabre almost take it back
your head so the audience can see it coming." Whenever possible, he
to train actors to do the fight scenes for themselves, he said. "A
never has quite the feeling of the actor," he said. "There's always
mechanical about them."
to stand in for Sean Connery in the original Highlander as here wasn't
time to teach the actor the moves.
1 inch tall, marine-fit and handsome, Anderson said he thought for a
that he might have a career as an actor, but an early film, playing a
who is forced at sword point to the edge of a cliff and mortally
taught him that there was more to the craft than he thought:
good, Bob,' the director said. 'You're meant to be dying, but you look
as if you're enjoying it.' " Enthusiasm is a trait he has passed on to
his actors: When Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes appeared in the 1987
The Princess Bride, they would go on slashing away at each other long
cut was shouted, and had to be called to order for the next scene.
he has trained have been fine athletes, he said. For the 1998 Mask of
the actors practiced their fight scenes for more than two months,
fencing 10 hours a day until they got it right. Zeta-Jones has trained
in ballet and Banderas was rated by Anderson as the best natural talent
he has worked with.
action sequence by teaching the rhythm he wants, and works slowly up
there. "The most important thing is the changing rhythm of the blades,"
he said. "If all goes along at the same tempo it gets boring, so you
to go broad and slow, then fast and fluid."
usually aluminum replicas, light and well balanced, but they sound dull
as they strike, so the actual clash of steel against steel has to be
call him Grumpy Bob on the set, he was such a perfectionist," said
Campbell, the director of Zorro. "He was incredibly inventive, and also
refused to treat any of the actors as stars. They would complain about
the intensity of the training, but having worked with him, there's
I'd rather use." Preparations are underway for the same team and cast
make a sequel in 2002.
film, Anderson says he is going to retire, but then he recants. He is
in England, preparing the sword fighting for the new James Bond film.
film should be ready by November, although so far only Pierce Brosnan
Films in Iceland: No snow. No 007. No Problem.
moved trees, flew in some snow, and got on with work this week on the
James Bond movie, "Die Another Day."
Brosnan was recovering from knee surgery and couldn't make it. He was
a few weeks ago during filming of a hovercraft stunt scene.
to be here, but we couldn't get him," said second unit director Vic
adding that images of Brosnan filmed back in England could be inserted
into the Icelandic scenes later.
crew members were shooting at the dramatic Joekulsarlon glacial lagoon
in southeast Iceland for a five-minute chase sequence in the 20th Bond
to the middle of the movie. Bond is being chased and he must escape to
save Halle Berry from the Ice Palace that's about to sink," said
who also worked on Bond films "Tomorrow Never Dies" and "The World is
with all the guns and gadgets."
Day," set for release Nov. 22, the villain's henchman, Zao (Rick Yune),
lives in Iceland.
a convertible green Jaguar and a gray Aston Martin racing across the
lagoon with turquoise icebergs as obstacles. The eight cars used in
were modified to drive on ice.
he aims to "keep the cars flowing, spinning. It will be like a
is on the edge of the Vatnajokull glacier, the world's third-largest
cap. The lagoon, 240 miles from Reykjavik, was formed mostly after 1950
when the glacier began receding. It is about 330 feet deep in places,
is one of Iceland's most popular tourist attractions. It has appeared
numerous films, including the Bond film "A View to a Kill" and last
lagoon must be at least a foot thick to support the crew and cars. To
it, the filmmakers blocked the inlet to keep out warmer sea water.
bulldozers and dammed the enclosure using only natural materials," says
Leifur Dagfinnsson, unit manager. "We basically enhanced what nature
failed to oblige the film's need for snow in a scene set in a forest.
the action was moved to a glacier, snow was flown in, and a forest was
manufactured from 225 Norway spruce taken from the Hallormsstadur
Forest in eastern Iceland.
few trees - woodlands cover just 1.3 percent of the land - but
Eysteinsson, general director of the Forestry Service, said the
caused no pain.
were mainly the small young ones and needed to be thinned out of the
For Your Wrist Only, James
a licence to kill and spend his time with some of the most gorgeous
in the world draped over him but it would seem that James Bond star
Brosnan can't keep his hands on his watch.
that, during the filming of the latest 007 flick, Die Another Day, the
absent-minded spy has managed to lose three, yes three, of the
Omega watches worn by his character. Not to worry, though, as part of
contract Bond producer Eon Productions has with the watchmakers states
that the star gets the pricey timepieces replaced free of charge.
Lee's role to 'Die' for
co-star Will Yun Lee, doing double duty-shooting the
the latest James Bond flick, "Die Another Day" simultaneously-
short of heaven.
felt like a 5-year-old with the giggles every time I was on the
It was like a dream come true to actually be part of a James Bond
both projects, Lee found himself flying between Vancouver,where his
and the film's London location every week for 4 1/2 months.
Lee says "sleep was my biggest sacrifice" he'd do it all over again
to battle Bond, James Bond.
Fair: "For Your Eyes Only"
2002 issue of Vanity Fair has a four page photo spread taken on the set
of 'Die Another Day'. The photos are by Greg Williams and will appear
the book 'Bond On Set: Filming Die Another Day'. Vanity Fair's Bruce
finds out more about 'girls, gadgets and guns.'
James Bond adventure, November's Die Another Day, director Lee Tamahori
made sure to give Pierce Brosnan the full quota of gadgets and gunfire.
But when the latest Bond girl is Halle Berry, Bruce Handy learns, 007
also get the best sex he ever had....
Lee Tamahori is on the phone from Pinewood Studios, outside London,
he is wrapping up his chores as director of the 20th James Bond movie,
'Die Another Day,' which should not be confused with 'Tomorrow Never
the 18th Bond film and the one with the most idiotic title, since no
really expects "tomorrow" to "die," being that it's a point in time and
all. Best Bond title? 'Thunderball,' hands down; it works on so many
Lee Tamahori is on the phone. He is previously the director of 'Once
Warriors,' 'Mulholland Falls,' and 'Along Came a Spider.' How, we want
to know, does a director of such relatively idiosyncratic fare -
in comparison with 'Octopussy' - navigate the ritualized narrative, the
popcorn Kabuki, that is a Bond movie? "Girls, gadgets, guns," he says,
"those are indeed your building blocks. I mean, you know that since
a Bond he's going to shoot someone and drive a car. But I always head
a sense of logic. It's a thriller, and in a thriller everything has to
be treated seriously."
"In lovemaking, Bond's PG requirements have traditionally meant you can
only show post-coital sex. You know, clothes strewn about the room, the
camera slowly pans over to the bed.... But we thought, why couldn't
have the best lay of his life? So we shot a very hot love scene.
it survives the censor's cut - or the producers' - we'll see."
returns for his fourth spin as 007, while Halle Berry has been anointed
the new "Bond girl." As a follow-up to her Oscar-winning role in
Ball,' it's an interesting choice, for both her and the series: there
been other Bond girls who could act, but only rarely were they asked
Tamahori insists this time will be different. "It's been a joyride," he
says, now heading into the editing room. "I'll regret it if it comes
the same old Bond."
The Man Who Saves
of how James Bond got here runs thus: Betrayed during a covert
in North Korea, Bond has been held hostage for some time – enough at
to grow this image changing mane. Finally, he’s released, but he
loses patience with Dame Judi Dench and her stuffed shirt MI6 cronies
his debrief aboard a Navy Vessel and decides to jump ship, literally.
the waters of Hong Kong – a city represented cinematically by a few
tree lights on a black cloth background which miraculous appear like a
distant metropolis when viewed in playback.
scene Bond is to exit from a bulkhead door, evade two sailors who are
the ship for him, and leap into the water.
Brosnan approaches the door barefoot, looks quickly around it, strides
to the side and jumps.
feet to an out of shot mattress where his slippers are waiting.
it’s not Bond enough. “It felt kinda wrong,” Brosnan ticks
off quietly. “You’re trying to be stealthful, but you’re dressed
in pajamas and a Robinson Crusoe wig and you’re James Bond.” He
director Lee Tamahori have a few words.
it again. This time the action is slower. He looks almost
as he hides from the scurrying seamen. With casual sangfroid, he
walks to the side of the deck and then, with a quick look over his
jumps into the sea.
not playing it as if he’s in her Majesty’s Forces issue pajamas.
He’s playing it as if he’s wearing the sharpest Saville Row suit yet
Cinescape: Stock In Bond (12/02)
New 007 Director Lee Tamahori
be trapped by franchises
been a Bond fan,” days Lee Tamahori self styled “wife-beating” director
from New Zealand (a joking referenced to Tamahori’s acclaimed Once Were
Warriors). But the helmsman of Die Another Day says he lost
in the series for a while. “I got tired of Bond during the Roger
Moore years, as a lot of us did, when it got a bit hokey. Timothy
Dalton was OK, but it was when Pierce Brosnan came along that Bond got
re-enlivened. Goldeneye revamped the character in a
fantastic way. Instead of a smooth suave sophisticate, this was
a new MI6, SAS assassin-type Bond.
Judi Dench’s M famously called Bond “a sexist misogynist dinosaur, a
from the Col War”. But Tamahori leaps to agent’s defense.
some facets to the character that everyone has grown up loving,” the
says. “If some those seem anachronistic and antediluvian, so be
We try and reshape those to fit into a modern idiom, but I’m not going
to be the person to turn Bond into a New Age guy on the shrink’s
This is the man that saves the world and we’ve all seen it many times
we like him to keep doing it. There’s only on James Bond and he’s
been going for 40 years. Let’s face it, he’s always been desirous
of beautiful women! You cannot escape the fact that Bond is about
girls, gadgets and big action. It’s a kind of mantra.”
and action – is that all there is to it? Tamahori says no.
“If you only
serve those things up I think you do a disservice to 40 years of the
he says. “I grew up watching Bond as Cold War spy thriller -- From
Russia With Love was probably my favorite. Later the series
into the outrageousness of You Only Live Twice, then into the
Roger Moore years with big action and spectacular stunts. All the
time, it’s been metamorphing. You can’t go back to Ian Fleming’s
Bond now, because 40 years and 19 past movies have changed people’s
of what this guy is. He’s not Sean Connery anymore, and certain
do not hold true now. I find it very dull when Bond goes off to
of the opera – it’s so boring! Tuxedos and wandering around
and chips and roulette wheels… you need some more juice these days.”
What kind of
juice? Modestly, Tamahori gives credit to his colleagues.
[Bond Producer since the 70’s] and the writers [Neal Purvis and Robert
Wade, who also scripted The World Is Not Enough] are always
to enrich Bond,” Tamahori says. “They put a modern spin on
the story, no matter how outrageous it becomes in terms of stunts and
and highly unbelievable situations Bond winds up with girls. If
look through some of the recent stories they’ve been running Rupert
type magnates [Tomorrow Never Dies] and oil scams in Azerbaijan
[The World Is Not Enough]. There’s always someone who
to take over the world. Donald Pleasance set the bar in You Only
Live Twice and you’ve just got to come up with new ones!
The chief villain
in Die Another Day is supposedly benign business whiz kid called Gustav
Graves, played by Brit Shakespearean thespian Toby Stephens. This
time out Tamahori went for the unusual contrast between Bond and the
is that this is now Pierce’s fourth Bond outing,” the director
“He’s getting more mature, which I like. Usually the chief
are the same age or older. But we decided to peg this villain as much
guy. He’s 30ish, brash, cheeky, energetic, high-octane and very
We made him an extreme sportsman, giving him the spirit of Ayrton Senna
or Donald Campbell – guys who pushed themselves to the edge. When
he and Bond go at each other in this movie, they do it with great
gusto because that’s what the roles entail.”
And what of
the reports that Graves is modeled on British tycoon Richard
Tamahori harrumphs loudly.
“I don’t want
Branson to come down on me like a ton of bricks!” muses Tamahori.
“I really admire him, his public persona, I like his cheek, the really
brash way Branson just takes on the world. I wanted our villain
have this charisma, so I talked about his Bransonesque
I am not saying Branson is a megalomaniacal villain!”
Day uses an unprecedented amount of CG for a Bond film.
the film promises masses of “real” action courtesy of revered stunt
Vic Armstrong, the director acknowledges the CG may worry fans.
lots of nervousness because the Bond movies are historically very
toward real stunts, “ Tamahori says. “They do things for real,
people off cliffs and blow things up. There’s usually not much Matrix
style CG. We’re embarking on one sequence which uses a lot of CG
only because it could not be done as a real stunt, and I knew that when
I put it in. It’s a massive, gigantic, monstrous action piece,
a fortune, that’s never been seen before. “ (Clue: Tamahori had the
for the sequence when filming his wilderness picture The Edge)
For all Tamahori’s
progressive ambitions Die Another Day mark’s Bond’s 40th
with many nods to the past.
in dozens of references to all the old movies, homages for those who
them,” he says. Many involve gadgets and hardware but new Bond
Halle Berry (fresh from her Oscar Win for Monster’s Ball) also
a very famous scene from Dr. No. “How could we miss Halle redoing
Ursula Andress in a bikini?” asks Tamahori rhetorically. “She did
And does the
director feel pressured by the anniversary?
he says. “It’s just that, given this is the 40th anniversary and 20th
I’d better not f**k it up!”