Chris Corbould’s Top Five Stunts

Chris Corbould’s Top Five Stunts

What do you think of his selection?

The special effects supervisor who’s worked on 15 Bond films, including the upcoming No Time To Die, picks his five favourite stunts…

1 GoldenEye (1995) – Tank Chase

“The tank chase in GoldenEye was originally a motorbike chase but after discussion with director Martin Campbell, I suggested we use a tank instead. Once we got the bit between our teeth the ideas snowballed from there and we dreamt up many bizarre and exciting pieces of action. We bought two or three Russian T54 tanks in England, and then we dressed them up to look like T80 tanks. We wanted to make it appear as if Pierce was driving the tank so we cut a hole in the top which took two days to do as it was six inches thick. The driver was actually hidden inside. The Art Department created a Russian street at Leavesden Studios and we also shot in St Petersburg. We were a bit worried about driving the 38 tonne tank along the old Russian streets with the danger of breaking pavements so I got my team to build a mock-up tank with dummy tracks mounted on a small armoured car. We got a lot of footage of that racing through the streets with the tracks going round but not actually touching the ground. I’d never seen anything done with a tank in an urban environment like that, so we felt like we were doing something original and exciting.”

2 Casino Royale (2006) – Venetian Sinking House

“I had built the odd room that had sunk before but when production designer Peter Lamont showed me his design for a four-storey high house he wanted to sink, it was a bit of a shock. It wasn’t something that we could do as a model because there’s so much interaction with Bond (Daniel Craig) and Vesper (Eva Green) combined with a shoot-out inside the building so we had to build it. It was a colossal rig, it could move 15 degrees on either axis, and the whole thing could sink 20ft into the water. We had massive air compressors underneath which, when it started sinking, would pump huge volumes of air into the water to make it look like the water was being churned up. It was a real labour of love building it, hats off to all my team, they put blood, sweat and tears into it.”

3 Skyfall (2012) – The Destruction Of Skyfall Lodge

“Director Sam Mendes was looking for a different ending to so I put my thinking cap on and wrote the sequence which ended up as the helicopter attack on the house. Sam said to me, ‘Well you dreamt it up so you should do the second unit on it’ so I had the honour of directing most of the sequence not involving the actors which was a big thrill for me. I loved the whole strafing of the house by the helicopter and seeing the wall of the lodge erupt, we must have put thousands of bullets into it. I loved the big explosion at the end. Rather than one explosion, we planned a series of them initiated in quick succession to give Skyfall Lodge the spectacular send off it deserved.”

4 The World Is Not Enough (1999) – Zukovsky’s Warehouse Attack

“This was technically pretty difficult. The first thing we had to work out was what to do with the helicopter. We couldn’t achieve what we wanted with a real one so we found the biggest tower crane in Europe, brought it to Pinewood Studios and suspended an engineless helicopter from its hook. We then put control systems on all the cranes movements which enabled us to determine the path and height of the helicopter with complete reliability and precision. The saws couldn’t actually cut anything so we had to make it appear like it was chewing through parts of the set and have sparks and debris flying everywhere. We also had to have a specially made BMW Z8 with the centre part of it replaced with a soft shell so when the fake saw cut through, it believably looked like it was being cut in two. It was a busy but rewarding sequence to film.”

5 Die Another Day (2002) – Ice Chase

“When the director (Lee Tamahori) said he wanted to shoot on an ice lake Vic Armstrong (2nd Unit Director) and myself looked at each other and both said, ‘Right we need to get the four-wheel drive versions of both the Aston Martin Vanquish and Jaguar XKR’. I visited Aston Martin with the request and discovered that they didn’t actually make them and I got the same response from Jaguar. Therefore we decided to convert four Astons and Jaguars into four-wheel drive. We then realised we were filming on an actual ice lake and there would be explosions so we needed to protect the drivers. So as well as fitting the cars out with all the gadgets (machine guns appearing from the bonnet etc) that looked impressive for the film, we had to preserve stunt driver safety and equip them with automatic inflation bags so if the car did go through the ice it wouldn’t sink to the bottom.”

Related Stories