about 5 years ago
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"Bond XX" - That's What It Said
i was in my third year of secondary school at the time, and thanks to the timing of the easter holidays, i was awarded with a visit to see my father's friend shooting the latest james bond flick...it was only known as bond xx, and it was written on the cap i have somewhere...i had to catch a train early every morning from waterloo station to the location, and on the first day i was driven to a middle of a very english forest...in its heart was a makeshift bridge, patrolling soldiers and generals milling around their trailers...the rest of the crew were sipping caffeine while i waited to meet my father's friend, the first assitant director, Gerry Gavigan...i fondly remember him coming up with a smile, shaking my hand, and subsequently taking me under his wing...he showed me everything that they were shooting that day, and the scene involved bond (pierce brosnan) being exchanged at the border between the north and south koreas...
a few things hit me during those first few hours...there were other people far away trying to take a peek in, and i was fortunate enough to see all of it up close...secondly, this was the second time i had seen a movie set, the first being the set of goldeneye many years before that...thirdly, i got to be in the best position available, with one crew member telling me that if i "know Gerry, you're pretty well sorted"...i had wanted to play an extra during the filming, but Gerry suggested that if i did, i would have the whole day sitting it out because i would have to be in subsequent shots...so i declined...i was driven over to the catering area for lunch, and in the car ride i met a diamond-faced rick yune, who i thought looked very cool (and he was very polite)...i cannot recall what i had eaten for lunch :(...so after lunch, it was back to shooting, and i heard that michael madsen was on set, but i never met him in person...i met and eventually befriended a 'general' on set, who more recently played the elderly prison inmate of christian bale in batman begins...
to be fair, the first day was boring in terms of action set-pieces...the second unit were filming nearby, doing the explosive hovercraft scenes while we were stuck with bond reciting his lines..."save the words, get it over with'' etc...
we were back on set the second day...i befriended kenneth tsang, who had portayed general moon, all from his over insistence on asking where were good places to eat in london...i was about fourteen at the time, and it was funny how this hong kong actor could actually talk to this trying-to-be-cool kid! i was invited into his trailer, and that was awesome...by the end of shooting that evening, he asked me to accompany him back to london - i got a free chauffeur ride :D! afterwards, we had dinner with my family and here's a pic of the nerdy me hahahaha!
on the third day, i didn't take any pics because i was whisked away to shepperton studios and boy, was there a lot to see...i walked through most of the filmsets, watched pierce brosnan fly through a glass window, found a secret switch on the wall and ate more snacks and drank more tea than i thought possible...its amazing how much work went into the models of the large sets, as i saw a mini ice palace, as well as artists rendering the conceptual art to the last scene of the film where bond fights on a burning cargo plane...i didn't meet all the cast for those three days, but one of the biggest stars of the film i was yet to meet - the green janguar which bond's nemesis would drive...they had about three when i saw them, and, although i wasn't allowed to sit inside, it was cool nontheless...each bond car has a silver plaque stating it was used in filming, and i thought it was a nice touch...it's the little things that count...so anyway, the other two janguars had been modified drastically...one had a huge hole in the back, and i asked why - it was because the jaguar was to be launched out for the flying shots of the car...!!!
Gerry had asked my father if i wanted to enter the film industry, and that he would help me, but unfortunately my mum said i needed schooling, and so i never took that chance...weird thing is i enjoyed it so much that i am getting back into it now...
that's all i can think of right now...anyways, as always, thank you for everything Gerry ( be seeing you again soon!!!), and to all the lovely crew who may, or may not remember me...it was a great experience!
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