Interesting reports have emerged that EON Productions have been in ‘advanced talks’ about using the historic port town of Dubrovnik, in Croatia, as a possible shooting location for the 25th James Bond movie. The news appears to confirm rumours that first appeared a year ago concerning the Bond producers’ interest in the Balkans location.
In a press conference for the movie Robin Hood: Origins, which has been making use of Dubrovnik, the town’s current Mayor – in response to questions about Bond – confirmed that the 007 production company had been talking finances with the town’s authorities. As he put it: ‘James Bond is in an advanced stage of negotiations’.
The beautiful Balkans town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, has already built up a good reputation as a film-friendly town, and has hosted location filming for productions such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Game of Thrones. Moreover, it is still relatively close to film studios in Britain, with the area just hours away from London by plane.
In the 1990s, of course, the general area of the Balkans was gripped by a series of brutal internal conflicts, one of the consequences of the dramatic break-up of the former Communist state of Yugoslavia. However, with the welcome return of peace in recent years, countries such as Croatia and Serbia have been very keen to encourage outside investment and stimulate tourism. One way of doing this is to make it easier for American and European film companies to make use of some of the lovely and historic locations that can be found throughout the region, especially in and around the coastal areas, but also in some of the main cities. A recent example was Pierce Brosnan’s spy thriller The November Man (2014), which was allowed to have complete free run of the streets of Belgrade, in Serbia, for extensive stunt-work filming.
It is not known when Bond 25 will commence principal production, but there are now tantalising signs that some initial pre-production planning is being carried out. Watch this space.
Did You Know?
During World War Two Bond creator Ian Fleming, working as an Intelligence officer for the British Naval Intelligence Division (NID), in London, quickly realised that NID lacked experts on the Danube River and the Balkans generally. One of his recruits was Merlin Minshall, who offered his extensive first-hand knowledge of the area. Minshall persuaded Fleming to sanction some major sabotage operations in the Balkans to disrupt supply lines to Germany.
Minshall later claimed that Fleming ‘used me as his model for Bond’. The truth is probably more complex. As Fleming himself commented in the early 1960s, Bond ‘was a compound of all the secret agents and commando types I met during the war’.