After the special press call held on March 18th, filming activities for SPECTRE quickly commenced in Mexico City, with various rehearsals and some shots taken on March 19th, and full shooting underway from March 20th onwards.
The main aim of the Mexico City shooting, under the firm hand of director Sam Mendes, is to film a chase sequence with 007 star Daniel Craig and actor Alessandro Cremona (who is playing Marco Sciarra), set against the backdrop of the famous and very colourful Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ festival.
In a special press release for the media, the EON producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli explained: ‘For the opening of SPECTRE, we are filming an exciting sequence in Mexico City featuring the Day of the Dead festival. Mexico City was chosen for the film because of the authentic needs of the story’. The EON duo added: ‘This is the fourth time Bond has been to Mexico and indeed Licence To Kill was shot almost entirely in Mexico City’.
On March 19th, members of the production team, including Sam Mendes and Dennis Gassner, were spotted at the Zocalo double-checking and marking out the route for a helicopter on the Avenida 20 de Noviembre and nearby. The helicopter was later filmed flying from the Avenida 20 de Noviembre and over the City centre, the National Palace and the Old City Hall.
Although there had been quite a bit of rain in the previous few days, the filming went ahead as planned, and has included some spectacular shots of the ‘Day of the Dead’ festival, involving numerous extras, very large Catrina figures, plenty of eery-looking skulls and skeletons, generous amounts of confetti, and (as is the local tradition) lots of gifts. Alessandro Cremona was also spotted at one point, wearing a distinctive white suit. The sequences took a large amount of planning and co-ordination, and some atmospheric smoke was also added at times.
James Bond himself has also been present. Some sequences involving Daniel Craig, who joined the filming on March 21st, have also been filmed high on top of the Old Senate building in the City. Daniel, who was looking suitably suave in a dark navy-blue suit and was carrying a rather formidable side-weapon strapped over his shoulder, was filmed climbing through a window onto a balcony and then stepping over a metal balcony fence. Given the height at which Daniel was working, careful safety precautions were put in place by the production crew.
It is clear that SPECTRE is already having a big local impact in Mexico City. The Mexican Federal Secretary of Tourism, Claudia Ruiz Massieu, told the media that the filming will have huge economic dividends for the City, with thousands of dollars spent locally by the production team, which is estimated to be employing about 2,500 Mexican people plus numerous local extras on temporary contracts.
SPECTRE filming will continue in the City over the next few days.
Note: Some key details have been withheld to avoid spoilers.