The magazine was able to briefly interview Mendes while he was working on the new Bond movie in Istanbul. Caught between day 104 and day 105 of filming, Mendes first of all made some comments on Daniel Craig’s second 007 movie. He told the magazine that he really liked ‘Quantum of Solace’, but: ‘I thought it had the misfortune of following a fantastic and surprising film that introduced a new Bond and had the benefit of having an original Fleming novel on which it was based. And I think they got very affected by the writers’ strike and the imperative to make another Bond movie. “You’ve got to make it now, you’ve got to make it soon”. It’s tough to do that under those circumstances’.
As the magazine notes, there was a long break between the second and third Bond films, mainly due to MGM’s financial difficulties, and Mendes also referred to the long period before ‘Skyfall’ became official. Both he and Craig used this time well and worked closely together to map out the ideas for the new movie. During their months of secret e-mailing and planning for Craig’s third Bond adventure, Mendes said he and Craig also agreed that they did not want to do merely a ‘pastiche’ Bond story. Mendes said of Craig: ‘He wanted to be surprised by the script when he read it. There were elements he felt he wanted to find some more humour in. He wanted to possibly push characters in directions they’ve never been pushed before, go to places he’d never been before emotionally. He wanted to maybe reintroduce some characters…’.
The magazine was also able to speak to Mendes while he was shooting at Pinewood Studios in England. The director revealed that he is not a fan of CGI: ‘I’ve tried as much as possible to root everything in reality and to do it in what we would call the old-fashioned way. And that includes very, very big stunts indeed’. Asked by ‘Total Film’ whether ‘Skyfall’ could be the first Bond movie to court an Oscar, Mendes laughed and said: ‘I don’t think that’s what the objective is. I think that it would be lovely to make a movie that’s not just a great Bond movie, but a great movie – that can, like Dr. No, still have resonance in 20, 30 years’ time. And that’s the most important thing…’.
The new issue of ‘Total Film’ (no. 195, summer 2012) is on sale in the UK now, priced £3.99.