Daniel Craig in SkyfallWith just a very short while to go until we find out some exciting key details about the title and stars of the next James Bond movie on Thursday 4th December, a combination of Austrian, Italian and British media outlets have been carrying a variety of news items and rumours about some of the European shooting locations for the new 007 adventure.

Here is a short JBIFC summary of some of the more reliable items of information that have recently emerged. Warning: possible spoilers ahead.

Double-O-Snow in Austria

Pre-production work has been going on in Austria for some weeks now, especially around a small village called Obertilliach, in the snowy Alps, where some large log-cabin style wooden buildings have been constructed over metal frames. One rumour, which seems to have some credibility, is that one of these large buildings will be obliterated at some stage in the movie, possibly as a result of an aircraft crash.

According to local newspapers in Austria, the citizens of Obertilliach were recently given a pre-production briefing by the Austrian coordinator for the movie, who officially confirmed for the first time some of the details of the location shooting.

An estimated 350 crew members will be staying in and around the small Austrian village, making use of 25 accommodation providers. A hotel has been booked for use as a crew HQ just a few miles outside of Obertilliach. Production equipment will be transported in and out of the village using 50 trucks. The local residents were given an assurance by the coordinator that the movie company have agreed with the local authorities to leave any village locations they utilise in exactly the same condition as when they found them (an environmental impact assessment is standard procedure on big-budget movies today).

The local residents were also informed that the shooting in the local area would be dependant on local weather conditions, but that the crew hoped to commence filming in the second week of January, 2015.

It was also confirmed that the Austrian shooting will make use the popular ski resort of Solden, some 150 miles north of Obertilliach. Other sources have suggested that the Rettenbach glacier, which is a major winter sports attraction in Solden, may be temporarily closed for the filming.

Double-O-Heaven in Rome

Meanwhile, some further tantalizing details have emerged about the possible nature of the shooting planned for Rome. According to Italian news outlets, Italy’s capital city, which is often called the Eternal City, will see the arrival of Bond 24 Second Unit stunt crews in February, 2015, with shooting due to carry on until early early March.

It would appear that a thrilling car chase is being planned to take place through the streets of the historic centre of the city, which will include a Fiat 500 suffering serious damage and also result in one car ending up in the River Tiber. Some narrow streets near the Vatican will be used for the chase, which is being planned to be shot at night-time.

There are also sequences being planned which will see some car-chase action in the central Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, and also down the Via della Conciliazione, an avenue which leads to the famous St. Peter’s Square, a square popular with Catholics when the Pope makes his Sunday addresses.

Intriguingly, there are also suggestions that James Bond will be landing by parachute on to a historic 15th-century bridge, the Ponte Sisto Bridge, which was built by Pope Sixtus V to connect the historic centre of Rome with the heart of Trastevere, a neighbourhood on the other side of the city.

It is thought that careful negotiations have taken place between the filmmakers and the local city authorities, especially as the historic heart of the city, which is full of Renaissance palazzos and beautiful Baroque fountains, has a restricted traffic zone. Clearly, James Bond will test this to the limits!

Did You Know?

Papal authorities were very critical of the Ian Fleming novels and the early James Bond movies, condemning them for their ‘sex and violence’. However, with the release of Skyfall in 2012, the Vatican signalled a major softening of its views on 007. The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, gave a rave review to Daniel Craig’s third Bond movie, calling it one of the best of the 23 Bond films made over the past 50 years.

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