The Aston Martin
October 9, 2006I was filling you in last time on the complexities of working on water in Venice. But judging from the number of questions I've had, it looks like you are more interested in our land vehicles and specifically the Aston Martin.
Jordan, Steve and others have inquired about it and two of you, Anthony and Paul, had picked up on the fact that there are actually two Astons in CASINO ROYALE.
You'll see Bond acquire a DB5 in classic 007 style and, of course, a girl, Caterina Murino, to go with it. But later in the film, he also gets his own, government issue, brand new DBS. You are not the only ones to be excited by it. Daniel Craig has enjoyed being in the driving seat.
"This is very special because it's the new DBS which is somewhere between a DB9 and their new racing car which they're going to race hopefully at Le Mans. So, technically, that means that it just goes very fast and it's a beautiful car and it suits Bond perfectly."
However, because it's a racing car, the DBS has given the stunt crew some problems. In the trailer, you might have seen the multiple roll that the car does. It proved to be rather more tricky to achieve than they had anticipated. Adam Kirley, the stunt driver explains how they began to prep the stunt using a test car for practice.
"We started off with a test car using a six inch ramp, just turning into the ramp about 65, 70mph and rolling the car like that. We did two rehearsals at that to perfect it."
However, when they got their hands on the DBS itself, it performed very differently. Gary Powell, the stunt co-ordinator, takes up the story.
"Originally, what we wanted to do was to use a tiny little ramp because we wanted at all costs to keep the car low to the ground and it worked with the test car. Then, when we went to the Astons, obviously they're built completely differently, the centre of gravity is lower. They're essentially a race car that's allowed on the road. So when we did the first one on the ramp it basically went up in the air, it corrected itself and came back down again."
Even when they increased the size of the ramp almost 400%, the stability of the Aston defeated Adam's attempts to roll it.
"Gary Powell decided to raise the ramp to just under two feet in the end. I came in at the 75, 80 miles an hour speed, hit it with the two left hand side wheels, anticipating it to roll very easily. But the car just literally took off in the air, levelled pretty much, and landed on all four wheels. Completely. No chance of rolling whatsoever because of the stability of the car."
But you don't get to be on the stunt team of a Bond without having a few tricks up your sleeve and calling in his colleagues in the Special Effects department, Gary soon had a solution, as Adam reports.
"We decided then on using a cannon. The special effects guys had put a cannon in which sits just behind the driver's seat. It has a cylinder that, as you press a button, releases a load of air which punches the cylinder into the road which then, in turn, turns the car over. And that's how we ended up doing it in the end."
So successful was this that they managed seven and a half rolls before crashing to a stop. A new world record even for the Bond team.
So, an excellent testament to the stability of the Aston Martin but not perhaps an exercise that I'll be trying out at home!
Until next time,