Guide to Filming in London
October 2012 – Whitehall
Director Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road) brings the latest instalment of 007's adventures to the screen in Skyfall. One of the stars is the UK capital, including the iconic Whitehall.
Released on 26 October the hotly anticipated film sees Daniel Craig returning as Bond and Dame Judi Dench as M, alongside Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) and Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas).
In the film Bond's loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. MI6 is under attack and 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.
Supervising Location Manager, James Grant, confirms "London is a key character in Skyfall". A key sequence in the action involves Bond on a foot chase, extending down Whitehall. Housing many ministerial offices, filming in such an area is highly sensitive and therefore the production required very careful planning.
Grant, recalls visiting the potential location with the Director, who outlined what he wanted to achieve: "I remember clearly standing at the top of Whitehall with Sam Mendes as he pointed down the road looked at me and said - 'the whole lot'."
In order to realise the director's ambition for the scene, Film London assisted the Met Police Film Unit in coordinating a round table meeting months in advance with all the relevant organisations. These included Transport for London, London Underground, Royal Parks and the Westminster Special Events team, who reviewed the proposed route of the action and its implications.
With the road closure legislation introduced in the capital by Film London in 2008, it is now possible for productions to shut down traffic on London roads for filming purposes. However, what made Skyfall unique, according to Nigel Gale, Filming & Events Officer, was that "we locked it down to pedestrians too, which was a first as far as I know."
Grant explains, "the closure of Whitehall would not have been possible had there not been multiagency cooperation right from the start. Film London was instrumental in supporting and assisting with this process & I am very grateful for all their help and guidance."
With the film so heavily shot and set in the capital, Film London remained in close contact with the production throughout the shoot and were instrumental in facilitating a number of complex scenes shot on location in the capital.
Producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli commented "the complexities of shooting in one of the world's most exciting locations was made so much easier with the willing enthusiasm and experience of everyone at Film London."
The Queen's relationship with Bond has recently been cemented in the now much loved film of her 'parachuting' into the London 2012 Olympics for the Opening Ceremony. The royal connection now continues with Prince Charles & Camilla due to attend the world premiere of Skyfall in London on 23 October. The film will be general release from 26 October.
Whitehall runs from Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square and is dominated by government buildings; many of which were designed in the 19th Century. It has been used on various productions including Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Flood, Sixty Six and V for Vendetta.
For filming enquiries, contact the Special Events Team on 020 7641 2390 / www.westminster.gov.uk/filming.