We are careful not to damage cultural values: Bond producer

We are careful not to damage cultural values: Bond producer

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
We are careful not to damage cultural values: Bond producer

Michael G. Wilson (top R) is seen with Ali Akdeniz of the Anka film company at the press conference. AA photo

One of the producers of James Bond film series, Michael G. Wilson, the shooting of which continues in Istanbul’s historic neighborhoods, has responded to claims that the film team has damaged the Grand Bazaar. “We have previously shot in cultural places in many countries. We pay great attention to not cause any damage to such places,” he said.

At an A press conference held for the Istanbul shooting of James Bond series’ latest installment “Skyfall,” Wilson said that some scenes of the second film in the series, “From Russia with Love,” had been made in the city nearly 50 years ago, adding that it was great to be in Istanbul once again.

He said they had left many places such as Venice, Paris, St. Petersburg, Egypt and London, where they had also shot scenes, with very good feelings, with people in those places asking to host the film team again in the future. “We hope that we will leave Turkey in the same way,” he said.

As for the claims that the Grand Bazaar received damage during shooting, Wilson said, “As people in the film sector we create illusions. This is what the art of cinema is. We have made shootings in national and cultural places in many countries, and we pay great attention to not give any damage to them.”

With regard to the scene in which motorcycles seem to be shot on the roofs of the Grand Bazaar, Wilson said the motorcycles were actually moving on platforms that had been placed on the roofs, at a cost of 135,000 Turkish liras.

“If you go to the building that the motorcycle hit, you see that there is no building there. We created that, too. It was also claimed that one of the windows of the bazaar had been broken by a motorcycle. There was a big hole there and we made it smaller, adding a window. So, we created our own set,” he said.

Wilson also said the stunts were not always successful, and that one of the stuntmen, who was driving a motorcycle, accidentally broke the window of a shop in the Grand Bazaar. The shop owner has not yet accepted the proposal to compensate damages, but a positive answer is expected, he added.

The production team was also criticized for using accessories showing Turkey as an underdeveloped country in the public bazaar set up for the film in Eminönü. “We use our own equipment in the locations where we shoot, because we try not to give damage to the buildings and shops in the area. But we do try to reflect Turkey as it is,” he said.

Claims of weapon smuggling

Wilson said that the film’s star, Daniel Craig, who was expected to arrive in Istanbul yesterday, would stay for three weeks, and that some other actors - including Naomi Harris - would stay in the city for five weeks. He added that Turkish actors would perform in the scenes shot in Fethiye, and that there were some 250 Turks in the filming team.

As for the claims that trees had been cut for the film, Wilson said that they did not need such things because - thanks to their advanced technical equipment - they could put or remove trees wherever they needed to.

When asked if it was safe to make film in Turkey, Wilson said that they had so far had no safety problems, and they had made more of an effort not to affect local people than to protect themselves. He said that 130 people worked to cut people and animal traffic during the railway shooting in the southern province of Adana.

Speaking about the claims of weapon smuggling to Syria under the pretext of filmmaking, Wilson said “If someone takes this claim seriously, the safety of the film team will be in danger. I advise the person who made this news to quit journalism and make a film in Hollywood, because he has a very good imagination.”

Also speaking at the press conference, Ali Akdeniz of the Anka Film company, which is responsible for the James Bond filming in Turkey, said they had made a big effort to carry the project to this point. “The reason why the film is being made in Turkey rather than any other country is that the natural environments here have not been used in any other big project before, as well as the promises given by relevant ministries.”

He said preparations for filming had begun as long as eight to nine years ago. Speaking about the claims that the decoration used in the market place did not accurately reflect Turkey, Akdeniz said viewers would see the Egyptian Bazaar, the New Mosque and the beauties of the streets, rather than the market place.