News – October 2005
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At twelve oclock on a cold night in September, I was on the back lot at Pinewood watching the last shot in the principal photography of Stormbreaker.
It was the scene where Alex sneaks out of Sayle Enterprises and spies on Yassen Gregorovich when the R5 cannisters arrive. Pages 129-133 in the Walker edition of the book.
This is what I saw
In the background, there was a vast yacht. Arc welders were at work and the sparks were flying in the night. Two searchlights, very high up, swung over the complex, picking up a helicopter and three submarines. Suddenly there was a roar of engines and a whole convoy of black jeeps arrived followed by a huge truck with mounted machine guns. About fifty guards with dogs and machine guns hurried to meet it.
Alex (Alex Pettyfer) was spying on all this from behind some oil drums. He watched as Darrius Sayle (Micky Rourke) arrived in a black Hummer and met with Yassen (Damian Lewis). A guard in a fork-lift truck dropped one of the R-5 cannisters and without even looking round, Yassen took out his gun and shot him. The glass shattered. Immediately, more guards ran forward, pulled out the dead man and replaced him.
Geoff Sax, the director, yelled Cut! and that was it. Twelve weeks of shooting over and the whole film (apart from a couple of days extra shooting later this month) in the can.
Id spent the last twelve hours on the set and the whole day had been a massive scramble to get everything done. The first shot just before lunch was the smashing of the jelly fish tank and the death of Nadia Vole. Believe it or not, they actually used Semtex to blow out the specially toughened glass and the noise was deafening. I dont know how many hundreds of gallons poured out but it really was an incredible flood and tore whole sections of the set apart.
Then they did a shot of Nadia (Missi Pyle) reacting in shock as she was drenched and then a stuntwoman took over to show the result of what had happened. This was a great shot. They stuck her on her back with her legs quivering in the air. She was covered in slime and water. And there was a huge jellyfish smothering her, its tentacles wrapped around her. Ive never seen anything like it.
They also did a whole series of pick-ups. A few shots in the fight between Nadia Vole and Jack Starbright (Alicia Silverstonebut she wasnt there so they used a double). A shot of Alex speeding down a secret railway line on his way into MI6. A few shots of Alex being crushed in the car. Alex in the Stormbreaker virtual reality computer, being spun slowly round in a huge, subterranean chamber.
And then, at exactly one minute to twelve it was all over
until a few days later when I visited Hyde Park in London. This was whats caked a pick-up day and it was another huge sequence involving the entire Household Guards on horseback chasing Alex and Sabina, also on a horse. There were cameras and cranes everywhere. One whole section of the park was locked off. Im told the cost of the days shooting was around a quarter of a million pounds.
And luckily it didnt rain.
There are still a few shots that have to be slotted in like missing pieces in a jigsaw. Ewan McGregor still hasnt appeared as Ian Rider. There are about 100 computer effects. Then comes the editing process, music and finally test screenings (when they show the film to an American audience and see what people say). The film will finally open next summer and thats when youll be able to judge it for yourself.
Meanwhile, the producers are so confident that theyve asked me to start work on the screenplay of Point Blanc. We could be producing it as early as next Christmasit needs snow, obviously. Lots of snowboarding in Switzerland! So weve no sooner stopped than Im starting again.
Stormbreaker has been enormous fun. Its going to be a hard act to follow. Last night, the producer gave me a Stormbreaker computer as an end-of-shoot present.
I just hope it isnt the one with the deadly virus.No comments