Film: James Bond (GoldenEye)
The first Bond movie for six years, and the debut movie staring Pierce Brosnan as the central character, was partially filmed at Leavesden Studios after the traditional Bond studio, Pinewood, was booked by another production.
Leavesden doubled as the streets of St Petersburg through which James Bond, driving a tank, and the Russian police rampage. Establishing shots were made by another film unit in the Russian city with the stunt sequences shot at Leavesden.
Director of photography, Phil Meheux, said that they choose to build a reconstruction of a St Petersburg street because filming in the real city would be logistically difficult. By constructing a set at Leavesden there wasn’t any need to manage traffic and pedestrians and given the stunts carried out it was important that the filmmakers had full control over the location chosen.
The 17th film in the Bond franchise was directed Martin Campbell with the filming at Leavesden overseen by second unit director Ian Sharp. Ian describes a particular day of filming as “one of the most exciting parts of this particular scene, Bond steals a tank, goes smashing through a wall and pursues a tank through the streets of St Petersburg”. “This is a great train set to play with… it’s every boys dream”.
In this shot, taken as the tank approaches a roundabout, a statue is clearly visible in the centre. This ends up on top of Bond’s tank as crashes through the scene from the straight road behind it.
Peter Lamont oversaw the development of the set from a flat aerodrome to complete set in 6 weeks and four days. 63 miles of scaffolding tubing was used to construct the facades, some of which is visible in the photograph below which was taken just prior to Bond’s tank crashed through the green truck at the back of the scene. The statue has been removed for the filming of this stunt.
On one day of filming instead of crashing through the wall at the start of the scene as was intended the tank managed to run over and destroy a camera.
Final sequence as it appears in GoldenEye