Reality can get a bit slippery on a film set. An Italian with the kind of face you’d find on a Roman bust, has just emerged from a Portaloo, adjusted his brown tailored suit, climbed into the passenger seat of a black Alfa Romeo 159 and picked up a sub-machine-gun from the footwell. Parked in front is an Aston Martin DBS with eight bullet-holes in the rear windscreen. Next to me, a bruiser in a hi-vis jacket pours himself a coffee from a huge plastic urn and complains about the late arrival of some Bourbon biscuits. “It’s a bloody disgrace,” he says, shaking his head and lighting a cigarette. For a backdrop, there are mountains with precipitous cliff-hugging roads, a vast iron-grey lake and dark clouds rolling by like a funeral procession.
The set is actually a real location, Lake Garda in northern Italy. The Aston Martin DBS is also real, as is the Alfa, the Italian stuntman, the Portaloo and the coffee. If the Bourbon biscuits finally turn up, they’ll be real too. What aren’t real are the bulletsin the sub-machine gun and the bullet-holes inthe Aston’s rear windscreen. They’re both props in the opening chase sequence of the new James Bond escapade, Quantum of Solace, which kicks off with the ‘hero cars’ - Bond in his DBS, gunmen in three black 159s - involved in a pursuit along narrow roads and through tunnels around the lake, dodging ‘ordinary’ traffic as they go.
Words: Rob Bright
This article was first published in issue 184 of Top Gear magazine, 2008