No Time To Die SFX Supervisor Talks Daniel Craig's Driving Skills And Speeding Through An Ancient Italian City [Interview]

In its 60-year history, the James Bond franchise has consistently delivered awe-inspiring blockbuster action spectacle. As technology and special effects have evolved, so has the danger and intrigue that 007 finds himself in. For nearly 45 years, Chris Corbould has had a hand in putting everybody's favorite British secret agent in jeopardy while keeping the likes of Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig as safe as possible. Corbould's work with James Bond goes all the way back to "The Spy Who Loved Me" in 1977, when he was an uncredited special effects assistant, and right up through "No Time to Die," where he acted as the special effects supervisor in charge of planning the most spectacular stunts. 

Leading up to the release of "No Time to Die" on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD (available today), we spoke with Corbould about some of his work on Daniel Craig's last outing as James Bond. You might be surprised to learn that Daniel Craig is actually a fairly skilled driver himself. That probably came in handy when the crew had to plan a car chase through the city of Matera, Italy, an area that is believed to have been settled since the Palaeolithic era, making it thousands of years old and potentially one of the oldest continually inhabited settlements in the world. Find out about all that and more in our interview with Chris Corbould below.

"We wanted to keep this gritty, short, down to earth and just hard-hitting,"

What was the most challenging stunt that the crew had to pull off for this movie?

There was a few really. The DB5 chase was an interesting sequence to do because we were working in Matera, which dates back thousands of years. So we had this high speed chase, and we had to be very respectful of all the old buildings. So whenever there was a chance of possibly a car spinning out, we would put concrete blocks all round the buildings and dress them in to look like they were existing buildings that preserved them. In the square where we did the donut and they fired the guns, everything from four foot down was all dressing that we'd had with a bullet impact set and everything above it was a thousand years old. So that was one of the things we had to be considerate of.

When you're making a movie like this, do you ever have any limitations that you try to set for yourself or are you just trying to go as big as possible?

Well, it's not necessarily going as big as possible. The one thing we're trying to do is be original. The DB5 chase, there's much bigger, more spectacular, more fantastical car chases out there, but we wanted to keep this gritty, short, down to earth and just hard-hitting. So it's kind of fitting into the storyline, the characters rather than... What we don't want is the special effects and the visual effects in a Bond film to stand out on their own.

What's working with Daniel Craig like? How much driving is he actually doing as James Bond?

Daniel Craig is a very accomplished driver, and if he had his way, he would do all of it. You know, I've done six films now with Daniel. So we get on really well. He trusts us implicitly. He comes down, he rehearses with us, he makes sure that everything... He makes me look good, really. He did one of the donuts in donut square [editor's note: this location is called Piazza San Giovanni].

Oh, wow.

Yeah, he did it. We built a car that we could do it [with a] remote control, but he got in it, and he did it.

Oh, so you have a remote control hooked up to the DB5 to drive it?

Yeah. We had a fully remote control DB5 that we could drive without a driver in it, if we needed to.

Wow. That's impressive. That's very cool. Now, when it comes to the stunts themselves, has there ever been a time when one has gone spectacularly wrong?

Not really, no. You know, they've rehearsed so many times. Now, everything — the stunts, the special effects, every explosion — is all rehearsed 20 times before it ever goes on the set, for many, many reasons. For safety reasons, for economic reasons. Every time you do a take two on something with 500 people and main actors standing around, waiting for take two is a lot of money. So we do endless rehearsals to try and get the take level down.

Out of the entire James Bond history, what is your favorite car?

I have a soft spot for the V8 Vantage, funnily enough. I worked with it 30 years ago in "The Living Daylights," so to see it come back in this film was a bit of deja vu and a bit of nostalgia for me.

"No Time to Die" is available to purchase today on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD, and digital.