Monday, 14 January 2013

OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS – Bringing back the Aston Martin DB5 for GOLDENEYE

Pierce Brosnan poses with the 
Aston Martin DB5
With Aston Martin celebrates its centenary this week, we’ll be looking back at the Bond machine resurrection as James Bond’s trademark car in GOLDENEYE.

 When Desmond Llewelyn’s Q introduced it to James Bond portrayed by Sean Connery in GOLDFINGER, released in 1964, the Aston Martin DB5 –number plate BMT 216A– was equipped with lots of gadgets including the famous ejector seat device that saves Bond’s life later in the film. It’d make a re-appearance in 1965’s THUNDERBALL, too, getting the status of “the Bond car”.

Reaching 0-60 in 8,1 seconds and with a top speed of 148.2mph (238.5 km/h), the Aston Martin DB5 was discarded by the Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton eras now known as Sean Connery’s 007 car, but in 1995, the engine key of the silver machine would belong to the fifth actor with a licence to kill…

Shooting the close-ups of Brosnan
driving the DB5
After the six year and a half hiatus of the series, Pierce Brosnan took over the role and, while Michael France’s early draft from 1994 saw Bond behind the wheel of the Aston Martin DB7, it was finally decided that Pierce Brosnan would take the GOLDFINGER machine (this time number plate BMT 214A) out of the dust with a heart-braking race against Xenia Onatopp’s Ferrari 355 GT trough the Monte Carlo Grande Corniche.

On February 1995, Ian Sharp’s second unit was ready to film the resurrection of the Bond mobile beating the Ferrari. It was also said that producers allowed Ferrari to play a part on the 17th James Bond film under the condition it’d lost the race against Bond’s DB5.

Bond racing veteran Rémy Julienne supervised the scene, with his son Dominique doubling for Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp for the dangerous scenes.

"We were afraid of hurting it (the Aston) when driving it" –said Rémy Julienne– "The Ferrari is a race machine, it can be brutalized, but the Aston... we were always worried about".

Pierce Brosnan as 007 and Serena Gordon
as Caroline  in the Aston Martin DB5

The shooting was quite complicated when a day of snow in the mountains turned out to be a wasted opportunity to shoot: "Days like this makes you appreciate the security of filming inside Leavesden (studios) –producer Michael G Wilson recalled– I dare not think about the cost of one wasted day out here. Don't ask." Another troubled day occurred when the Aston Martin DB5 collided against the Ferrari, but thankfully, the Aston Martin service team was there to repair the time in a record time.

Xenia's Ferrari 355 takes the
advantage... for a while

Movie magic of course was there to make the DB5 survive against the Ferrari: spikes were attached to the tires to make it slide through the mountains, in a race where the Bond car was –unlike its last appearance 30 years before– absolutely unarmed, except for inoffensive gadgets like an Alpine 7817R car radio that works as a printer and communicating voice device, and a champagne cooler between the seats where Bond hides a Bollinger Grand Anné '88 champagne to show MI6 neurotic evaluator Caroline he has “no problem with a female authority”.

GOLDENEYE was not the end of the Aston Martin DB5. It would made a short appearance in Pierce Brosnan’s next Bond film TOMORROW NEVER DIES and would become a part of the Daniel Craig era for CASINO ROYALE (Nassau number plate 56526) and the Oscar nominated 50th anniversary film SKYFALL, where the old BMT 216A number plate (as well as some old gadgets) returned.

THE MAKING OF GOLDENEYE by Garth Pearce (Boxtree, 1995)
James Bond, An Interactive Dossier CD-ROM (MicroInteractive, 1995)
“Rémy Julienne, Driven to Bond” from the GOLDENEYE Ultimate Edition DVD (2006)
“Aston Martin DB5” – Bond Lifestyle (
All stills copyright Danjaq and United Artists Coorporation

Nicolás Suszczyk,

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