James Bond – From Istanbul with love

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The coolest, sexiest and most charismatic spy of them all is donning his latest state-of-the-art gadgets and raising his glass of vodka martini – shaken, not stirred – for a celebration of 50 years in the spy business. With a “license to kill” anyone threatening the reign of the British, James Bond is preparing to parachute off to the next exotic locale in the 23rd installment of the longest-running film franchise.

The next exotic locale in the upcoming Bond movie “Skyfall,” to be released in late 2012, will be none other than Istanbul. The opening scenes will take place in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square and Hagia Sophia and a further move will take the crew to the coastal town of Fethiye and the historic Varda Railway Bridge close to the southern city of Adana.

Having Daniel Craig’s 007 start off his next adrenaline-pumping espionage adventure in Turkey had fuelled quite some hype last summer when the news broke that the producers of the latest Bond movie were looking for permission to film some scenes here in Turkey.

Encouraging Hollywood productions in Turkey was evidently part of the government’s new policies when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with Nicolas Cage earlier this year. Cage was in Turkey filming some scenes for the upcoming “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” when he was introduced to Erdoğan and one of his daughters.

Later, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay met with the producers of the new James Bond movie, Barbara Broccoli, the daughter of the famous James Bond producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, and Michael Wilson. Günay made known they were keen on having foreign film productions in Turkey, hoping to establish an incentive system and even build sets and stages in the cities of Kocaeli and Eskişehir in the future. The production team of “Skyfall,” including James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, is getting ready to travel to Turkey in early January for three months of shooting on location.

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James Bond travels to Turkey once again
The scenes, in this case, will be in some of Istanbul’s historic sites, some that had already made Bond history in earlier films. There will be a few scenes in Fethiye, and shooting will take place mostly near Adana where Varda Railway Bridge is located. The bridge, locally known as Koca Köprü (Big Bridge), is a railway viaduct some 60 km from Adana.

Following an agreement between the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II and GermanEmperor Kaiser Wilhelm in late 1888, the bridge was built in the early 1900s as part of the Baghdad Railway from the Haydarpaşa Terminal in Istanbul. Its history, architecture and location make the Varda Bridge the ideal locale for a Bond movie. The bridge had been built next to a steep cliff, and many workers had died during its five-year construction.

While southern Turkey may be new to hosting Her Majesty’s secret agent, Istanbul is no foreign land to the espionage games of James Bond, even if he looks quite different in his visits encompassing a period of nearly four decades. James Bond first visited Istanbul in the second movie of 1963, “From Russia with Love.” Based on the 1957 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, the original conceiver of James Bond, the film follows Bond as he is sent to assist in the defection of Soviet consulate clerk Tatiana Romanova in Turkey, where the global terrorist organization SPECTRE plans to avenge Bond’s killing of Dr. No.

james-bond-23-istanbulIn one scene, you can watch Sean Connery’s Bond meeting with Tatiana aboard a ferry along a ride in the Bosphorus. With his rugged looks, two-piece suit, hat and sunglasses, the very first Bond eyes the beautiful scenery of the Bosphorus before he embarks on a conversation with the Russian woman on deck. The palaces and the Maiden Tower, along a greenery that has long been replaced with buildings, make for the perfect background of exotic locations that later became a trademark style of the movies.

In another scene, Bond goes for a stroll inside the Hagia Sophia for another clandestine meeting with Tatiana alongside a group of tourists and their guide telling the history of the basilica-cum-mosque-cum-museum. Thirty-seven years later, James Bond once again traveled to Istanbul, this time as Pierce Brosnan, in 1999’s “The World Is Not Enough.” Following a greater plot of the assassination of a billionaire, Bond unravels a scheme to increase oil prices by creating a meltdown in the waters of Istanbul.

James Bond travels to Istanbul to stop the terrorist Renard’s plan to initiate a nuclear explosion through inserting stolen plutonium into a submarine’s nuclear reactor that would sabotage the Russians’ oil pipeline in the Bosphorus, destroying Istanbul in the process.

This time Bond readies to visit Turkey’s Adana and Fethiye. Bond will visit Vardar Bridge in Adana and the seaside in Fethiye. Before this movie the Bond film “From Russia with Love” filmed scenes in Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, and “The World Is Not Enough” featured Istanbul’s Maiden’s Tower. The countries Bond visits all over the world are almost always filmed on location. Only the following countries and former countries appeared in Bond movies but were not actually shot on location: Cuba, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Yugoslavia, Albania, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Macau, China, Uganda, Madagascar, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Vietnam, North Korea, South Korea, Bulgaria and the USSR.

2011 EMRAH GÜLER / ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News

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