James Bond will not be Jai Ho-ing anytime soon.
The railway system in India has been made famous by movies like The Darjeeling Limited and Slumdog Millionaire, and is well known for two things: being massive, and being massively complicated and overcrowded. The production team on the upcoming James Bond movie wanted to take advantage of that icon by shooting an extended action sequences on real Indian railroads, and for a while, negotiations between a local production company, the government agencies responsible for the railroad, and the American producers of the film seemed to be going smoothly. But earlier this month we reported that the production was having trouble getting approval for one of the complicated stunts they wanted to pull off on the railways, and now the deal with the Indian railways appears to be dead entirely.
The Bond fansite MI6 picked up on a report in The Times of India that says the deal has fallen apart between the production company and Indian Railways. The Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi told the Times, “While the Bond franchise is important for us, so is the safety of people. God forbid if something untoward happened, people would not stop blaming us.” The production will now move to South Africa, which had been long considered as a potential replacement for India, to the point that publicists for the South African film industry were openly calling for the production to move over there “whenever [James Bond] decides to visit us.”
While we all know that movie magic can transform pretty much any place into something else, you have to imagine that Bond 23 will lose a little something it would have gotten from the real India locations. Then again, the action in Bond movies, especially the recent ones starring Daniel Craig (now headed into his 3rd performace as 007), tends to move so quickly you don’t really know what’s happening anyway. The movie, finally going into production after a long delay, is set for a November 2012 release.
I personally like the move to South Africa. None of the Bond movies have ever used it as a location, while the Roger Moore Bond flick Octopussy was filmed mostly in India.
Next 007 news should be about his leading lady and movie title. Might I suggest, Olivia Wilde and “Devil May Care“?