James Bond on a bike? Meet Robbie Maddison.
The Australian Evel Knievel-wannabe does a pretty mean Daniel Craig imitation in the 007 movie, “Skyfall” – thanks to a hairpiece and some make-up prosthetics – but you’ve probably seen him as himself before:
Winning X Games competitions, back-flipping across London’s Tower Bridge, or attempting to clear San Diego Bay.
For the James Bond movie, “Skyfall”, Maddison, 31, was enlisted to be Mr. Craig’s stunt double in a bang-up motorcycle chase through Istanbul.
“The stunt was particularly difficult, because I was unable to wear a helmet in the filming,” Mr. Maddison said. Many scenes were done in just one take, such as jumping through a large window at Istanbul’s historic Grand Bazaar.
The entire stunt was filmed in and around Istanbul. Stunt coordinator Gary Powell said they practiced at a former Turkish military base, on a motocross-style course with dirt berms created to simulate jumps in the movie. Mr. Maddison was able to nail all the jumps.
The bikes used were Honda CRF-250Rs, their red-white-and-blue Honda livery disguised under a black-and-tan police motif. I rode a derivative of this dirt bike years ago in the Colorado 500 motorcycle rally. I found it easy to master, light weight, more than powerful enough, and fun to ride at the edge. In the hands of someone like Mr. Maddison, it becomes a toy.
The bike only weighs a little over 100 kg (226 pounds), has 30 cm of wheel travel (about a foot), 34 horsepower from its single-cylinder 249 cc four-stroke engine. It only costs around around 4,500 pounds sterling ($7,250). And the damn thing is nearly indestructible.
“We only had to keep bolting on new bits, like handlebars, grips, lights and fairing pieces,” Gary Powell, the stunt coordinator said. “The engine, the frame, everything else was bulletproof.”
The stunt was played out over the roof tops of Istanbul’s iconic Sultanamet neighborhood. You can see landmarks such as the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia mosques on the skyline (also seen in Ben Affleck’s “Argo“).
Second unit director Alexander Witt said he was impressed that Mr. Maddison was able to nail most scenes (usually no more than 20-second bits at a time) in one take.
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November 5, 2012