Posted by: Jerry Garrett | November 5, 2012

SKYFALL: James Bond On A Bike? Meet Robbie Maddison

James Bond on a bike? It’s stunt double Robbie Maddison! (MGM)


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:

Robbie in flight! (Flo Hagena, Red Bull Media House)

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.

No hands! No helmet! (MGM)

“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“).

Robbie Maddison (Joerg Mitter, Red Bull Media House)

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.

Check out “The Making of…” here.

Jerry Garrett

November 5, 2012


  1. arghhhh, ruin the cinema magic!! hahahaha, it was a great sequence. Loved spotting things in the Sultanamet area, stayed there for a week a few Januaries ago. Argo was awesome too, loved it.

  2. Looking very handsome and really super duper stunt man

  3. Not the first time bond has been to Istanbul. He was also in the grand bazaar and basillica cistern in From russia with love and the maiden’s tower lighthouse was used in The world is not enough. Brilliant motorbike stunts from robbie he looks very different in the suit dressed up as bond.

  4. Also Istanbul itself is amazing! Visit if you can. The bazaar, hagia sofia basilica cistern are amazing. Also try the restaurants off istiklal Cadessi. Really great food and raki.

    • It is great, and I highly recommend it, although not in the dead of winter when I went.

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