Being an extra in Quantum of Solace

30 April, 2013

From April 29 - May 10th 2008, the Bond film crew settled in the town of Bregenz, Austria, to film the Tosca Opera scene for Quantum of Solace. Bond Lifestyle's Remmert van Braam was lucky enough to be on the set as an extra.

The casting for extras took place in January 2008, in Bregenz. Together with a Swiss friend I went to the Theater am Kornmarkt to get a picture taken and fill in a form. The whole procedure took only a few minutes, but the waiting time outside the theatre was several hours, with hundreds of people trying to get into the small theatre. The production was looking for 1500 extras that had to feature as 'Opera Guests' in the Opera scene of 'Bond 22' as the movie was then still known. A few months later I was contacted that I had been selected as one of the happy few.

casting bregenz james bond

See more photos in the photoalbum on the Bond Lifestyle Facebook page.

I was not sure how many days I would have to be on the set, so I stayed the full filming period, from April 29th until May 10th, in Bregenz.

bregenz theatre opera tosca

The main location for the shoot was the Bregenz Open Air Theater building. The outside audience area of the theatre is open during the day for people just to take a look, and even during the days of filming this was the case. This provided tourists and Bond fans alike a chance to walk on the set during the day and see the beautiful theatre and Tosca stage from up close.

bregenz opera

Each day of shooting, around 16.00 in the afternoon the theatre and surrounding area were closed off by a fence and secured entrances. Only people with a pass were then allowed inside. As an extra, I received an entry pass that would only give me access on the days that I was scheduled to be present on the set. Eventually I was very lucky to be on the set for 4 days/nights.

On a day of shooting, I would change into my tuxedo with Albert Thurston Braces and ST Dupont 5172 cufflinks and then walk in five minutes from my hotel to the filming location, where I would pass security with my pass.

preparing for shoot quantum of solace extra

Once inside, the hundreds of extras were divided in smaller groups that each got a member of the local production team to lead them onto the set when it was needed. Like every movie, there was a long time between takes where extras had to wait. Everything was extremely well organised with plenty of food and drinks available for everyone.

At the beginning of each shooting day, each and every extra had to go to the make-up and grooming department, where dozens of stylists made sure everyone looked at his or her best. The amount of work that goes into getting hundreds of people ready was incredible but so well organised that everything went very smooth. Some people needed just some extra make-up, others got a complete haircut. My hair for example had to be cut because it was too long according to the stylists. Some people, who didn't have their own tuxedo or dress, changed to clothes provided by the production team.

on the set of quantum of solace

When it got dark, around 23.00, the filming of scenes took place at the open air Opera, with hundreds of people being hurdled to their assigned locations. Scenes were filmed in several locations, for example the audience area, with the Opera being performed on stage, or at the front of the building where the guests arrived. As an extra, you had to wait untill the last moment to know where you would have to go. Sometimes you were lucky to see an actor on the set, but many establishing shots were done with only the extras.

quantum of solace screenshots

The most exciting moments were when I was able to see Daniel Craig as James Bond on the set. It's a rare opportunity to see Daniel Craig, but even more rare to see James Bond in action! Daniel Craig and the other main actors usually stayed in their private trailers and just came out briefly for the shoot. Some of the less prominent actors had to stay on the set longer.

bond fans austria

During the day, or on days that I didn't have to be on the set, I was meeting other Bond fans from all over Europe. I met Wolfgang Thürauf and several other members from the German and Swiss Bond clubs, including and good friends like Anders Frejd (From Sweden With Love), Jan Reuter and Nathalie Cloet. Bond fans Gernot and Birgit Wolf came in style with their beautiful Lotus Esprit. Together with these fellow Bond fans we visited the town of Feldkirch (where some scenes of Bond driving the Volvo S40 were shot), the Sheraton hotel (where some cast and crew members were staying), and a James Bond exhibition in the same theatre where the casting had taken place.

feldkirch

lotus esprit

Bregenz in April/May 2008 was a fantastic experience: being on the set, seeing the efficiency and magnitude of a Bond film production in action, enjoying the company of fellow Bond fans and all this in a beautiful location with great weather each day of those 12 days.

Read more about The Open Air theatre in Bregenz, Austria.

See more photos in the photoalbum on the Bond Lifestyle Facebook page.


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