Despite what you may think, martinis -- shaken, not stirred -- are not handed out freely on the set of "SPECTRE." TBH, after spending two hours on the set of the latest James Bond flick in Mexico City, it was my only real disappointment. Well, that and the lack of Daniel Craig's mesmerizing glare. Oh, and the fact that we didn't get to see a super effing awesome helicopter stunt that you'll have to keep reading to find out more about.
However, what I got to observe during my time on set was truly mind-blowing. I, along with a group of journalists, watched as 1500 extras paraded through Mexico City's Zócalo Square with giant skeleton floats to recreate the city's famous Dia de los Muertos festival. The scene didn't make the cut for the chilling teaser trailer that dropped on Friday (March 27) night, but luckily for all you 007 fans out there, I can fill you in on what I saw. Trust me: the first 20 minutes of "SPECTRE" are going to blow you away -- quite literally.
Craig’s fourth go-round as Bond will open with a harrowing chase sequence through Zócalo, which finds Bond going head to head with a baddie named Sciarra (Alessandro Cremona). While we didn't get to see the opening scene in its entirety, "SPECTRE" unit publicist Heather Callaw filled us in.
In true Bond fashion, it all starts with a bit of sexy-time. When Bond meets Estrella (played by Mexican actress Stephanie Sigman) on the streets of Mexico City, she invites him back to her hotel -- which is the same fancy AF hotel where I spent my time on set -- but their hookup is foiled by Sciarra doing bad guy stuff. Bond jumps out of a window, blows up a building and chases Sciarra through the Dia de los Muertos parade. But just as it seems the bad guy is going to get away in his escape helicopter, Bond decides to take this fight to the sky. AND HE JUMPS INTO THE HELICOPTER. Then the helicopter does a full, 360-degree spin in the air, which we sadly didn't get to see because of the altitude. Stunt pilot Chuck Aaron -- who is the only guy in the world who's insured to do 360-degree spins -- will film that sequence roughly 10 hours outside the city at a lower altitude. (LAME.)
See? It all sounds pretty epic, right? And that's only the first 20 minutes of the film! It's a good thing there's plenty more where that came from. Mexico City may start things off with a bang -- I mean, BOOM -- but Bond 24 is a worldwide affair, with sets in London, Rome, Austria and Morocco. During my time on set in Zócalo Square, I spoke with some of the key people responsible for making Bond look so damn good. So without further ado, here's what I learned on the set of "SPECTRE."
Females are strong as hell.Sony Pictures
Bond girls get a bad wrap for their lack of substance. Usually, they're pretty stock characters who add relatively little to the story. But "SPECTRE" is changing the nature of that relationship for the better. Bond will finally have equal companions by his side, according to costume designer Jany Temime.
"Twenty years ago, every Bond girl was dressed up very sexy, and they all wore evening dresses and you could see their boobs," she told MTV News. "Now, a Bond girl has to be much more sophisticated, she has to be clever, she has to be intelligent, she has to have a job, and so she has to have costumes that are much more adaptable."
Temime's inspiration for Léa Seydoux's character Madeleine Swann was Grace Kelly. "I wanted something very simple. Expensively simple, yet strong," she said.
Monica Bellucci might be the most badass Bond girl ever.Getty Images
At age 50, Bellucci is the oldest Bond girl -- she prefers to be called a Bond woman -- in the 53-year-old franchise. And aside from being absolutely stunning, her character Lucia will challenge Bond in a way that's long-overdue.
"What's mature is the relationship between Bond and her," said Temime. "She's mature, yes, but when you look at her, she's drop dead gorgeous. In the other films, Bond and his women were never equal. Now, thank god, we've reached a point with 'Spectre' where the woman and the man are equal. And that happens with Monica Bellucci and Bond. They are equals. But also, it happens with Léa Seydoux, playing Madeleine. Same thing. They are equal. And I think this is the big victory for 'Spectre.' The Bond girls are now women we all want to be -- and not because they wear high heels, but because they are very strong."
This does seem to support my theory that Bellucci will be revealed as Blofeld -- AKA the Big Bad at the top of the terrorist organization Spectre -- at the end of the film. I have zero proof that this will actually happen, but A GIRL CAN DREAM.
No two sugar skulls are the same.Crystal Bell/MTV News
To prepare for the Dia de los Muertos parade, where traditionally, men and women paint their faces as calaveras (skulls) or calacas (skeltons), makeup artist Naomi Donne and her team -- of 107 people! -- researched for months, curating hundreds of looks. From there, Donne's team painted every single extra's face, each unique in its own way, based from the looks she approved, and all of that happened six weeks before filming even began.
"I wanted to have a mix of professional, beautifully painted faces and badly painted faces, as if someone had done it at home or got their face painted on the street," she told MTV News. "I wanted to have a whole mixture to keep an authenticity about it. But it's a Bond, and we wanted to push it a little bit. I like to take risk with images, and luckily we have a director [Sam Mendes] who really encourages that. He wanted it to have an incredibly strong visual image because it's the opening of the movie, and it's going to be an amazing sequence."
Each extra spent up to two hours in the makeup chair.Crystal Bell/MTV News
And after 10 hours on set, in full skull makeup, each extra got personally cleaned off by a makeup artist. Because let's be real: there is NOTHING worse than "accidentally" falling asleep in your makeup and waking up the next morning with a giant zit. The thought alone pretty much gives me an anxiety attack. (What? Only me?) But rest assured, no extras were harmed -- or temporarily marred -- during the making of the film's Dia de los Muertos scene. "We've had a couple of bad reactions to some strong colors, but everyone has been fine," said Donne.
It's a song of fire and ice.Sony
At the start of production, director Sam Mendes asked production designer Dennis Gassner to find him something "hot and cold."
"I said, 'Okay, let's go to Morocco and let's go to Switzerland,' Gassner told MTV News and several other outlets during a group interview. "I started in Switzerland and went to Italy. 52 cable cars later and I can't tell you how many miles on the road, running up and down through the snow the road in January from Morocco. You have no idea how big my bag was. I had to pack for hot and cold. It's great, great culture. It's what the story needed. It needed something like that. That's what I do. I have to go to places that I think you want to see and that offer something different, exciting and beautiful. It's really about serving the story first. If the story is good, you can appreciate that."
So when you see Bond kicking ass in his 1950s-inspired, custom Tom Ford ski pants in the Alps, you can thank Gassner.
You can literally eat off the wardrobe.Getty Images
There was one beautifully intricate dress displayed on the set, and not only was it gorgeous, but it was also functional. You know, if you happened to need a straw. (Sorry, but that's one photo I'm not allowed to show you.) Inspired by the unique creations she found online, Temime used disposable dinnerware -- straws, plates and cake liners -- to create her breathtaking Dia de los Muertos designs. It took four months and "two or three" local Mexican seamstresses to bring her larger-than-life designs to life.
As for Bond's timeless style, no, it wasn't inspired by disposables, but once again, Temime worked with Jay Z's homeboy Tom Ford to custom-make Bond's wardrobe. Yes, even that turtleneck.