I’m at Pinewood Studios, 20 miles west of London, deep in the British countryside. Pinewood is the place where Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise holed up for the interminable "Eyes Wide Shut" production, and before that, where all the "Carry On" films were made. More recently, it was a trip down memory lane for "My Week With Marilyn," a movie that depicted the real-life squabble -- one that happened at this very same location five decades earlier -- between Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe.But the one enduring force to have seen this lot come and go is the pillar of Pinewood, James Bond. Today, he's back once more, this time for "Skyfall," the 23rd outing for MI6's top spy.
After the long drawn-out conflicts regarding MGM’s business affairs (the studio behind "Skyfall" filed for bankruptcy in 2010, causing production to halt), it’s very much business as usual here on the lot. The "Skyfall" set is enormous -– not only has it taken over the standard 007 stage, named in honor of the late "Dr. No" producer Cubby Broccoli, but it's extended right around the block and into a life-size replica of an abandoned Japanese city, where a deposed eastern leader lies in cement blocks on the ground -- the first hint of director Sam Mendes’ singular vision for Bond.
Further inside, a London Tube carriage hangs halfway off the wall of a dark, wet subway tunnel. This set was designed so that pieces of it could be wheeled underneath each other to make things more efficient. The logistics, as well as the army of crew members working on location, is mind-boggling.