Istanbul was the place to be this week as director, Sam Mendes; star, Daniel Craig; and the supporting cast of the new James Bond film, Skyfall, gathered to shoot some key sequences for the 23rd instalment of the ever-popular franchise. On hand, for RTÉ TEN, was Michael Doherty.
Though the general approach from all parties, including "Bond girls" Bérénice Marlohe and Naomie Harris, plus "baddie" Ola Rapace, was to remain tight-lipped on plot points, here are (00)7 things we gleaned about Skyfall from the Istanbul experience:
* The opening sequence of Skyfall takes place in Istanbul and took three months to shoot. Bond and his Field Agent (Naomie Harris) chase the baddie, Patrice (Ola Rapace), via Land Rover, motorbike and train through the Grand Bazaar.
* The new movie doesn't shy away from the darker elements in Bond's psyche. "Some people sometimes forget in the cliché of Bond, which is the international playboy, and someone who's always untroubled, and almost never breaks a sweat, that actually what (Ian Fleming) created was a very conflicted character," says director Sam Mendes.
* Craig took a hands-on approach to Skyfall, working on script ideas with director Sam Mendes (both re-read the Fleming novels for inspiration). Craig had been instrumental in the selection of Mendes for the Bond gig, a director with whom he previously worked with on Road To Perdition (2002).
* In addition to pitching for Mendes to take over directorial duties, Craig also lobbied hard for one of his favourite actors, Javier Bardem, to land the role of the baddie, Silva, in Skyfall.
* The phrase "Bond Girls" is not encouraged. Both of the actresses chosen for the roles, Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe, believe their characters to be strong women who shouldn't be judged merely as an adjunct to Bond.
* To mark the 50th anniversary since James Bond first appeared on our screens in Dr No, Skyfall will feature many nods to previous 007 outings.
* No matter how hard the Bond stunt drivers try, they will never be as scary or as dangerous as your average Istanbul cabbie.
* Daniel Craig believes Bayern Munich will beat Chelsea FC in the Champions League Final (no comment from your correspondent).
Skyfall opens in Ireland on October 24. Don't miss the RTÉ Guide's upcoming account of its set visit, plus interviews with all the stars.