James Bond’s status as an international man of mystery has transcended generations, actors and continents, inspiring countless other fictional, jet-setting spies (both serious and satirical). The changing faces of 007, however, remain the leading man.
A new book by Assouline explores some of the global locations to feature throughout the Bond franchise, with photos from around the world, both through and behind the lens, ultimately asking the question: just what makes a Bond location Bond?
Header Image Credit: Photography by Bob Penn; THE SPY WHO LOVED ME © 1977 Danjaq, LLC and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.
From his home in the United Kingdom, James Bond has done a pretty good job of branching out. Over 25 films, his escapades have taken him across deserts and up mountains, to sandy beaches and shimmering seas, typically leaving chaos, death and beautiful women in his wake. Crucially, however, the world avoids nuclear meltdown. It’s a successful formula.
All of this is on display in James Bond Destinations, a new book written by Daniel Pembrey and released by Assouline. The same cinematic quality exists in the book, with large, double-page spreads framing the scenery first, with Bond and the rest of the ensemble taking a step back.
This is not wholly different to what longtime Bond producers, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, have in mind when location scouting. “These destinations are not just backgrounds, or even backgrounds that simply inform characters. In our movies, they are characters,” the pair said.
“You have to find places that haven’t been seen, or you have to think of doing something spectacular in a well-known place, as we did with the chase through Rome in 2015’s Spectre,” Wilson continued.
In the book, 19 chapters each highlight locations, with some of the most distinctive destinations chosen from across the 61 years of Bond. The Caribbean island of Jamaica is the first chapter, and one of particular importance to the Bond franchise, with Pembrey describing it as Bond’s “spiritual home”.
Speaking about Jamaica, Charlie Hayes, the location manager on the latest Bond installment No Time To Die, said: “It is this incredible, almost mythical place in Bond folklore. There’s no chance of accurately replicating it for real [using other locations]. We wanted to be there to smell and taste it.”
Other highlights include Scotland, Lake Como in northern Italy, and stunning shots of Mexico memorably captured in the 2015 film Spectre.
While much of what is captured is free from the human footprint, there are moments of high-society captured as well. From Bond’s Savile Row suits and cars gracing the landscape, to the luxury hotel suites and some of the seemingly inescapable villain’s layers, part of what makes a Bond destination so memorable is, of course, the international espionage transpiring there.