Sam Mendes Discusses What Might Be Skyfall’s Most Crowd-Pleasing Moment

Ever since the first full trailer for Skyfall was released, I’ve been in love with the little beat where Bond jumps down into the train, as it’s being pulled open by the digger arm, and lands smoothly… correcting his cuff.

Here’s a video of the little moment I mean.

When I sat down with director Sam Mendes this week to discuss the film, I wanted to use this moment for an example of what makes a great Bond moment. Here’s some of what he told me.

That’s all Daniel. He didn’t tell me he was going to do that. I loved it, because I was sitting there [demonstrates clapping] because it’s a great moment.

He was jumping off a digger arm and all I was thinking was, “Just land.” You know what I mean? I wasn’t thinking about the cuffs. I was just like, “Just land and don’t fall off the back.” Yeah, he’s on a safety wire, but the wire’s narrower than your biro and he’s just “It’s fine, it’s fine.”

So he’s jumping off a digger arm, 15 feet up and the train’s moving. It’s making a loud noise.. it’s dusty and hot and all that, and he jumps. To have the courage to do [the cuff check] is Daniel all over, the courage-slash-madness to do it, and to have the canniness to know that, at this point, maybe Sam would like it if I did.

What I loved about it was that I felt there was a little bit of the old-style pride and the élan and the chutzpah of Bond. The style of the man. We debated it, and we got a take of him not doing it but what I like, when Daniel does it, there’s a real “F you” about it. And I love that about what Daniel does.

But it’s not self-conscious, it’s something fuelled by a bit of anger. So you get both things. You get a real action hero, and you get a man with a sense of style and poise. That’s Bond.

You have to find these moments that are quintessential Bond, and it’s not easy to find them. Part of the movie is channelling your 13-year-old self, and that’s who it’s for.It’s not just for you and me, it’s for my 13-year-old son and his mates. And you’re talking to both sets of audiences, really.

And it does talk, I think, to both sets of audiences, very well.

Skyfall is in UK cinemas now, and it brings several of these little “Bond moments” with it. The US will have to wait until November 8th, I’m afraid.

More from Mendes later, as well as Craig himself.

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