20 Things You Didn’t Know About Quantum Of Solace

It may not be the best-loved Bond movie, nor even the best-loved Bond movie of the Daniel Craig era, but Quantum of Solace still has its moments. What’s more, it may have the most fascinating production history of any James Bond movie ever.

Directed by Marc Forster and starring Craig in his second outing as 007, Quantum of Solace was made just as the 2007-2008 Hollywood Writers’ Strike was getting underway, something that compromised production from the beginning.

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Produced in a turbulent time for Hollywood, Quantum to make things more difficult was also filmed across six countries in three different continents. Then, after the chaos that was the shoot, Forster was forced to edit the $200 million picture in just five weeks.

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It resulted in a disjointed, scrappy and abstract picture that looks like like no other James Bond movie before or since.

Here are 20 things you didn’t know about Quantum of Solace, one of the most troubled and surely unique Bond movies of all.

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20. Daniel Craig was injured so badly he needed plastic surgery

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Daniel Craig has been routinely soundly battered during his time as 007. On the production of Quantum of Solace, though, Craig suffered through more injuries than even he’s accustomed to.

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Accidents on-set for Craig resulted in stitches in his face, surgery to insert six screws into his shoulder after he damaged his rotator cuff, badly bruised ribs and the loss of the tip of one of his fingers.

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Craig also had to have plastic surgery, after the filming of one fight sequence saw him kicked in the face by one of his co-stars.

19. The film became a Casino Royale sequel by accident

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Starting off where Casino Royale ended, Quantum of Solace begins with 007 driving around with the previous instalment’s villain Mr White in his boot, looking for revenge on the crime syndicate Quantum over the death of Vesper Lynd.

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This wasn’t entirely deliberate. As Quantum of Solace went into production, the writers’ strike left Quantum filming without a screenwriter or a finished script, forcing Craig and director Marc Forster to write it themselves on the fly.

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Without meaning to, Craig and Forster ended up improvising the “barebones” script they had been lumbered with into a direct sequel.

18. It’s the shortest Bond movie ever

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Considering the team had little material to work with when they went into production on Quantum of Solace, it’s not surprising that the final film clocks in at a shorter time than other Bond movies.

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In fact, at a relatively brisk 106 minutes, Quantum of Solace is the shortest Bond movie ever made.

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The other Craig Bonds, meanwhile, are the three longest 007 movies, with Spectre (148 minutes) recently breaking Casino Royale’s (145 minutes) previous running time record.

17. Paul McCartney declined to write the theme song

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Having previously provided the theme for 1973’s Live and Let Die with his band Wings, Paul McCartney was approached again in 2008 for another Bond theme – and turned the offer down.

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McCartney gave lack of inspiration as his reason: “I definitely wouldn’t do it again. I have been trying to think of something to rhyme with solace and all I can come up with is Wallace!”

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“I don’t envy whoever is going to do the song”, McCartney added – before going on to make a recommendation of his own to producers…

16. Amy Winehouse’s theme was rejected

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Although McCartney turned down the chance to do the Quantum theme, he told producers he had someone specific in mind to step in for him: Amy Winehouse.

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Winehouse, along with Mark Ronson, actually made a demo track for the film – but it was ultimately rejected.

Winehouse was vocal about her displeasure with Quantum’s producers for instead going with the “clean-cut and boring” choice of Alicia Keys and Jack White, rather than her “post-60s” track.

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Winehouse sadly never got to record a Bond theme, dying three years after the release of Quantum.

15. The film’s villain was based on Tony Blair

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Quantum of Solace’s villain Dominic Greene may not exhibit the iconic qualities of memorable Bond baddies past, but Mathieu Amalric still lends the character some chilling details, with two surprising figures as influences.

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It was then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair who provided Amalric with his inspiration for Greene. The then-French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, was another big-name influence.

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For Greene, Amalric adopted “the smile of Tony Blair [and] the craziness of Sarkozy”, to play an outwardly plain man who represents the ‘hidden evils’ of society.

14. Some thought the production was ‘cursed’

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It wasn’t just Daniel Craig who came in for a rough time of it during the production of Quantum of Solace. Members of the crew also suffered numerous headline-grabbing injuries and accidents.

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An engineer driving one of the film’s Aston Martin DBSes to the set crashed the car into Lake Garda on the way over, one stuntman fell from scaffolding during the art gallery sequence, while another was put in intensive care after crashing his car filming for the opening scene.

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All of this and more (at one point the Pinewood Studios set caught fire, while a technician working on the movie was stabbed in a domestic dispute) led to some speculating the production was ‘cursed’.

13. A fan bought that ruined DBS for £200,000

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There’s more to that story of the Aston Martin engineer who drove the brand-new DBS into Lake Garda, rendering the expensive piece of setware useless to the production.

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After it skidded out of control and sank 150-foot deep, the car was left ruined. Still, the vehicle – worth £134,000 fresh off the factory floor – wasn’t without value to some hardcore 007 fans.

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In 2008, a collector bought the wrecked DBS for £200,000 – a whole £66,000 more than they would have paid if they’d bought a DBS brand new.

12. Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron cameo

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As an awards-friendly filmmaker himself, it makes sense that Quantum of Solace director Marc Forster counts fellow Oscar favourites Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron among his friends.

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Forster treasures his friendship with del Toro and Cuaron so much, in fact, that he put the pair into his Bond movie. Good luck trying to find either of them on your next watch, though.

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Cuaron appears in one Quantum scene as a Bolivian helicopter pilot, while del Toro can be heard, but not seen, as the voice(s) of the Bolivian army.

11. Agent Fields’ real name is a sly Beatles reference

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Though Gemma Arterton makes little more than an extended cameo in Quantum of Solace, thanks to that death scene harking darkly back to Goldfinger, her Agent Fields makes a big impression.

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Impressive, considering that’s without us ever finding out her attention-grabbing real name.

It’s never revealed in the film, but Fields’ full name in the Quantum script is the chuckle-worthy Strawberry Fields.

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This is a reference both to the classic track by The Beatles and to euphemistically-named Bond girls of the past.

10. The film was shot in the ‘driest region on Earth’

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Out of all the locations that Quantum of Solace shot in, the most memorable and evocative has to be Chile – specifically the country’s near-uninhabitable Atacama Desert.

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It’s here where Bond leaves Greene with just a can of oil to drink at the climax of the film, a particularly brutal punishment considering the desert is the driest place on Earth.

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There have been years where there was no recorded rainfall in Atacama whatsoever, with no significant rainfall occurring there between 1570 and 1971. It holds the record for world’s longest dry period, with 173 months of no rain recorded there early last century.

9. It was styled like a ’70s revenge movie’ to hide problems behind the scenes

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Quantum of Solace is unique for 007 in several ways, but in particular the film’s rough-and-ready style leaves it looking like no other Bond movie. That’s director Marc Forster’s doing.

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With the Quantum shoot compromised by its lack of a screenplay and the ongoing writers’ strike, Forster almost quit the film. Instead of giving in, however, he went with a bold plan B.

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“Ultimately I felt like, ‘OK, worst case scenario the strike goes on, I’ll just make it sort of like a 70s revenge movie – very action driven, lots of cuts to hide that there’s a lot of action and a little less story'”. Unfortunately for Forster, but fortunately for fans of 70s revenge movies, the strike continued throughout the film’s shoot.

8. The title was Daniel Craig’s idea

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One thing perhaps even more controversial than the film itself was Quantum of Solace’s title. It didn’t suggest Bond, said naysayers – more like science fiction, or a Harry Potter movie.

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The title was in fact Daniel Craig’s – by way of Ian Fleming, who wrote the Quantum of Solace short story in 1960 – and he was adamant it would stick, believing it would leave audiences to “wonder”.

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“I knew I didn’t want ‘death’, ‘die’, ‘bleed’ or any of those things in the title”, said Craig. “It’s a Bond title! The name of a Bond film is not about anything. Live And Let Die? Octopussy? What does it mean? It means very little.”

7. The title’s meaning is…complicated

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Reinforcing Craig’s point that Bond titles typically aren’t ever actually ‘about anything’, at no point in Quantum of Solace is there an explanation given for what a ‘quantum of solace’ actually is. For that, we have to turn to Fleming’s original short story.

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In Fleming’s tale, a quantum of solace is – in basic terms – the love or spark that’s needed in a healthy relationship. It’s what you have when “basic humanity exists between the two people”; without it, a relationship can’t survive.

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At the time of the title’s announcement, Craig explained that “at the end of the last movie, Bond has the love of his life taken away from him and he never got that quantum of solace”. Quantum is about Bond getting his revenge and a sense of closure.

6. Al Pacino reportedly wanted a part in the film

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As if the cast wasn’t already impressive enough – Craig, Amalric, Arterton, Judi Dench, with Jeffrey Wright and David Harbour in supporting roles – Quantum of Solace was, according to rumours, almost even more impressive.

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It was reported at the time of the film’s production that none other than Al Pacino was circling the film, with his sights set on General Medrano, would-be-revolutionary and ‘client’ to Dominic Greene.

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Ultimately, producers didn’t manage to lure Pacino, and the role of Medrano went to Mexican actor Joaquin Cosio.

5. The pre-credits sequence took eight weeks to film

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Discounting indies, which with modern technology can now take less than a month to film, it typically takes a month or two to shoot a feature-length movie. Bond movies are not most movies, however.

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The pre-credits sequence alone on Quantum of Solace, in which Bond gets into an epic car chase that takes him from Lake Garda to Siena, took a whole eight weeks to shoot.

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The sequence also required 40 stuntpeople (with six of those just for Craig) and 15 stunt cars. All that for a scene that takes place before the credits even roll.

4. SPECTRE doesn’t feature for legal reasons

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If you’ve rewatched the film recently, you might be wondering why Quantum of Solace introduces a SPECTRE-like organisation in Quantum, only for the film’s sequels Skyfall and Spectre to unceremoniously ditch Quantum and re-introduce SPECTRE anyway.

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The truth behind it is disappointingly mundane. SPECTRE doesn’t feature in Quantum of Solace for artistic reasons, but solely because of a legal dispute that was only cleared up after the film’s release.

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In 2013, Thunderball producer Kevin McClory died, with the rights to use the SPECTRE organisation in Bond films finally being sold back to MGM and EON.

3. Gal Gadot turned down Olga Kurylenko’s role

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Years before she was cast in her career-making role as Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot was a 19-year-old former Miss Israel who just wanted to focus on her university studies.

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This meant turning down the part of Camille in Quantum of Solace, the role of a lifetime: “I said, ‘I’m studying law and international relations. I’m way too serious and smart to be an actress, and besides, the script is all in English.”

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Ukrainian-French actress Olga Kurylenko ultimately took the role.

2. The film gives the recipe for Bond’s martini

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In case you ever wanted to drink like Bond (not literally, that would be extremely damaging to your health), Quantum of Solace has the recipe for one of the super-spy’s favourite cocktails.

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Bond’s signature drink the Vesper, first introduced in Casino Royale and named after Bond’s one true love, makes an appearance in Quantum as the drink that gets 007 nicely hammered.

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A barman gives us the recipe: “Three measures of Gordon’s gin, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet…shaken well until it is ice cold and served with a large, thin slice of lemon peel.” Fill your boots, Bond fans.

1. Daniel Craig’s wardrobe was enormous

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James Bond has always been a sharply dressed kind of man; in Quantum, Tom Ford was hired especially by Daniel Craig to create original clothing for the character.

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What with all the stunt work involved, plenty of spare items of clothing need to be ready and available at all times for Bond. On Quantum, this meant an enormous wardrobe was required for Daniel Craig.

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Altogether, Bond goes through eleven costume changes in the film. This required nine versions of every suit, and a total of 420 pieces of clothing just for the one character.