İstanbul is a “magnificent” city, according to British actor Daniel Craig, who spoke at a press conference held at İstanbul's Çırağan Palace Kempinski hotel on Sunday. He said it's his second time in the city.
Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes said the film crew is in İstanbul for almost 20 days, and they have had a “great time.” “İstanbul is a very special city. The residents of İstanbul have welcomed us warmly,” he said at the press conference.
Shooting in İstanbul was a deliberate choice to mark almost 50 years since a Bond film was first set in the ancient city that straddles two continents, said producer Barbara Broccoli, who described İstanbul "as Ian Fleming's favorite city."
“To Russia With Love,” with Sean Connery in 1963, included a scene in Istanbul's 6th-century Basilica Cistern. The Byzantine-era Leander's Tower on the Bosporus Strait appeared in “The World is Not Enough” in 1999 with Pierce Brosnan.
“What we've got in store will hopefully combine the best of Istanbul and Turkey without falling into cliches,” Mendes said.
“It's an ever-changing, evolving city and we're very much trying to capture the city as it is now, and not as it was 49 years ago.”
Earlier this month, a stuntman lost control of his motorcycle and smashed into the window of a 330-year-old shop in the city's historic Grand Bazaar.
“Damage was very minimal,” Mendes said. “We've at no stage wanted to harm anything in İstanbul and hope we have been incredibly respectful.”
About the movie's star, Craig, Mendes said he would not have made the latest James Bond film "Skyfall" without Daniel Craig playing the MI6 agent because of the complexity the British actor has brought to the character.
Mendes, who won an Academy Award for directing "American Beauty" in 1999, has depicted troubled men with ordinary lives -- a far cry from 007, the ultimate action hero.
Bond's playboy image does not reflect the flawed hero in novelist Ian Fleming's books, first published in 1953, Mendes said.
“What Fleming created was a very conflicted character,” the British filmmaker said. "Some of those things are explored in this movie because Daniel as an actor is capable of exploring them.”
While the plot of the 23rd film in Hollywood's longest-running franchise is still a secret, Sony Pictures has said it is about a potential rift between Bond and his boss M, played by Judi Dench, when the past returns to haunt her.
“Skyfall,” which also stars Ralph Fiennes as fellow agent Mallory and Javier Bardem as the villain Silva, has been shot in İstanbul and the southern Turkish towns of Fethiye and Adana, as well as in Shanghai.