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SPECTRE: Spotlight on Austria as the country prepares for Bond [POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

Sam Mendes has personally confirmed it at the official press event on December 4th: Bond will be back in the Alps! Soelden was mentioned in particular, but we are aware of other filming locations since many weeks. A few new insights popped up today and anyone who likes to avoid spoilers should not read any further.

Preparations in Soelden / © Thomas Boehm / TT

According to the Tiroler Tageszeitung, the interest of the Bond filmmakers was directed to Soelden after the opening of the spectacular “IceQ” restaurant at the summit of the Gaislachkogl.
„That´s exactly what they have been looking for in the new film. Modern architecture, an impressive alpine world and good accessibility”, says Jacob Falkner, hotel manager and General manager of the Soelden Cable Car Company. Once news of the interest in the location had reached Soelden, everything had been done to make the deal happen. Falkner: „You can´t sit around and then cash in on that. You have to become active yourself.“ That´s why he had flown to London in person and done what is the task of a professional touristics expert: drumming up the business.

Falkner is not willing to reveal details on how the deal Soelden arranged together with the Austrian Film Subsidy came about. He is more keen on dreaming about the possibilities that open up through it. There are also the words “centenery chance”: “The Bond location shoot is like winning the lottery.”  Not just short-term – the Tiroler Tageszeitung already reported about around 6 million euros being spent in the region – but also long-term. “When you become a part of the most famous brand in the film world, advertising and image value can not be put down in numbers. These films are being watched by millions of people, locations are visited even decades later. Such a project brings more than a few nice memories for everyone involved”, adds Falkner. 
In that respect it goes without saying, that one complies with the film producers in matters of logistics and accomodation. However, Falkner stands on one thing: “There will be no large-scale blocking of the skiing area.” Blocks are only scheduled to happen 2-3 days during the shoot that will, apart from the Gaislachkogl, mainly be done at the Rettenbach glacier. On these days, there is no possibility for a glacier downhill run until 4.30pm. The possibility of a last minute block of the glacier route remains. “Everyone, including the film crew, is of course endeavoured to disrupt the skiing bustle as little as possible”, Falkner reassures.

Filming at the Gaisbachkogl and Rettenbach glacier are scheduled to begin next week but although the confidentiality agreements have been loosened after the official press event on December 4, there is little information to obtain. Who of the cast will be filming alongside Daniel Craig remains – as the entire script – top secret. At the Rettenbach glacier, people hope for a visit of Christoph Waltz. “He´s Austrian and supposed to play an Austrian”, two German tourists remark during a skiing break. Inhabitants of the area take everything lightly. “Who can successfully manage the opening to the Ski-World Cup will also give it one´s best shot for James Bond”, says Falkner.

The spectacular “IceQ” on the summit of the Gaislachkogl / Photo Copyright:

Production designer Dennis Gassner chose the futuristic luxury restaurant “IceQ”, which opened last year, as a spectacular Bond location. The glass cube in a height of 3050 meters will provide Daniel Craig with a stunning panorama from the Zugspitze to the Dolomites. In January, this view will however be an exclusive for the actors and the crew since it will remain closed for tourists due to interior filming from January 1st – 20th. It remains unclear if there will be a spectacular helicopter explosion , a scene that had previously been planned for the “Skywalk” at the Dachstein glacier. 
The estimated filming times in Sölden are as follows:

  • 10. – 12. Dec. 2014:  Road up at the Glacier, road tunnel at the Glacier
  • 07. – 10. Jan. 2015:  3S Cable Car and ICE Q Restaurant
  • 12. – 13. Jan. 2015:  Road up at the Glacier, road tunnel at the Glacier
  • 09. – 17. Feb. 2015:  Road up at the Glacier, road tunnel at the Glacier

The exact dates and times of close downs and restrictions cannot be announced yet, as the weather situation has a big influence. Logistics: Near the city centre of Soelden there will be a container village on open ground. In Längenfeld, close to the Aqua Dome, a storage tent has already been placed. An 800m long airfield for helicopters is planned. Production offices will be located in Soelden and at the Rettenbach glacier. 


The set is guarded by friendly security / © Funder

As reported earlier, set construction has been going on in the small village for quite some time and when entering it, everybody can see that something big is going on here. In the western part of the villlage, massive parking areas house the gigantic fleet of vehicles as well as tents for catering and props. The containers look like foreign objects in the now picturesque, snow-covered scenery. 

Strong men guard the mysterious areas around the purpose-built “James Bond House” in the  northern part of Obertilliach. As it is their duty, the strict security guys dressed in neon really do look deterring but turn out to be very friendly, communicative and not at all camery shy. They have 12 hour shifts affronting wind and weather. The cold is not a problem they all say, one walks up and down which keeps you warm. “I have walked six kilometers today”, one of the guards says early in the morning. Concerning Bond, their lips are sealed. All is top secret!
The locals present themselves as genuinely unexcited when asked about the filming. But the thrill of anticipation is in their faces. James Bond is a “slam-dunk” for the village. Sepp Lugger, head of tourism in Obertilliach reports of sold-out hotels for the whole of January. “There are many requests of guests, especially because of the filming.”

The “Bond House” / Copyright:
However, some hotel owners fear that regular guests will be scared away by the turmoil. Like most residents in the village, Lugger sees a huge chance as a result of the location shoot: “It would be grossly negligent not to use it.” He also hopes that the director sticks to his word that the beautiful village will be seen in the final film. The setting breathes centuries. “19 objects and the village centre are heritage-protected”, Lugger explains. Parish priest Vincent Ohindo, a native African, sees the Dreh as a “good thing” from which Obertilliach will profit. Resident Maria Mitterdorfer is looking forward to the filming but is already hyped up before the first take: “Many people are here, everything is international. And I feel very safe at the moment as there are so many security guards”, she says with a smile.
Locations will be the swathe of the dismantled Tinetz-landline in the Gostenwald, the village pistes that flow into the village from upside as well as the infamous James-Bond-House t the northern edge of the village.

The 300 strong filmteam is scheduled to commence with their work on January 10, which somehow coincides with the date when filming is scheduled in Soelden. Daniel Craig will reportedly be on location – strictly shielded – for three days to film close-ups. Prior to that, a number of high-octane action scenes will be filmed with a stunt crew. Pursuits in the air and on skis are equally planned as shots and explosions – extraordinary proceeding for the tranquil mountain village. Stuntmen are supposed to thunder towards the “Bond-House” in dark Range Rover Sport ATV´s via the piste underneath the Stubenlift. For the winter scenes to be shot in Obertilliach, a lot of snow is needed and it began to snow just in time but the production crew hopes for more.

Lake Altaussee in Styria ©


The Bond producers have picked one of the most beautiful places in the Salzkammergut region: the Seewiese at the eastern edge of Lake Altaussee, directly in front of the Trisselwand with a view towards the Dachstein. Local carpenter and boatbuilder Felix Suchanek owns the land and nothing is done – not even for the Bond Team – without his permission. He is Bonds „Plätten-Bauer“: Since months, Suchanek has been carpenting a dozen of the traditional wooden boats for the film. There is whispering of a short boat scene, maybe even a romantic one with Bond and his new Bond Girl? In any case, Lake Altaussee should better not be frozen during filming.

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