A Bond film is nothing without its car chases and stunning cars in them. In every scene you’re praying that the car isn’t scratched, let alone flown into a river. James Bond has been driving an Aston Martin on and off for a number of years and in the past three movies Mark Higgins is the man actually doing the driving. We had some questions.
Firstly, how did you get into this style career?
My background is rally driving as a professional since 1990, with rallying you drive on may different conditions. during the opening sequence of Quantum of solace there was a section driving on gravel roads and they were after a rally driver for this part, a friend of mine Ben Colins (the old Stig in Top Gear) was involved in the film and approached me, and it all started there. It did not take me long to say yes.
Is there some particular training or course you need to take to do this job?
Not really, I think a motorsport background is important and a good CV of driving experiences. Thankfully my career in rallying is quite public so much of my driving had been seen over the internet/TV.
Who inspired you growing up? Why?
I was inspired by famous rally drivers such as Ari Vatenan and my father who was a great driver. It was always my dream to compete and still do now, I sort of fell into the film industry and been very lucky to be involved in big films such as Bond, Fast and the Furious etc.
In terms of completing stunts, how does Spectre compare to the previous two Bond films you worked on?
Spectre was great because there were only two cars in the chase, this meant we were busy all the time of filming throughout the month in Rome. One of the downsides to filming is the time waiting to shoot because the cars were the main focus, we were driving all the time and very busy.
The car chase was also a nice stylish drive rather than crashing and big stunts, although technically challenging in other ways with the narrow cobbled roads of Rome.
What sort of training do you need to do to be prepared for this line of work?
The only training you can do is get as familiar as you can with the environments and vehicle, and drive the same conditions when possible in a controlled environment like a race track or rally stage or skid area. Like any sport or skill it needs to be natural and thankfully for me the car feels part of me which allows you to drive without thinking and concentrate on the other aspects of the job.
Have you ever looked at a stunt and thought that even you needed a stunt-double?
Thankfully not yet! We have good stunt co-ordinators who have great experience and normally know what can and can’t be done. As I’m getting older I also let some of the other guys do the big crashes and I concentrate on the speed and precision type driving, not a fan of pain!
How does it feel to drive Aston Martin cars in these movies and know that in many instances you’ll be damaging these beauties?
Driving such a car is always amazing and very special to be Bond, the first time i seen the cars get damaged on a film did make me cringe, especially when its done with a hammer and tools for continuity.
It’s also strange being told to crash into something after being told the opposite for so many years in my motorsport .
What is the best car you’ve driven for a movie and why?
I suppose to date it has to be the DB10 because it is a one off, its also very good fun in terms of its driving balance and sounds amazing! I’m also one of the few that will ever get the chance to drive her.
007’s Latest Mission Now Available on Blu-ray, if you missed Spectre in cinemas then make sure you see it at home. The DB10 is excuse enough.