The first time you see a Land Rover Defender in the new James Bond film No Time To Die, it’s travelling at about 50mph – some ten feet off the ground. Then it’s followed by two more, also going airborne as the drivers attempt to catch 007.
The image below is an exclusive behind-the-scenes shot of the new Defender making its on-screen debut as it barrels over the crest of a hill using a carefully positioned ramp to ‘grab some air’.
“It doesn’t get bigger than Bond,” says No Time To Die‘s Stunt Coordinator Lee Morrison. For this scene, Morrison was looking to put Bond into a ‘lonely, open place, to make it feel like he was a wild animal being chased across the landscape’.
Normally, for a stunt like this, Morrison would have jump harnesses installed to hold the driver in place. But, after trialling the jump himself, he realised that, with lowered tyre pressures, all the Defender would need was
a five-point race harness to keep the driver safe. In fact, other than essential safety kit for the stunt such as roll cages, the Defenders were standard-issue under the skin.
“We pushed the Defender further than we believed possible to generate the maximum excitement,” says Morrison. “The cars took everything we threw at them and kept going.” It’s testament to how robust the Defender is.
We pushed the Defender further than we believed possible to generate the maximum excitement
Behind the wheel of one Defender was Jessica Hawkins, a young British racing driver more used to keeping cars on the ground in single-seater championships than making an SUV fly on her first ever stunt job. “The first time we did the jump, when I was airborne I thought, this is going to hurt,” she says.
“I was concerned about the landing,” agrees Morrison. “It was wet, muddy and slippery. I said to the crew, this will be tough. But the vehicles looked after them brilliantly. And we weren’t looking after the vehicles – they made a big thud when they landed!”
Hawkins says the chance to perform the stunt was a huge opportunity. “It was thrilling, if intimidating,” she says. “I knew the pressure was on to perform. But the ease with which the Defender absorbed such high impact was impressive. It handled everything we asked of it, and I know the big screen will attest to that. After all, Bond fans will accept nothing less.”
Land Rover is at the heart of the action in No Time To Die. The latest James Bond film features new and classic Land Rovers and has also inspired the Defender V8 Bond Edition.
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