007 Mission: The Spots in Tirol Where Spectre Was Filmed
"Spectre", the 24th Bond film, was shot in locations around the world – including Sölden and Obertilliach in Tirol. Scroll down to see the precise spots in our region visited by Daniel Craig on Her Majesty's service.
The highest paved road in the Alps. A spectacular steel cable car station high in the mountains. A summit restaurant that resembles an ice cube. All these eye-catching elements feature in the scenes shot in Sölden. This internationally renowned ski resort in the Ötztal Alps was chosen as the setting for some of the most spectacular action-packed scenes in the 24th Bond movie.
In behind-the-scenes footage, associate producer Gregg Wilson says that the film's producers had been talking about how to top the already super-successful “Skyfall” with “Spectre”. “Above all, need a great sequence. It’s going to be spectacular. Tirol offers everything that we needed to pull it off.” Production designer and location scout Dennis Gassner adds, “We are going to continue the history of the Bond films, making things that are exciting for the audience to look at – and what could be more exciting than being on top of the world?”
It was the first time the ultimate gentleman spy has graced the Tirolean mountains. He did so mainly because of the daring willingness of Jakob Falkner, head of the ski resort in Sölden. In April 2014, while attending an event, Falkner noticed that the Bond production company was considering shooting key sequences of the latest movie on the Gaislachkogl mountain above Sölden. This was when Falkner embarked on his own personal 007 mission to bring Bond 24 to the lofty peaks of Tirol.
With the support of “Location Austria”, which cordinates film productions shot in Austria, he contacted the Bond production company and travelled to London. Encouraged by friends and colleagues in the tourism industry, he embarked on his very own daring mission “to show the James Bond producers how strong our interest was by showing up in person.” As well as commitment and charm, he had strong arguments in favour of Sölden: “The resort is readily accessible, the logistics are excellent, and the views are sensational.”
It was not Falkner's first time in London. He had visited the city as a boy to learn English and remembers getting his hands on tickets for the world premiere of a James Bond movie. When he arrived at the cinema, there were so many people waiting that there was a queue to get to the queue. He and his friends thought “it wasn’t worth the wait” – and went to the cinema a few days later to see the movie.
The iconic Ice Q mountain restaurant and the Gaislachkogelbahn cable car station feature prominently in “Spectre”, the 24th film in the James Bond series. © Ötztal Tourismus
This time, his Bond mission was more successful. Sölden was put on the shortlist of locations with most potential and Falkner returned to Ötztal Valley “with a good feeling”. Soon, arrangements were made for the Bond production crew to go to Soelden to finalise plans for filming there. They wanted to drive the switchbacks of the road leading up to the Rettenbach Glacier to an elevation of 2,829 metres themselves. They wanted to tour the spectacular steel structure of the gondola station, the amazing viewing platform and the distinctive cuboid-shaped ice Q mountaintop restaurant in person to confirm the suitability of the locations in question.
One thing had to been taken into consideration, though. The road leading up to the glacier is usually closed in winter due to avalanche conditions. Heavy snow creates dangerous conditions for tourists, and as well for Daniel Craig.
The Sölden Glacier Road is the highest paved road in the Alps. The 1.8-kilometre-long Rosi Mittermaier Tunnel is the highest road tunnel in Europe. Though it is usually closed in winter, the road was specially opened for the filming of “Spectre”. © Jörg Koopmann
And ... action!
Back in Sölden, Falkner gathered a small team of experts who were the only ones in the know – no one else was initiated into the secret of the “B 24” mission. Eventually, the producers confirmed their plans for shooting Bond 24 in Soelden. In December 2014, the production team visited once again to prepare for filming by scoping out the locations. “Safety first” was the paramount rule but, luckily, the road could be opened. Spectre began filming in January 2015 with Daniel Craig, joined by Bond girl Léa Seydoux and a muscular henchman called “Mr. Hinx”, played by Dave Bautista. Shooting continued in February with stuntmen and extras.
Some of the indoor scenes were finally shot at the London Studios in a replica of the “ice Q” restaurant. Falkner flew to London to view the set. “That was really awe-inspiring,” he said. Of course, you won’t be able to notice the difference between original and replica in the movie.
Filming in Sölden for the new James Bond 007 movie took three weeks in total, including spectacular car chases and fighting against the white snow, mixed with a beautiful deep blue sky and the stunning scenery of the mountains. Falkner knew from the first second that the resort of Sölden and the British spy were the perfect match: “Bond is action and adventure. Sölden is action and adventure! They go together like hand and glove.” Just a few metres from the ice Q restaurant, local Tirolean architect Johann Obermoser has designed the spectacular 007 Elements adventure world in which visitors can see how “Spectre” was filmed and delve into the world of James Bond. The iconic cable car station visited by Bond is also open to the public. In fact, right next to the ski pistes you will see the winding road where 45 Range Rovers and two Britain Norman Islander planes engage in a spectacular chase sequence in the movie.
Like winning the lottery
Thanks to the wonders of technology, the chase which started in Sölden in North Tirol actually ends a few hundred kilometres away in Obertilliach in East Tirol. It was here that a traditional wooden hut (originally from Styria but taken apart and paintakingly rebuilt above Obertilliach) aptly named “Bond House” by local residents took centre stage. Shooting for “Spectre” took place at four locations in and around Obertilliach. Daniel Craig was on location for three days in the middle of January 2015, filming scenes at the so-called “Bond House” as well as on the ski pistes. The filming sites were abuzz with Bond fever. A farmer in the village even named two baby calves that were born on the first day of shooting “Daniel” and “Léa”.
A timber building was carefully reconstructed on the Obertilliach set, aptly named “Bond House” by local residents. © XPA – Johann Groder
Another shooting location was the historic village centre in Obertilliach. “This was the main reason why Obertilliach was chosen as the setting for the film’s mountain scenes,” explains mayor Matthias Scherer. In March 2014 he was informed that Obertilliach was on the shortlist for a Spectre film shooting. Soon after that the production company told us that if the local community gave their OK, they would not look for other locations anymore. Scherer knew he had to seize this opportunity with both hands. “For a tourism resort, a film shoot of this kind is like winning the lottery.” The film crew began preparing the area in anticipation of the arrival of the main unit in early September 2014. Snow was brought in by the truckload to top up the snow on the set in the centre of the village.
687 residents and one secret agent
The main filming in Obertilliach began in mid-January 2015. The ski lift was closed for two days to allow the crew to record the movie’s intense action scenes. Daniel Craig’s 007 was seen on set aiming at a target with his handgun. Various scenes involving the badly damaged wreckage of the cockpit of a crashed plane were also shot in Obertilliach. “In the previous winter we had cleared a lot of woodland to place the overhead power lines in the ground as they were often broght down by heavy snowfall. It turned out that this clearing was very useful for filming," explains the local mayor Matthias Scherer.
Watch out for the action-packed scenes in Obertilliach involving the badly damaged wreckage of the cockpit of a crashed plane. © EXPA – Johann Groder
As was the case in Sölden, Scherer says that working with the production company and the film crew was very pleasant and less complicated than imagined. “They made a real effort to take into account the needs of the local population,” he says. The friendly owners of a home situated close to the so-called “Bond House” in Obertilliach invited members of the cast, crew and security to warm themselves up over homemade delicacies in their lovely wood-panelled parlour. ‘Villainous henchman’ Dave Bautista felt so ‘at home’ that he enjoyed a nap on their sofa, next to the cat.
And once 007 had left, East Tirol returned to its roots as a peaceful place surrounded by wonderful nature. With Bautista, Craig, Seydoux and all the other actors gone, Obertilliach once again began welcoming visitors in search of rest and relaxation as well as action and adventure. The resort is known as one of the best spots in the world for cross-country skiing and biathlon. But it is also enjoyed in summer by hikers and bikers. And after all that effort, the only trace of 007 left behind in East Tirol is a small hut. Even the clearing in the forest has now disappeared, filled with trees that cover the spot where James Bond crash-landed in his airplane.
Daniel Craig’s 007 was on location for three days in January 2015, filming scenes in the village of Obertilliach. © Sony Pictures Releasing GmbH