Having just watched the latest Bond movie “Skyfall”, I was immediately curious as to where the house in the finale was filmed. I assumed it was some beautiful manor house in Scotland, but I was actually somewhat mistaken.
As usual, where a film is depicted to be, and where it is actually filmed are not always the same place. Of course sci-fi movies HAVE to do this, but in many situations normal movies do this too, and Skyfall was very much one of these.
There are scenes in the finale that were indeed filmed in Scotland. The wide shots of the surroundings and beautiful landscape scenes were filmed in Glencoe in the Highlands, but the actual house itself was filmed in Hankley Common, Surrey, more than 500 miles away. Glencoe itself was named as the home of Bond’s father Andrew in some of Ian Fleming’s original writings, so the choice was far from random.
The house was a complete model and was constructed from plywood and plaster, which makes sense given that it ended up as rubble, a real house of that stature would have surely been a listed building and therefore untouchable.
I was wondering why they would have such a distance between their locations when filming, why film the actual landscape shots in Scotland, but the house itself in Surrey, but I think that it makes sense given the proximity of Hankley Common to Pinewood Studios, where the majority of the Bond “on-set” production takes place. Even the interior of the Shanghai Skyscraper was recreated at Pinewood, so it would have been easy for them to travel between there and Hankley.
While doing my research, I was actually quite surprised to learn that Hankley Common has been used for a number of film locations, including an earlier Bond Film, “The World Is Not Enough”. It was even used by Canadian forces to recreate the Atlantic Wall during D-day invasion preparations. I often wonder whether film crews choose locations used by other film crews because they are already familiar with them from some big film location database, or if there is another reason, such as ease of access, ease of acquiring a permit, or another reason that I haven’t thought of, but there are definitely some places that are used time and time again for films. I have made a list of top film locations so that people can go visit them or enjoy spotting them in future movies.
I often get inspiration for my travels by viewing movies and sometimes it can be quite frustrating trying to track down the actual location of the movie and when you finally do, it turns out it was reconstructed in a field or in a studio. Oh well, at least Bond didn’t really blow up a beautiful house after all.
I also found the whole final scenes seemed to be representing old ways vs new ways. Throughout the movie we are reminded of Bond’s and M’s aging, as well as their methods being regarded as antiquated. However, we are reminded that despite the fact we are now in the Information Age, where more and more people are turning to the Internet for their financial futures, Bond and his old methods are still very much a necessity to modern life.