How That Amazing Opening SPECTRE Scene Isn't All It Seems

Those enthralled by that astonishing ‘one-shot’ opening scene from 'SPECTRE’, finding Bond in the thick of it at the Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City, might be surprised to find that it’s not all it seems.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema has revealed that it’s not one shot at all.

“It looks like one take,” he said. “But that was not possible.”

The hard-to-choreograph 'one-shot’, a continuous take following the action, and not cutting away to other cameras, has been popularised in recent years.

It has the unique, immersive ability to bring the audience along with the action on screen.

It was famously used in the Oscar-winning 'Birdman’, and also notably during one celebrated scene in Cary Fukunaga’s first series of 'True Detective’, with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.

In SPECTRE, the action follows Bond as he walks down the street at the parade, into the Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico, across the lobby up to a hotel room and out onto the roof where Bond has a rifle trained on his villain.

“It was a very visceral way for the audience to be sucked into the film,” adds van Hoytema, best known for his award-winning work on 'Interstellar’ and 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’.

“The conventional master shots start big and go in and get more intimate. But we felt it would be so nice to turn it around and suddenly sweep outside, giving it even a bigger scope. That was, of course, very difficult.”

The hotel room, for example, was a set at Pinewood, with various other steadicam and crane shots linked together with 'shrewdly placed wipes’ and a little computer generated assistance, though he adds there were no full CGI shots used.

It has us fooled, that’s for sure.

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Image credits: Sony