He’s down-to-earth, relaxed, and not the Daniel Craig we expected; not the guy who, a few years back, threw a high-profile celebrity strop, swearing blind he’d rather slit his wrists than make another Bond movie.
There’s a good reason for his hang-loose demeanour. This isn’t the Daniel Craig, simply a version of him, the next best thing.
Mark Higgins is a 48-year-old British rally champion turned full-time stunt driver, a job that now includes drifting, doughnuting and body-doubling on behalf of the world’s most famous fictional spy. And that hideous skin affliction? The spots are known in the trade as ‘motion capture’, a digital-dot system placed onto a stunt driver’s face during filming, allowing the actor’s mug to be grafted on later by the CGI team.
“We did use face masks in previous Bonds but they’re hard to get rid of digitally,” says Higgins.
It’s a blisteringly hot morning in the ancient, sandstone-washed city of Matera, southern Italy, back in September 2019. We’re on the set of the forthcoming Bond movie, No Time to Die, having been given super-rare, one-day-only permission to watch how 007 car stunts are stitched together.
Today’s scene, from which Higgins has taken a few minutes away to talk to Wheels, is being shot in a picture-postcard Italian piazza, albeit at a pace that would make some glaciers feel sprightly. It’s a segment that may or may not form part of the franchise’s now-signature, high-octane opening sequence (the production overlords are vague about plot details).
Bond and his iconic 1960s silver birch Aston Martin DB5 have just been chased through the skinny, decidedly car-unfriendly cobbled streets, and are now trapped in the square. The bad guys, one group emerging from an ’80s Range Rover Classic, the others a moody Jaguar XF sedan, are pummelling the Aston’s bodywork with machine-gun fire.
“It’s quite scary when people are coming at you with guns,” says Higgins, now on his fifth Bond outing. “Quite eerie when the bullets are bashing on the windscreen.”
Fortunately for him, and connoisseurs of sacred collectibles the world over, the Aston is 100 percent bulletproof. That’s because the DB5 currently being filmed is no ordinary model. It’s one of eight visually identical replica DB5s commissioned especially for No Time to Die. Built by Aston Martin’s special projects division in conjunction with the movie’s head of stunt cars, Neil Layton, each comes with carbonfibre bodywork and a steel spaceframe chassis. Modern rally suspension, transmission, and modern straight-six 268kW engine are standard, too; proper Q-cars, then.
The Aston rep, however, refuses to reveal the origin of said powerplant, and probably wouldn’t even if one of Bond’s foes put a gun to his head (see sidebar, p70).
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
BRISTLES WITH A BREADTH OF TALENT, IF NOT QUITE TRUE GREATNESS
A LANDMARK EV THAT STANDS AS THE EXCLAMATION POINT IN THE KOREAN BRAND'S COMING-OF-AGE STORY
BRINGS SEXY TO THE PEOPLE-MOVER SEGMENT, BUT DID IT MOVE THE JUDGES?
Porsche Taycan CT
PROOF POSITIVE THAT PORSCHE DNA CAN BE ELECTRIFIED
Car of The Year 2022
EVEN BY COTY’S TRADITIONALLY DIVERSE STANDARDS, THE FIELD FOR THIS YEAR’S EVENT WAS BRILLIANTLY ECLECTIC: 21 CARS SPANNING FROM UNDER $33,000 TO JUST SHY OF $300,000, AND FEATURING A RECORD NUMBER OF ELECTRIFIED MODELS. LET THE BATTLE BEGIN
BRINGS COOL COMPETENCE, BUT WITHOUT ANY SEGMENT BREAKTHROUGHS
DOES SO MUCH SO WELL, UP UNTIL THE PRICE TAG SWINGS INTO VIEW
GR Corolla is GO!
THE MUCH-ANTICIPATED SECOND PHASE OF TOYOTA’S HOT-HATCH ASSAULT IS OFFICIAL, AND IT’LL BE HERE BEFORE THE END OF 2022
A TECH AND EFFICIENCY BLUEPRINT FOR MUNICH’S ELECTRIC FUTURE
COMPACT THREE-POINTED STAR ADVANCES TO THE POINTY END
Great Coin Finds of a Lifetime
Coin Hunts Can Make Any Day a Holiday
Champions of CHANGE
Courage, conviction and a call to action were the order of the day at marie claire's annual International Women's Day
Higgins: Making history this year would top the lot
Convicted fraudster trawling dating sites for unsuspecting victims he can chéat out of their cash
Final UX3000 £120
Short on bling, maybe, but premium sonics at a penny-pinching price is Final’s aim here
Higgins relishing tough times
JOHN HIGGINS insists snooker is enjoying a true golden age – and the standard is the highest it has ever been.
Robertson's in the pink again
JIMMY ROBERTSON stunned John Higgins to reach the semi-finals of the Players Championship – just months after almost falling off tour.
Higgins tribute to Bloody Sunday dead
PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins will today pay tribute to the families of Bloody Sunday victims for their “relentless pursuit of truth”.
DERRY BOSS OWES PAT'S HIS THANKS
Southampton football club's ‘inertia' allowed coach to abuse boys
A PAEDOPHILE was allowed to carry on abusing boys at Southampton FC because bosses failed to act on rumours, a damning review has found.