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007 Crew Films in Iceland

March 13, 2002

HOEFN, Iceland (AP) _ No snow. No 007.

No matter.

A film crew moved trees, flew in some snow, and got on with work this week on the next James Bond movie, ``Die Another Day.″

Star Pierce Brosnan was recovering from knee surgery and couldn’t make it. He was injured a few weeks ago during filming of a hovercraft stunt scene.

``I wanted Pierce to be here, but we couldn’t get him,″ said second unit director Vic Armstrong, adding that images of Brosnan filmed back in England could be inserted into the Icelandic scenes later.

Roughly 200 crew members were shooting at the dramatic Joekulsarlon glacial lagoon in southeast Iceland for a five-minute chase sequence in the 20th Bond film.

``It’s the climax to the middle of the movie. Bond is being chased and he must escape to save Halle Berry from the Ice Palace that’s about to sink,″ said Armstrong, who also worked on Bond films ``Tomorrow Never Dies″ and ``The World is Not Enough.″

``It’s the scene with all the guns and gadgets.″

In ``Die Another Day,″ set for release Nov. 22, the villain’s henchman, Zao (Rick Yune), lives in Iceland.

The chase involves a convertible green Jaguar and a gray Aston Martin racing across the frozen lagoon with turquoise icebergs as obstacles. The eight cars used in production were modified to drive on ice.

Armstrong said he aims to ``keep the cars flowing, spinning. It will be like a ballet.″

Joekulsarlon is on the edge of the Vatnajokull glacier, the world’s third-largest ice cap. The lagoon, 240 miles from Reykjavik, was formed mostly after 1950 when the glacier began receding. It is about 330 feet deep in places, and is one of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions. It has appeared in numerous films, including the Bond film ``A View to a Kill″ and last year’s ``Tomb Raider.″

Ice on the lagoon must be at least a foot thick to support the crew and cars. To strengthen it, the filmmakers blocked the inlet to keep out warmer sea water.

``We hired two bulldozers and dammed the enclosure using only natural materials,″ says Leifur Dagfinnsson, unit manager. ``We basically enhanced what nature does every year.″

Nature also failed to oblige the film’s need for snow in a scene set in a forest. So the action was moved to a glacier, snow was flown in, and a forest was manufactured from 225 Norway spruce taken from the Hallormsstadur National Forest in eastern Iceland.

Iceland has few trees _ woodlands cover just 1.3 percent of the land _ but Throestur Eysteinsson, general director of the Forestry Service, said the sacrifice caused no pain.

``The trees were mainly the small young ones and needed to be thinned out of the stands,″ he said.

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