Questions, protests fly over Bond film

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Norwegian environmentalists have been both shaken and stirred into action by the prospect of a new James Bond film being shot in the usually quiet hills and forests of Nordmarka, just north of Oslo. They don’t like how production crews are already cordoning off areas usually open to skiers, and constructing a wooden building that may be blown up  during filming.

Film crews are expected to start shooting the new James Bond movie close to this trail intersection at Trehørningen, in the forest north of Oslo. PHOTO: Markadatabasen/Lars Kristian Bjørlow

The local newspaper in the area, Varingen, has already reported that Bond producers have obtained a license to at least film in the local forests known as marka, which normally are subject to firm traffic and building restrictions. It seems the rules have been eased, in order to accommodate the teams behind the next 007-film starring Daniel Craig.

The film project comes at a time when Norway is keen to be used as a film location, and not long after the latest “Mission: Impossible” movie starring Tom Cruise was filmed on Norway’s spectacular mountaintop known as Preikestolen.

Secrecy prevailed
Newspaper Aftenposten reported this week that the hush-hush Bond film project was only revealed after environmentalists started asking questions and filing protests over the construction projects and other bursts of activity spotted around Trehørningen, normally a placid area featuring lakes, hills and forests not far from the communities of Hakadal and Nittedal north of Oslo.

The filmmakers clearly secured cooperation and confidentiality from local authorities and necessary local partners including local skiing association Skiforeningen, which reportedly moved a ski trail to steer skiers away from the alleged film site, and forestry firm Løvenskiold, which owns much of the land in the area. Løvenskiold is believed to have leased out land and cabins to those behind “B25,” a film project that has secured NOK 47 million (around USD 5.5 million) in public support from the Norwegian state film institute. Otherwise known as “Bond 25,” it’s the latest James Bond movie (and the 25th in the Bond series) due for release in early 2020.

All involved were sworn to silence, to prevent any early release of photos from the film project. Trekkers who regularly hike and ski in the area, however, reacted negatively to large areas of the nature being cleared of snow, hundreds of logs laid down in an area expected to be used as a parking lot for heavy vehicles, the presence of mysterious security guards keeping locals away from the site and, ultimately, construction of the large cabin near the marsh at Langvann, one of the local lakes. A local law known as markaloven is supposed to prohibit construction of any kind within forest boundaries.

‘Kind of fun’
Environment-conscious Norwegians filed protests against such a project well within marka’s borders, but their questions and complaints were initially met by only by a firm “no comment” from officials in Nittedal. Now local officials for Akershus County promise all traces of the film crew will be gone by springtime, when their shooting is concluded.

On Friday the local officials confirmed that a film would be shot around the newly built cabin at Langvann. Aftenposten reported that employees of “True North,” a film production company responsible for “Bond 25,” had been staying in the area. A press briefing on the new Bond film is scheduled in London for March 4.

Filming is reportedly due to begin in March, with Aase Marie Løkken, who’s lived in an historic wooden house in the area for 32 years, acting as unofficial hostess. Her barn has been rented out to the film team, which is using Trehørningen as its base. “I expect they’ll have camping vans and tents on the property,” she told Aftenposten.

“This will be kind of fun,” Løkken, age 81, told Aftenposten. “But I haven’t said anything to anyone, outside of the family.” She’s never seen a Bond film and understands little English, but expects the film crew will “have some Norwegian assistants with them.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund