Norwegian scenery is once again flashing across the silver screen, this time in the new James Bond film “No Time to Die” that’s finally been released after a lengthy Corona-related delay. A frozen lake along with coastal and forest scenes all play a role, after location shooting from the hills around Oslo to a highway along the Norwegian Sea.
“It will be exciting to see the opening scenes of the film, because they were shot here,” Oslo politician Omar Samy Gamal told newspaper Dagsavisen just before “No Time to Die” was opening at Norwegian cinemas on Friday.
Gamal is clearly proud that central scenes were shot in the winter of 2019 at a local lake called Langvann in the hills above Nittedal, just north of Oslo, and around another lake, Lutvann, in Oslo’s eastern forest known as Østmarka. Lutvann is also, coincidentally or not for a Bond film, located near the fenced-off headquarters of Norway’s own military intelligence agency E-tjenesten.
Trailers have also shown that other scenes were shot along one of Norway’s National Tourist Roads, the coastal Atlanterhavs highway just south of Kristiansund. Those classic car scenes were shot in June 2019. Newspaper Aftenposten reported this week that the frozen lake scenes in Nittedal became a bit more exciting for the production crew than expected: A short winter characterized by the relatively warm temperatures linked to climate change resulted in the ice over Langvann melting much more quickly than expected.
“A set we’d built began to sink down into the lake,” the film’s American director Cary J Fukunaga, told Aftenposten. He described a race against the clock, with no opportunity to postpone that portion of the filming, “since it was an unusually warm winter.”
Dagsavisen’s own review of the film, based on a pre-release showing, notes that the film “starts up in Nittedal, when the new woman in Bond’s life relives a traumatic childhood experience in Norwegian winter climate.” Others scenes in “No Time to Die” were shot in Italy, Scotland, Jamaica and the Færoe Islands.
Gamal, meanwhile, is among Norwegian politicians supporting incentive funding offered to attract international film and TV projects to Norway. Lots of Mission: Impossible filming has also taken place in Norway, even though some of it ended up being made to look as if the country’s famed mountaintop Preike-stolen is actually in India.
That’s sparked debate over whether the film incentive funding can be justified as a form of tourism marketing. Questions were also raised when even such a presumably well-financed project as a Bond film was granted up to NOK 47 million (around USD 7 million at the time), according to public documents filed under the film’s code name “B25.” The incentive program refunds 25 percent of the cost of filming, equal to Norway’s VAT, which newspaper VG reports amounted to NOK 15 million.
Oslo also has a new “film fund” set up this year, which Gamal defends as a means of creating jobs and developing competence. “Productions like the James Bond film contribute positively to the local production milieu,” Gamal told Dagsavisen. “Through our work to attract such productions to the city, we create activity and demand for local suppliers. Competence and technology that’s made available during the filming process also benefits the entire local film branch, and the whole spectrum of art, culture and business.”
The new Bond film was getting generally good reviews in Norwegian media, with newspaper Aftenposten’s critic Kjetil Lismoen noting how it continues to move beyond the “xenophobic and sexist universe” of earlier Bond films and attempts to give Bond himself a “more complex background and emotional ballast.”
Lismoen was unimpressed with the new Bond bad-guy, however, and claimed the film also has a sense of sadness: It’s actor Daniel Craig’s last appearance as James Bond and, according to Lismoen, marks “a farewell to the outdated world Bond represents.”
It’s premiering in Norway just a week after the Norwegian government finally “reopened” the country after more than 18 months of Corona-related restrictions. Cinema operators were looking forward to the return of crowds of film-goers, and the weather forecast for the weekend was perfect: dark and rainy. It was already pouring in Oslo on Friday.