October 18, 2008

Embera extras in Bond movie

Quantum of Solace:  James Bond returns to Latin America

Cinema-goers should find the backdrops in the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace–in Mexico, Panama and Chile–every bit as spectacular as the stunts. Nigel Richardson reports.In Plaza de Francia, right on the tip of the boot, the white stucco palace housing the Instituto Nacional de Cultura doubled as the Grand Andean Hotel, while those street extras in bowlers were drawn from members of the Embera tribe. They now live in the Canal Zone, eking a living from tourism, but their ancestral land is in the primeval rainforests of Panama's Darien Province, a veritable Heart of Darkness near the border with Colombia, where cocaine traffickers operate with impunity.

When a casting director for Quantum of Solace in Panama approached members of the Embera tribe to play those bowler-hatted extras they did not seem to have heard of James Bond at all. "King Kong! King Kong!" was their first reaction. Then one of them piped up, "Oh, that's the guy who has lots of cars, lots of weapons and lots of women."
Comment:  For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

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