Next James Bond at Versailles?

Paris region film commission proposes Versailles as set of next James Bond movie

ByABC News
April 8, 2010, 11:49 AM

PARIS, April 19, 2010 — -- A pursuit in the magnificent park, a rowing duel on the Grand Canal and a spectacular escape by helicopter from the roofs of the palace are among the few scenes imagined by the Paris region Film Commission to try to convince the producers of the multi-million dollar "James Bond" movie franchise to shoot part of the next opus at the 17th century Palace of Versailles near Paris.

"We've sent the producers a storyline with a few suggestions to try to make them come to Versailles," Stephane Martinet, deputy director of the Paris region Film Commission, told ABC News.

The film commission leads an initiative to attract more filmmakers to France, with the lure of scenes shot amid the country's historic landmarks and tax incentives intended to make the filming affordable.

"The work of the commission is to attract as many movie shoots as possible to the Paris region, where 90 percent of shoots in France are already taking place, to create employment in the movie industry, to show to the world France's rich architectural heritage and to boost tourism as well" he added.

The municipality of Versailles, the Palace of Versailles and the direction of the Hotel Trianon Palace nearby are all included in proposal.

The Film Commission is hoping the Bond producers, EON Productions, is willing to open up bank account for the privilege of gracing the Versailles grounds. A shooting day at Versailles costs $21,000, while shooting at a more ordinary French chateau comes up to about $6,000 a day

"I first thought it was a joke as the news came out on April Fool's day," Patrick Lamassoure, managing director of Film France, which oversees 41 French local film commissions, told ABC News. "This initiative is rather audacious. It's unusual for a film commission to go to a movie producers with a [ready-to-shoot story] story. It's usually the producers with a script in hand who go to a film commission looking for example for a location" he explained.

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The Palace of Versailles has been the setting of more than 165 movies, but 007 has never dragged his impeccable suit and high-tech gadgets there. Despite being a real globe trotter, Bond's appearances on French soil have been limited over the past 60 years. In 2006, a memorable car pursuit took the most famous spy to the French Riviera in "Casino Royale."

In 1985's "A View to a Kill," Bond chased a bad guy through the streets of Paris and all the way up the Eiffel Tower, where said bad guy base jumped from the top. In the same opus, the British spy "visited" the Chateau de Chantilly, north of Paris, a moment of big screen glory that still resonates locally.

"The James Bond of Chantilly still fascinates our visitors," Alexis Dequermel, who handles special events at the Chateau de Chantilly, told ABCNews. "A British man recently came to the Chateau with an Aston Martin, Bond's car, to take pictures. The shoot also left excellent memories to the people living in the area."

The Chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte was also used as a set in 1979 in "Moonraker." Other James Bonds were shot in the French Alps or on the French Riviera.