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I visit the Location of James Bond’s No Time To Die Villa – Field Report

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 Craig Grobler 0 Comments

We visit the No Time To Die James Bond Villa Location in Port Antonio, Jamaica
We visit the No Time To Die James Bond Villa Location in Port Antonio, Jamaica

The first law for a secret agent is to get his geography right...
     – Ian Fleming - The Man with the Golden Gun, 1965


This week marks the 60th anniversary of the start of Principal shooting on Dr No at Palisades Airport in Kingston, Jamaica, on 16 January 1962.

After my plans for an epic 2020 European related Bond adventure were delayed, I was stoked that some of my late 2021 plans were able to go ahead and I shot into Jamaica, the spiritual home of James Bond and more pointedly the home-away-from-home for Bond creator Ian Fleming. Jamaica is after all where Fleming wrote all of his published James Bond thrillers as well as presumably his originally unpublished Bond TV series treatments; some of which were reworked into his For Your Eyes Only collection of short stories, another 2 have subsequently made their way into Anthony Horowitz's Bond novels and apparently another 3 exist.

Jamaica is referenced across Fleming’s Bond book series and five Bond stories had events taking place in Jamaica. The film versions of Dr No (1962) and Live and Let Die (1973) featured Bond in Jamaica as well as of course most recently Cary Fukunaga’s No Time To Die (2021).


He had arrived at Royale-les-Eaux in time for luncheon two days before. There had been no attempt to contact him and there had been no flicker of curiosity when he had signed the register 'James Bond, Port Maria, Jamaica'.

M had expressed no interest in his cover.

'Once you start to make a set at Le Chiffre at the tables, you'll have had it,' he said. 'But wear a cover that will stick with the general public.'

Bond knew Jamaica well, so he asked to be controlled from there and to pass as a Jamaican plantocrat whose father had made his pile in tobacco and sugar and whose son chose to play it away on the stock markets and in casinos.
     – Ian Fleming Casino Royale, 1953


With this preamble and some time to kill, I managed to visit some Jamaican locations with connections to Ian Fleming and Bond. These places included the “secret” location of James Bond's retirement home as featured in No Time To Die also sometimes referred to as – the James Bond Villa.

The Establishing Shot: Visiting the No Time To Die James Bond Villa Location Port Antonio, Jamaica - No Time To Die Jetty


    Video: Resurrection and hobbies                


James Bond’s return to Jamaica is some kind of homecoming, not only bringing Daniel Craig’s chapter of Bond to an end but full circle back to Bond's cinematic introduction in Terence Young's Dr. No which was mainly set in Jamaica. Jamaica’s role is also a homage to Ian Fleming, his love of Jamaica and the creation of Bond, as well as a nod to previous Bond story elements from the books and film, as the other Daniel Craig era films have done.

    Video: NO TIME TO DIE | Final International Trailer                


Over the second week of May 2019, the Bond production team shot the No Time To Die scenes at James Bond Villa.

These scenes can be unpacked into 3 main chronological points, resuming 5 years after the events in Matera, Italy:

The Establishing Shot: Visiting the No Time To Die James Bond Villa Location Port Antonio, Jamaica - Entering Cocoa Walk Bay


Bond returns home
We see Bond (Daniel Craig) sailing home to the James Bond Villa. Bond alights onto a jetty and immediately notices under the large tree that he has had an unannounced visitor, he looks for the visitor on his grounds and gets ready to go out.

No Time To Die James Bond (Daniel Craig) on pier Jamaica
No Time To Die James Bond (Daniel Craig) on pier Jamaica

 

58 EXT. DECK - BOND’S HOUSE - DAY 58

Bond walks up the dock to his breathtaking water-side house, the fish dangle in one hand, the speargun in the other.

He is visibly relaxed, walking at an island pace. A Bond we’ve never seen before.

He reaches his porch. Stops. Suddenly alert.

He sees discarded CIGAR ASH on the floor. This is not normal.

He slowly places the fish on the deck.


No Time To Die - James Bond (Daniel Craig) searches for an intruder
No Time To Die - James Bond (Daniel Craig) searches for an intruder


Bond hears the call to adventure
Later in the evening, he returns to the Bond Villa with Nomi (Lashana Lynch).

A new day, a new chapter in Bond's life.
The next morning, a pensive Bond is seen on his phone reaching out to M (Ralph Fiennes) for answers before begrudgingly committing to return to action.

No Time To Die - James Bond (Daniel Craig) looks out to the sea from his house



 

The Establishing Shot: Visiting the No Time To Die James Bond Villa Location Port Antonio, Jamaica - Entering Cocoa Walk Bay


Whilst not a villa in the traditional sense, Bond's No Time To Die home fits in very snugly with many of the upmarket villas in the area and indeed all over the Island of Jamaica. No Time To Die’s Bond home is loosely modelled on Ian Fleming's North coast Jamaican villa Goldeneye, which is around 2 hours drive west along the coast to Oracabessa or around 4 hours' sail depending on the wind from James Bond Villa.

No Time To Die Concept Art - Ext. Bond's House - Tim Browning, Digital Illustration
No Time To Die Concept Art - Ext. Bond's House - Tim Browning, Digital Illustration

 

The Establishing Shot: Visiting the No Time To Die James Bond Villa Location Port Antonio, Jamaica - No Time To Die Jetty


No Time To Die Production Designer Mark Tildesley oversaw the design of Bond's home seemingly aiming to merge the indoor-outdoor living and Spartan design ethos that informed Fleming’s design of his Goldeneye home, with the modern eco-boutique luxury elements that Chris Blackwell brought to his modern vision and extension of Fleming’s residence that has made his Goldeneye resort, a 53-acre corner of Jamaica heaven with added reggae and world music ambience. Chuffed to say I jotted some of this down while sitting at Ian Fleming’s desk.

No Time To Die Concept Art - Ext. Bond's House - Mark Tildesley, Pen on Paper
No Time To Die Concept Art - Ext. Bond's House - Mark Tildesley, Pen on Paper

 
The Bond Villa follows Ian Fleming’s amended two building compound layout. The first original concrete building was a low U-shaped structure made of a large living/drawing room with large glassless windows and jalousie blinds at the front, a small adjoining kitchen, shower room and 3 smaller bedrooms/study at the back, with a garden back entrance in between them.

The Establishing Shot: Visiting the No Time To Die James Bond Villa Location Port Antonio, Jamaica - View towards the sea.


To the right (from the seaside) the second structure that presumably housed Fleming’s Goldeneye staff was headed by Ms Violet Cummings and at some time included a garage. In the modern Goldeneye Ian Fleming Villa, this is now a comfortable big-screen media/ Entertainment room.

As we see in No Time To Die, the bachelor Bond Villa is made of two building structures, the first leading on from the wooden jetty we see Bond on, a large open plan living room with step up kitchen and a small wooden deck on the sea. Around the left side an external staircase leads to a roof terrace area.

The Establishing Shot: Visiting the No Time To Die James Bond Villa Location Port Antonio, Jamaica


To the right (from the seaside) along a wooden boardwalk past a rustic mineral pool is the second structure with Bond’s bedroom. Bond’s bedroom features another nod to Fleming with a similarly shaped large glassless window on the right.

It’s barely noticeable in the final cut of the film, but Neal Callow, No Time To Die Art Director, points out that Bond’s bedroom includes a replica of Fleming’s famous writing desk in the left hand corner of the lower entry area of his bedroom.

The Establishing Shot: Visiting the No Time To Die James Bond Villa Location Port Antonio, Jamaica


Beyond his bedroom bungalow, we find Bond’s outdoor bathroom which features a pivotal point in the No Time To Die plot-line.

Bond’s outdoor bathroom is similar to Goldeneye’s Ian Fleming Villa outdoor bathroom which has an impressive set of outdoor bathrooms but with the added comfort of claw foot baths.

The Establishing Shot: Visiting the No Time To Die James Bond Villa Location Port Antonio, Jamaica - Location of James Bond Bedroom Bungalow


However, the similarities are a lot closer to the absolutely stunning outdoor bathroom at the Goldeneye FieldSpa as indeed is the design of the gorgeous FieldSpa constructed with natural materials and located on the emerald Goldeneye Lagoon as closer than Bond’s Villa is to the sea. These design elements are echoed in the Lagoon Villas at Goldeneye.

These days Goldeneye’s Ian Fleming Villa is substantially more luxurious than Fleming’s original design. This includes the interiors, when Blackwell undertook a redesign and update Designer Linda Garland, with oversight from Blanche Blackwell (Chris’ mother and partner of Fleming) to ensure that the villa maintained Fleming’s authenticity. Along with some of Fleming’s original pieces including his famous reddish Bulletwood or Blue Mahoe wood (the national tree of Jamaica) writing desk, interiors were decorated with sustainable bamboo pieces created by Indonesian artists.

The Establishing Shot: Visiting the No Time To Die James Bond Villa Location Port Antonio, Jamaica


For James Bond’s Villa, No Time To Die Set Decorator Véronique Melery filled Bond’s home with wood and natural materials using an earthy palette, with most pieces made by local artisans.

Sadly Bond’s Villa is movie magic and a temporary structure created for the filming of No Time To Die. After filming it was deconstructed. But the fantastical location of Bond’s home is very real.

    Video: No Time To Die | A Look At Bond's Custom Jamaican Home | Behind the Scenes                


Bond’s Villa was located on the North East coast of Jamaica within the current Jamaican Covid or Resilient Corridor in Portland Parish, just to the east of former boom town and jet-set hangout - Port Antonio or Portie, on a private estate in the corner of an inlet called Cocoa Walk Bay.

Port Antonio features in Ian Fleming’s short Bond story For Your Eyes Only (1960) and for No Time To Die scenes shot there included; Bond driving his Land Rover, meeting with Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) and Logan Ash (Billy Magnussen), having a bite to eat and bumping into Nomi.

Bond docking his yacht in Santiago, Cuba alongside Nomi, Bond and Valdo Obruchev (David Dencik) stealing Nomi’s seaplane and the location of the boat where Bond & Obruchev meet with Leiter and Ash ending with large explosions.

Cocoa Walk Bay is found between the two jutting capes on the seaside left the fairly recognisable fauna of Burnetts Point and on the right Frenchman's Cove peninsula ending at Keyhole Rock and Cannon Cliff.

After spending a little time on the North coast of Jamaica I can say Portland Parish stands out as an absolutely gorgeous lush paradise with emerald greens and deep hues of blue defining the nature in the area. If Jamaica interests you, visit it now before it becomes too touristy.

    The Establishing Shot: I visit the Location of James Bond’s No Time To Die Villa – Field Report    


In my video, we enter Cocoa Walk Bay. Heading towards the Bond Villa jetty. The jetty is real, but as with James Bond’s Spirit yacht, it was dressed up and the neglected concrete was covered with wood to make the picturesque jetty throughout the grounds as we see in the film.

The Bond Villa location is on private land so a visit to the spot is rare and I suspect will become increasingly so.

But if you were looking for on-the-ground trusted local intelligence worth its weight in gold, you could head to the small boat port at the Blue Lagoon at the end of Blue Hole Road and ask for Benton (https://www.instagram.com/captain_benton_king/) or El Paso Blue Lagoon Tours (https://www.instagram.com/elpasotours876/).

Having used his tour services I personally recommend Jerome at El Paso; he is a Rastafarian who went above and beyond our expectations. He certainly made our day memorable and his insight and good vibes only attitude was one of the highlights of our time in Jamaica. Guys like Jerome are the future of Jamaica.

Also, it is probably worth noting, despite the enduring local legend, neither The Blue Lagoon (1980) or French Connection (1971) shot scenes in Jamaica.

Or you can stay at the Geejam Hotel whose beach area and water activity area is located halfway along Burnetts Point and within a kayak or swim. I swapped multiple emails with their team about having lunch at their famous Bushbar restaurant and they were the most responsive and helpful team I dealt with before arriving in JamaicaGeejam is also where Daniel Craig stayed after injuring his ankle whilst filming because of its close proximity to the shooting location.

Whilst in Portland Parish I managed to visit and recommend:

     – the incredible Blue Lagoon, despite the gaslighting on site it’s free to enter the Blue Lagoon – do your research on how to get access as it can be very tricky and parking can be an adventure all of its own).
     – the nearby Turtle Sanctuary by boat
     – the stunning and world-renowned Frenchman’s Cove Beach as featured in James Mangold's Tom Cruise & Cameron Diaz starrer Knight and Day (2010).

The Jamaican scenes for Roger Donaldson’s Cocktail (1988) where Tom Cruise's character Brian Flanagan works at the beach bar and meets Elisabeth Shue’s character were actually filmed a couple of coves east at Salt Creek Bay at the now derelict Dragon Bay Hotel. I did visit and the old ruined hotel is very picturesque.

We also got up close to Pellew Island aka Monkey Island, Errol Flynn's Navy Island and stopped at Piggy’s Jerk Centre (as presented by a particularly moody Anthony Bourdain in an episode of Parts Unknown and No Time To Die) for some local Jerk Chicken - despite the name, pork is not served here. I recommend arriving early as from what I can ascertain meals are prepared in the morning and as the day goes on slowly dry out. Apparently, Piggy’s burnt down and Daniel Craig helped with contributions to have it rebuilt.

Other places I had earmarked to visit but didn’t get a chance to, included:

     – San San Beach
     – Boston Beach
     – Winnifred Beach as featured in Harold Ramis' slapstick Club Paradise (1986) starring amongst others: Robin Williams, Peter O'Toole, Rick Moranis, Jimmy Cliff, Twiggy, Eugene Levy, Joanna Cassidy and Brian Doyle-Murray.
     – Stopping for a bite to eat at Cynthia’s on Winifred as recommended by Anthony Bourdain in the aforementioned episode of Parts Unknown and heartily endorsed by Jerome from El Paso Blue Lagoon Tours.
     – Or Anna Banana aka Wi Yard Anna Banana
     – Or the world-famous Boston Jerk Centre
     – Visit the Folly Ruins
     – Free dive Claudia Comte's underwater Sculpture Park (Cacti Series) garden at the Alligator Head Foundation East Portland Fish Sanctuary.
     – Rafting on the Rio Grande
     – Visit Reach Waterfalls and Jump the Rabbit Hole.



Never say 'no' to adventures. Always say 'yes,' otherwise you'll lead a very dull life.
     – Ian Fleming - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 1964

All images are © 2021 Danjaq, LLC and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., No Time To Die and related James Bond Indicia © Danjaq, LLC and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. 


In No Time To Die, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.


No Time To Die Poster
No Time To Die Poster



More about The Ian Fleming Villa at Goldeneye can be found here: https://www.theflemingvilla.com/
More about No Time To Die can be found here: https://007store.com/collections/james-bond-films
https://www.geejamhotel.com/
https://frenchmanscove.com/
https://www.instagram.com/elpasotours876/
https://www.instagram.com/captain_benton_king/


THE ESTABLISHING SHOT:  I VISIT THE LOCATION OF JAMES BOND’S NO TIME TO DIE VILLA – FIELD REPORT

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