Motorcycle Stunt Irks Turks

April 25 2012

The filming of an upcoming James Bond film Skyfall has raised the ire of a Turkish business community according to a report filed by UPI. The controversy that had already surrounded the film recently boiled over when a scene involving a motorcycle stunt went horribly wrong.

Forced to close their businesses for the duration, producers of the Bond flick had financially compensated shop owners in the area who were affected by the filming. However, Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman reported that the payments weren’t enough to quell criticism concerning the film’s use of an historic district in Istanbul known as the Grand Bazaar.

Although some concerns expressed that Turkey would be portrayed in a negative light by the film as being the home of the “bad guy”, most of the complaints pointed out the high risk of damage that such an action film could create.

It turned out that the store owners’ trepidation was justified; during filming a stuntman lost control of the motorcycle he was riding and it crashed through the crystal window of a 330-year-old store. The shop, which was within the Grand Bazaar, had been frequented at one time by members of the Ottoman court.

An incensed shop owner in the area pointed out that the scene involving the motorcycle shouldn’t have taken place on the roof of an historical building. The damage caused by the motorcycle was described as substantial.

Typical of big-budget endeavours, money trumps all. Hasan Fırat, the President of the Grand Bazaar Tradesmen Association, was quoted as having said, “The movie will generate incalculable revenue for our country by advertising Turkey.” He added that every necessary precaution had been taken, and that the use of a motorcycle in this culturally important location had been permitted by the Council of Monuments, the Istanbul Municipality, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

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