Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bonding in Antofagasta

According to Mercopress Noticias, citing the Santiago Times (subscription only), Daniel Craig will arrive in Antofagasta March 24 to begin filming scenes for the new James Bond film Quantum of Solace. Unfortunately, they won't be using the Tocopilla Golf Club, but one location will be the Cerro Paranal Observatory, about 125 km south of Antofagasta (Chile has some of world's most sophisticated astronomical facilities, incidentally, and its southern hemisphere location means, of course, that the skies look very different here).

Another location will be the town of Baquedano, about 80 km northwest of Antofagasta. Baquedano makes an interesting choice because the old nitrate railways ran through here. Its weathered wooden train station, with a roundhouse full of antique locomotives, provides a real ghost town atmosphere ideal for an action movie.

Yet another location, Cobija, is a fishing camp about 130 km north of Antofagasta that was once Bolivia's outlet to the sea. Not much is left there, just some crumbling adobe ruins, but Chilean novelist Hernán Rivera Letelier oddly brought Bond and Bolivia together when he claimed indignantly, in a sensationalist tabloid interview today, that the movie would make Chile look like Bolivia.

UPDATE, March 25: This morning's Santiago daily La Tercera broke through the hysteria by pointing out that, in the Bond film, the several Latin American locations in which filming has taken place will represent one fictionalized country. Nobody need take offense.

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