The Name’s Bond

James Bond. When we decided to come up to Chiang Mai I thought that I might book a rather nice luxury hotel for a few days. Often the hotel chains that are so expensive in Bangkok are much cheaper in other areas like Pattaya and Chiang Mai.  Now November is still supposedly still low season with things gearing up in December ready for the chaos that mass tourism brings in Jan, Feb and Mar.

So imagine my surprise when I was unable to book any of the luxury ones. Indeed finding an hotel has been somewhat of a problem. Instead I booked 4 nights at The Grand Napat and then 4 nights at the Opium intending to pick one for the rest of the stay. Dream on. Both these hotels are full and there is no way to stay at either of them longer than I had booked in early September. That’s why we are off to the jungle and the mountains up by the Burma border for 6 days.

Why ? I have been pondering for sometime why Chiang Mai ? Has the world suddenly discovered it just as we arrived ? No it’s down to this guy .

Actually it isn’t Bond but  Pierce Brosnan that is the trouble. On November 3rd they started filming his new movie called “The Coup” and it is a movie about a family who moves to a fictitious Asian country. In their new overseas home, they soon finds themselves caught in the middle of a coup, and the father frantically looks for a safe escape for his wife and children. This movie involves pyrotechnics, with explosions, gunfire and scenes designed to recreate a war. Prosthetics, fake blood and a large stunt team are being used to create the action scenes. Between November 3rd and December 20th, filming will take place during the day and at night. It is the first time that Chiang Mai has seen such a large – scale film production.

The production company is very busy assuring residents that the Asian country in the film is in fact fictitious and will in no way be presented as Thailand in the movie. However there will be loads of views of the city and so should increase tourism. Mind you given the tourism already here quite a few people might wonder how many more can be squeezed in.

So that explains the hotel shortage. There are hundreds of people here including the stunt boys and girls and all the production team. Young Pierce will be flying in and out as needed as will the other stars Owen Wilson and Lake Bell neither of whom I have to admit I have ever heard of .

Mind you I have, of course, had some fun answering the phone and telling Geraldine it is central casting desperate for me to step into the film instead of that has been ex Bond man Brosnan though for some reason my ” shaken not stirred ” Sean Connery impersonation seems to do nothing for her.  I still think Sean was the best don’t you ?.

So imagine my delight when as trod my lonely treadmill in the gym this morning I was joined on the other treadmill by an American lady. She , of course, dialled up an impossibly high incline setting and then an over the top speed in kilometres which luckily these days I have learned not to try and match. What I do do instead is engage them in conversation which really tests them as they pound on the rubber. But guess what ? she is on the movie. not only that but as I talked and she panted out words in-between gasps for air she said to me  “please come down to casting today ” . I gave her my Roger Moore raised eyebrow look followed up with my Sean Connery impression which clearly left her as cold as it does Geraldine. ” We are desperate for more Europeans for the crowd scenes ” she said.

Crowd scenes with an actor of my ability ? I cancelled my treadmill programme and stomped off to the room. Crowd scenes indeed.

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