Who decides the action style?

I’ll admit I have fairly limited knowledge on the film industry in general and I’m aware we have some users here like secretagentfan who are very much involved in film making.

My question is who decides the action style of these movies because the intensity and the kind of action we saw in QoS and CR are very different from what we got with SF and SP. I understand the director is not on location when they’re filming these scenes like with what’s going on in Matera right now or what we had with Spectre in Austria. the style of CQC of SF and SP with the angles and the kind of shots were very different from CR and QoS which were more violent and in your face.

It‘s a melange of different influences. Some of it goes back as far as the script stage when a director isn’t necessarily already on board, depending on what set pieces the producers want to include. Then comes the director with their own ideas, when the storyboard already gives away some of how the finished product is going to look. The 2nd unit director gets certain tasks, more or less defined by the director. And finally the entire product is shaped in the cutting room - which can but need not involve the director again.

The short answer is: the style of the action is decided on the go. Or right at the start. Or at the very end.


All I’ll say is that the script isn’t finished until the film is cut. In between, everything is a plan, a hope, a movable feast.


I have to add: the script is finished, but it is never considered as unchangeable. It is constantly changed during the making of the film, and most of the time it´s not the writers who will change it at that time, it´s everybody else.

Hence, if someone criticizes a script he should always refer to the actual written script, never to the film.


SAF points out the saddest part (to me) of film-making today. I.A.L. Diamond co-wrote a dozen movies with Billy Wilder. He was also often credited as Associate Producer on the films. His job was to tell Wilder after every take whether the actors had said the dialogue exactly as written. If they hadn’t, it was another take. The practice drove James Cagney into retirement after ONE, TWO, THREE.

Joseph L. Mankiewicz would go over his scripts with all of this actors, making sure they could say the lines, that they sounded good when spoken, and that the actor felt the dialogue fit her character. After this process, the script was locked–no changes allowed. Bette Davis said that when she received the script for ALL ABOUT EVE she wanted to put it away on a shelf to protect it.

On the other hand, Bette Davis worked with Mary Astor on THE GREAT LIE to rewrite all of their scenes since she felt them to be so poor. The practice drove Edmund Goulding crazy, but as Davis said, it was her, not him, up there on a forty foot tall screen making an ass of herself.

In between was Howard Hawks–the first half of the shooting day was spent rehearsing the script and making any changes (he had his writers on set with him). The second half of the day was spent shooting the scenes. Must have worked: RIO BRAVO; HIS GIRL FRIDAY; I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE; ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS; EL DORADO; BRINGING UP BABY are all signed by Hawks. The great critic and filmmaker Dan Sallitt says that a Howard Hawks film can double as its own “Making of” documentary.


It would be interesting to compile a list of the editors, second-unit directors, and storyboard artists who worked on each Craig film (and each Bond film, if someone has lots of free time!). The changes in personnel would likely coincide with the changes in how the action was filmed and presented. I’m curious for example if there was much change-over between Skyfall and Spectre, since the action in the latter film seems inferior to my eye. I miss the days when you could point to the work of actual individuals in shaping the look and feel of action sequences, the way Hunt and Glen did on OHMSS.


The second unit director of CR, SF Infinity wars and SP are the same, which makes me think that his input is indiscernible.

Similarly the art director for QoS and SP are the same which are two wildly different movies from an artistic stand point

This entire thing had me intrigued as to how they arrive at the end product and hence the thread on this. I’m a huge fan of QOS and CR having watched them about 50 times each while I absolutely hate skyfall and spectre, what puzzled me is that the people who worked behind the scenes in all 4 movies are almost the same

1 Like

You’re correct that many of the team are the same for these movies, in particular the stunt team and visual effects.

I also would include Chris Corbould in this, as he was responsible for a lot of the TWINE Thames boat chase, the tube train crash in Skyfall and the record-breaking explosion in Spectre.


Thing is, it’s a conscious decision to set these films apart in tone and style, simply to avoid accusations of just rehashing one template - the often heard criticism of the Bond series that contains a grain of truth. Current influences are soaked up and iterated through the Bond-lens.

That can backfire sometimes, as in the Matrix style pieces of DAD that just stuck out. But it’s also a way to avoid just delivering a Roman numeral sequel.

For all we know, Eon asked back directors at least since TWINE - or was that TND? I forget… - so they would like to have a certain continuity behind the camera. But the aim is always to deliver something the audience hasn’t seen (in this way; since the one before last, ect…).


I’d also imagine that a director new to the franchise (which is most since the late 90s) actively look for ways to make their run at it stand out stylistically and have their ‘stamp’. It’s a returning crew accommodating the new flavour; the same, but different.

It’s become the norm for the director to bring collaborators, which is good in my book. Maybe it doesn’t always work out (QoS’ editing), but more often it does (Deakins and Newman). So I’m looking forward to the novelties that CJF’s collaborators will bring - I think it’s always worth the gamble.


I think so, too. Also because every Bond film is practically a remake of the first one - and it is the new flavors and the variations to the formula which (should) bring the fun.