A third accident has struck filming of the opening car chase for "Quantum of Solace" on the banks of Lake Garda in Italy...

Production Diary (26)
24th April 2008

A third accident rocked the production of "Quantum of Solace" yesterday (Wednesday 23rd April) as filming the car chase on the banks of Lake Garda took a grave turn. A stuntman was seriously injured in a car crash on a famously winding lakeside road in northern Italy, a local official told AP.

A production official said Aris Comninos, an experienced stunt driver of an Alfa Romeo car, remained hospitalized in serious condition following the accident Wednesday. 40 year-old Mr Comninos, who was playing a villain chasing James Bond's Aston Martin DBS in an Alfa Romeo 159, was cut free from the wreckage and suffered a fractured cranium during the filming of a dramatic 15-minute car chase which opens the movie. A second stunt driver in the same car, Bruno Verdirosi, also was injured but less seriously.

Right: The Alfa was left teetering off the ledge

"Filming with the second unit on 'Quantum of Solace' will be suspended while the accident is investigated," the statement said. It noted that neither director Marc Forster, Daniel Craig nor any other cast members were at the location when the accident occurred. The accident happened after a second Alfa Romeo, carrying two dummies, was steered into a truck by remote control for the scene. Mr Angelus's car collided with a van belonging to one of the crew. As his wrecked vehicle was towed away for examination by police, the second Alfa Romeo remained where it had come to rest, dangling over the edge of the road after smashing through a crash barrier.

It follows an incident earlier this week when an Aston Martin DBS was plunged in the lake, and a smaller accident involving the same two stuntmen on Monday. A week ago there was another calamity when a man on a bicycle who had stopped by the set to watch filming suffered a heart attack and died.

A spokesman for the town of Limone sul Garda, where crew have been filming for the past two weeks, told local press that the Alfa Romeo collided with a lorry and then crashed into a wall during a chase sequence involving a truck and Bond's Aston Martin along the Gardesana, a curvy, two-lane lakeside road with gorgeous panoramas and many tunnels.

A helicopter on standby during the filming flew the seriously injured stunt driver to Borgo Trento hospital in Verona, where he underwent surgery, said town spokesman Marco Girardi, who also was acting as a liaison to the production company.

Above: The second Alfa Romeo that was remote controlled with dummies inside

"He is doing as well as can be expected," said a spokesman for his family. An investigation has been launched into the accident by the Italian authorities. Mr Comninos worked on a previous Bond movie, Tomorrow Never Dies, and has also worked on Saving Private Ryan and The Bourne Ultimatum, for which he won a Screen Actors Guild Award.

"They chose this road because it is full of curves and tunnels. It will give the film a lot of impact," Girardi said. He said that the filming was scheduled to wrap up Wednesday, and that they were in the final hours when the accident occurred.

The two stuntmen had already been to hospital after a previous accident while they were shooting the same scene. One of them was given 15 stitches to his hand but was immediately discharged, according to local Italian newspapers.

Above: The staging area containing the cars used during the shoot

According to The Telegraph, the stunt director of the film's second unit, Gary Powell, was allegedly unhappy with the results of Saturday's shoot and had ordered the sequence to be shot again on Wednesday. The Eon spokesman said suggestions that the film was jinxed were "ridiculous". He said Eon intended to wait for the results of the investigation.

On Thursday, the production company was packing up equipment, including cars, to close the set. Workers and officials refused any comment to an Associated Press photographer.

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Produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli (Eon Productions), QUANTUM OF SOLACE was released in the UK on October 31st 2008 and is directed by Marc Forster. Principal photography started on January 3rd 2008 at Pinewood Studios and around the UK, and foreign locations including Italy, Panama, Chile, Peru and Austria. Paul Haggis completed the script based on a first draft screenplay developed by regular scribes Neal Purvis & Robert Wade, with later polish by Joshua Zetumer. The story is a direct continuation of the events of Casino Royale. 007 faces off against villains Mathieu Amalric (Dominic Greene), Anatole Taubman (Elvis) and Joaquin Cosío (General Medrano). Olga Kurylenko (Camille) and Gemma Arterton (MI6 Agent Fields) play the Bond Girls. Dame Judi Dench (M), Jeffrey Wright (Felix Leiter) and Giancarlo Giannini (Mathis) reprise their roles as Bond's allies. It is British actor Daniel Craig’s second outing as James Bond, following his debut film Casino Royale released November 16th 2006.