Moviemaking is a fascinating process, it really is. The business of bringing fictional life to life is a challenging one, and it often requires crew members to get creative with tricks and techniques they use. Some of those tricks are ones they come up with to address a specific problem in one shoot. Others are standard industry techniques, and those are the ones that are, to me, always the most interesting to learn about.
One of those long-used tricks was revealed by No Time to Die stunt coordinator Lee Morrison. Motorcycle stunts have long been a part of the James Bond franchise, particularly during the Daniel Craig era, where he seems to spend as much time chasing bad guys on a motorcycle as he does in a high-end sports car. As Morrison told Total Film, there’s a secret weapon stunt coordinators use when shooting a motorcycle stunt: Coke. Lots and lots of Coke.
Motorcycle stunt sequences are usually fairly straightforward, but still, they can be extremely dangerous. This was reiterated during the filming of Deadpool 2 when stuntperson Joi Harris was killed after flipping off a motorcycle during a stunt. Milla Jovovich’s stunt double for Resident Evil: The Last Chapter, Olivia Jackson, suffered a devastating injury during a motorcycle stunt that required her to be put into a medical coma and have her arm amputated. So, yeah. It can be extremely dangerous.
So how does Coke fit in? According to Morrison, it’s an old trick used in motorcycle stunts because it makes the surface of the pavement sticky and enables a motorcycle’s wheels to have better traction and grip. When a stunt person is making a 25-foot jump going 60 miles an hour, you want to give them every safety edge you can think of, so Morrison used it every time. That added up to a lot of soda being used on Italian streets. “I spent nearly €60,000 spraying Coca-Cola around Matera,” Morrison laughed. “I’ve been spraying Coca-Cola on slippery surfaces for a very long time.” 60,000 euros is the equivalent of almost $71,000, which is a heck of a lot to spend on soda. But then, he used a heck of a lot – roughly 8,400 gallons worth.
Lest you wonder if Italian authorities got mad at the James Bond production for gumming up their streets with thousands of gallons of sugary drink, no worries. Morrison also explained there’s an added benefit of using Coke for stunts: “Coca-Cola makes things look very clean after it washes off.”
Which, when you think about it…yeah. That makes sense. Thanks to the phosphoric acid in Coke making it slightly acidic, it’s often been used as a way to clean everything from corroded car batteries to removing grease stains from clothes. I guess providing one more safety measure for stuntpeople on movie sets is just one more unexpected use of Coca-Cola.
No Time To Die will be in theaters April 2, 2021.