New Bond film gives ancient Italian town £10m boost

Andy Hayes, news reporter

An ancient Italian town is set to receive a £10m boost after James Bond's vintage Aston Martin screeched around its narrow alleys for the next 007 movie.

Matera, which was first settled in the 10th millennium BC, hosted Bond's trademark silver DB5 as it took tight corners and careered down steps in scenes from No Time To Die.

Motorbikes have been leaping over stone walls, filmed by drones hovering overhead.

It is estimated that the 400-strong film crew, hundreds of extras and a predicted increase in tourism could boost the town's economy by as much as €12m (10.7m), according to the mayor, Raffaello De Ruggieri.

It is an "incredible opportunity", he told The Times.

The centre of Matera is based around cave dwellings, and has been used for biblical films including Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, released in 2004.

Head of the local film board, Ivan Moliterni, said the presence of Daniel Craig and his co-stars showed "we can do James Bond as well as Jesus - we can do action movies as well as costume dramas".

"Matera is over the moon about Bond," he added.

Daniel Craig - said to be in his last outing as the MI6 spy - has been pictured covered in fake blood during filming.

The movie - due in cinemas next April - begins in Jamaica, where Bond is living after leaving active service.

But his old CIA friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) turns up asking for help finding a kidnapped scientist, and Bond is soon on the trail of a mysterious baddie armed with dangerous new technology.

Oscar-winner Rami Malek has been confirmed to play the villain , with Fleabag writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge due to add a bit of comedy magic to the script.

Other new cast members include Captain Marvel star Lashana Lynch and Game Night actor Billy Magnussen, while Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear and Naomie Harris will all reprise their roles.

The title of the new movie was confirmed only last month.

With Craig, 51, due to bow out, former 007 Pierce Brosnan has called for a woman to take on the role of Bond.

Brosnan, who played the spy in four films between 1995 and 2002, said the idea of a female Bond was "exciting" and "exhilarating".

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