No Time to Die: Jessica Hawkins on what it's like to be a James Bond stunt driver

Jess Hawkins

The long-awaited 25th instalment of the James Bond series has finally hit cinemas around the world.

Daniel Craig makes his final appearance as 007 and despite his character supposedly enjoying retirement, Bond is pulled back into the action once more in 'No Time to Die'.

But who is behind the dramatic scenes and the jaw-dropping stunts the famous spy always gets himself involved in?

Racing driver Jessica Hawkins was part of the 'No Time to Die' stunt team who delivered the exhilarating car scenes.

Hawkins sat down with GiveMeSport Women to discuss life behind the scenes on a James Bond film set and how she became a stunt driver for one of the biggest movie franchises in the world.

Driving background 

The 26-year-old has an extremely impressive CV – as well as her role on 'No Time to Die', Hawkins currently races in the W Series and is a driver ambassador for Formula 1 team Aston Martin.

The Brit's first stunt driving position was on the Fast and Furious Live shows, a period in her life that  massively shaped her career moving forward.

W Series British drivers

“A friend of mine had tagged me in a Facebook post that said they were looking for a female with good car control," Hawkins explained. "So I sent my CV in and I ended up getting the job for Fast and Furious Live.

"I then had three months of intensive training, preparing for the shows… Then we went and travelled Europe, performing at places like the O2 arena and selling them out.

"It really was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I’m pretty sure it always will be."

Fast and Furious Live

The W Series driver went on to explain the process of the training, including creating mock ups of the arena during outdoor sessions. 

"We started learning the routines, driving with the other drivers and just learning the choreography of what we were going to be doing in the shows, which took a long time.

"We started off training in a few of the not so good cars and then we went into the show cars."

Jess Hawkins W Series

Hawkins described her time on Fast and Furious Live as "the best training I could have had" due to the high demand for flawless performances in front of a live audience.

James Bond: No Time to Die

'No Time to Die' was Hawkins' first role on a film set as a stunt driver and certainly an era in her life that she'll never forget.

"It was amazing – Bond was my first movie but the problem is now that I don’t think I’ll be able to top 007," she said. 

Jess Hawkins

Hawkins then compared her time on Fast and Furious Live to shooting behind the scenes of a blockbuster film. Despite not having a live audience present, shooting the movie still brought enormous pressure.

“You have to have different camera angles so there’s still no room for error. Maybe there’s a little bit more growth in the movie rather than a live show but you can’t get it wrong either way.”

Hawkins enjoyed driving the new 2020 Land Rover Defender model to pull off some of the thrilling stunts seen in cinemas over the last week. 

She then talked us through a typical day on the set of a James Bond movie.

"First of all you get in and go to hair and makeup which can take quite a long time if you’re doubling another character. Then you would have some breakfast on set and be spoken through what’s going to happen that day.

"You then go into those different scenes and you can be busy for a few hours and then not have anything on for a few hours, it depends really. They’re long days but they’re rewarding."

The 25th instalment of the Bond franchise hit the cinemas on September 30th and has earned an 82 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.7 out of 10 on IMDB.

Hawkins admitted she has already been to see 'No Time to Die' twice and is still pinching herself when reflecting on the involvement she played in the production.

Jess Hawkins

"It was actually really quite emotional, you know. I really was a tiny part of the massive operation and I’m proud that I was able to play just a small part in that.

"It looks just as good on set as it does on the screen. All of the stunts are real, it’s not like we’re showing something that isn’t there so it was great to experience it in real life."

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