Javier Bardem's Skyfall Island Lair Actually Exists

Evil Bond-villain lairs: They actually exist!

We’ve spent so much time covering Sam Mendes’ excellent Skyfall -- from Daniel Craig’s confident return as 007 to Javier Bardem’s scene-stealing turn as the villainous Silva -- that virtually no one has discussed that remote, bombed-out island Bardem’s character used as his base. Severine (Berenice Marlohe) explains that the power monger spread rumors of a chemical leak on the island, evacuating the residents and leaving him the lair. According to Yahoo’s UK Movies site, that’s a fairly accurate retelling of what happened on the actual island Mendes was inspired by.

While the area was rebuilt at Pinewood Studios for the shooting of Skyfall, the island of Gunkanjima, a nickname for Hashima Island that stands for “Battleship Island,” does actually exist. It is located nine miles off of the coast of Nagasaki, and prospered in the 1950s due to the presence of coal and the Mitsubishi company. But as the site says, Mitsubishi eventually abandoned the island when petroleum “took over as Japan’s fuel choice,” decimating the island city and leaving it to decay. Cinematographer Roger Deakins and his cameras were able to make it beautiful, but as a real-life area it kind of sucks.

Those shots, posted to the UK Yahoo site, were taken by blogger Gakuranman, showing that the place really hasn’t been touched since it was deserted. And given the fact that Bardem’s character does some dastardly things in the lair, don’t expect tourists to turn it into a Skyfall destination spot. But there have to be other films – zombie thrillers or apocalyptic dramas – that can put this location to good use, right?

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.