The astoundingly fleet and nimble bomb maker Mollaka, whom Bond pursues through the Nambutu Embassy, is played by Sébastien Foucan, the co-creator and one of the foremost practitioners in the art of Parkour. Also known as “Free Running,” Parkour first came to the attention of the U.K. public in 2003, when the BBC broadcast a promo featuring a man running, vaulting and jumping over objects in his haste to get home to watch TV. It was later featured in the French futuristic police action thriller District 13 starring David Belle, Foucan’s childhood friend and Parkour co-creator.
Based on the French word parcours, or obstacle, Parkour emphasizes the use of obstacles in the environment as props to help the runner move swiftly across the terrain. “It’s not just about running and jumping,” says Foucan. “It’s about adapting yourself within your environment to overcome barriers to your physical progress. It’s all about free-flowing movement. My character’s skill is that he can move swiftly to escape from Bond, so we tried to find a way to move fast and efficiently rather than do stunt tricks.”
Foucan, who often spends six or seven hours practicing Parkour on a special circuit in his hometown in France, adapted easily to the rigors of shooting CASINO ROYALE. Still, he appreciated the dramatic tips he received from star Daniel Craig.
“Daniel was very helpful, giving me advice about acting with cameras. Although he doesn’t practice Parkour, he is very strong and finds it easy to run and chase. We spent three months working on this sequence which will be on screen for maybe five minutes, but I hope it will be an intense five minutes that people will enjoy.”
Parkour takes its inspiration from acrobatics, dance, martial arts and popular art forms including cinema and comic books, but it also owes a debt to ancient Asian schools of thought, says Foucan. “Without philosophy, action has no meaning. Life is made of obstacles and challenges. To overcome them is to progress.”