He provided a whole load of Fiats for the rest of the film though. And when we stopped the whole center of the town for a great big scene, we were able to block off all of the entrances to the main square with our trucks and the police let it happen, because he had said so. He owned the town, there wasn’t much question about that.
How long did it take to shoot the whole Mini chase?
I think we probably spent six weeks in total on all of the different elements of the chase. There were lots of little parts like the driving down the steps of the wedding and the gallery scene.
And the sewer scene wasn’t actually shot in Turin, is that right?
That’s right, it was actually shot in Coventry. It was a new sewer though I’m happy to say.
In fact, at the moment they’re trying to wangle us to get up to Coventry because they want to put up a plaque in commemoration of this sewer use.
Unfortunately, of course, the twist didn’t work because the sewer was just a little bit too narrow. Our stunt driver and coordinator Rémy Julienne was trying to do a complete turn but he could only get up so far.
People must have thought you were mad to include that huge jump between the two roofs?
Well I wasn’t mad, Rémy who did it was mad. But he was a brilliant man, he knew exactly what he was doing. A lot of the stunts in the movie he came up with and we just shot them.
If the jump and his calculations didn’t work then he’d soon find out, and it’d be expensive. But they got the right speed, even if they did go much further than they needed to—which was sensible.
I was bothered though because if somebody did get hurt, as the employer I would be regarded as responsible. So, I had a car round the corner, which was provided by Fiat, and a plane waiting at Turin airport.
If it had gone splat I’d have been out of there and back in London to discuss it rather than in an Italian jail. Thank god we never had to do it twice—although whatever happened it was always going to be one take.
And so, we’re sorry to do this to you, but what did you think of the 2003 remake of your film?
No no, it was awful. In the first reel Donald Sutherland got machine-gunned to death—that’s not The Italian Job. Why bother?
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.