Agent Cody Banks : Production Notes
Save the world. Pass Math. Get the girl.
Cody Banks (Frankie Muniz) seems like a typical teenager – he loves skateboarding, hates math, his mom drives him crazy, and he feels like a complete idiot around girls. But Cody has a really big secret even his family and best friends don’t know: he’s actually an elite undercover agent for the CIA.
Cody is living every kid’s dream life. Specially trained at a top-secret facility disguised as summer camp, Cody can drive like a stuntman, jump-kick like a pro, and has an arsenal of totally cool gadgets – plus, his boss is the unbelievably hot Agent Ronica Miles (Angie Harmon). But when he gets his first assignment, Cody discovers he has to befriend high school dreamgirl Natalie Connors (Hilary Duff) in order to spy on her father, a scientist developing a deadly fleet of Nanobots with the power to destroy the planet. The problem? The CIA spent $10 million training Cody, but they didn’t teach him how to talk to girls.
Packed with effects and elaborate stunts, Agent Cody Banks chronicles Cody’s adventures as he navigates the dangerous, high-tech world of international spy work while also doing his chores to avoid getting grounded. From car and snowmobile chases to walking on the ceiling with modified shoes and infiltrating hidden laboratories, Cody has to use all his training to save the world. .. and maybe get the girl.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures presents a Splendid Pictures, Maverick Films, and Dylan Sellers production of Agent Cody Banks, starring Frankie Muniz, Hilary Duff, and Angie Harmon. Directed by Harald Zwart, Agent Cody Banks also stars Keith David, Cynthia Stevenson, Arnold Vosloo, and Ian McShane. The screenplay is by Ashley Edward Miller &Zack Stentz and Scott Alexander &Larry Karaszewski from a story by Jeffrey Jurgensen. Produced by Dylan Sellers and David C. Glasser, Andreas Klein, Guy Oseary and David Nicksay, the production team includes director of photography Denis Crossan, production designer Rusty Smith, editor Jim Miller, costume designer Suzanne McCabe, music supervisor Julianne Jordan, and composer John Powell. Mark Morgan, Jason Alexander, Jennifer Birchfield-Eick, Kerry David, Danny Gold, Michael Jackman, Madonna, and Bob Yari were executive producers.
Starting the Mission
Producer Dylan Sellers was entranced by the unique concept behind Agent Cody Banks. “What captured my interest,” says Sellers, “was the idea of a teenage secret agent who had actually been trained by the CIA of the United States, not some made-up organization. I hadn’t seen that before. ” When Sellers learned Frankie Muniz had already expressed early interest in the project, he knew the idea was a winner. Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated Muniz is one of the most respected young actors in entertainment, and Sellers knew he’d be perfect in Cody’s spy shoes. He just had to put all the pieces together.
Sellers approached MGM with the project, and MGM agreed it sounded like a winning proposition. They also knew they’d have to move quickly to get Muniz’s participation before he was obligated to return to the set of Malcolm in the Middle. Necessarily, things moved very quickly from that point on.
Sellers hired Harald Zwart to direct as the result of a rather unusual pitch. “Zwart’s agent, Nick Reed at ICM, sent me a commercial reel,” says Sellers. “He said, ‘I’ll bet you $100 you can’t guess what one of these commercials is for until the end placement of the product. ‘ I watched every commercial and he was right. I loved them. They were funny, visual, and really great. ” Discussing the project, Sellers and Zwart found they shared the same excited vision for the film, and Sellers knew they’d found the right person to man the director’s chair.
The next step was to hire a great producer who could run the movie’s day-to-day activity. Having worked with him successfully on previous projects, MGM recommended David Nicksay. “I’d never worked with him,” says Sellers, “but I knew him. He’s fantastic. ” With that team in place, they began to hire the rest of the cast and crew. “I’ve never worked on a movie that came together more quickly or perfectly,” says Sellers.
Producer Nicksay says the film was so appealing to cast and crew simply because it was so much fun. “Every kid loves the idea of being a secret agent,” he says. “Our own inner children wanted to be in this movie, so we were all drawn to working on it. It speaks to all of us – we all want to beat the bad guys and save the world. When Cody goes from being a regular teen to defeating evil and saving civilization, it’s really our dreams that come true. ”
What about Agent Cody Banks himself? Frankie Muniz saw the film as an opportunity to move to another level in his career while doing something new and exciting. “I knew it would be really cool,” he says. “I’d never done a big action character. I saw The Bourne Identity, and Matt Damon has all these fight scenes where he beats up bad guys – I kept thinking, ‘Wow, that’s so awesome! I’ll be doing those moves in Agent Cody Banks. ‘ Helping girls, saving the world, cool cars and gadgets – it’s all pretty awesome. ”
It was actually a suggestion from Dylan Seller’s 8-year-old daughter Natalie that led to casting Hilary Duff as Muniz’s young co-star. “I told her about the movie,” says Sellers, “and she said, ‘You’ve just got to get Lizzie McGuire. Dad, she’s perfect!'” As a reward for his daughter’s contribution, Sellers changed the name of the young heroine to Natalie.
Popular Lizzie McGuire star Duff first heard about Agent Cody Banks from Frankie Muniz when he was guest-starring on her show. “Frankie was telling me about this really cool teenage spy action movie he was going to do,” she says. “It sounded pretty exciting. Then my manager called about a week later and said there was a great part in this teenage James Bond movie and he thought I would be really cool in it. When I read the script, I just begged – please let me do it! I want to do it so much!”
Angie Harmon was added to the cast as Cody’s fierce agency mentor, Ronica Miles. “Zwart called up and said, ‘I’ve seen this tape on Angie, she’s got the humor, and I have to have her for this movie,'” Sellers says. “He knew what he wanted. Harald insisted, ‘You’ll have nothing if you don’t get someone who can deliver those lines. ‘” The filmmakers knew Harmon had a wonderful mix of intelligence, beauty, athletic ability, and a very strong presence – as well as a twinkle in her eye. “Angie really gives the film a spark,” says Zwart.
Producer Nicksay sums up the creative strategy behind the casting choices by saying, “We wanted to assemble really strong actors, really distinct types, so when you see the whole picture you get a great variety. The incredible boldness of Ian McShane as the bad guy blended with the beauty of Angie Harmon as the CIA mentor. The comedic and dramatic chops that Frankie brings to the central role. The charm of Hilary, the goofy, out-of-place dad played by Martin Donovan, and the menace and power Arnold Vosloo represents as the physical villain, Francois Molay. It really makes a good package when you put it all together. ”
An Elite Group of Agents
Agent Cody Banks had a great concept and script in place from the beginning, but each actor’s particular take on their character adds immeasurably to the final product. In the case of Frankie Muniz, the young actor was very taken with the concept of transforming from an ordinary kid into a superhero.
“Cody Banks is just a normal guy to start with,” Muniz says. “He skateboards and goes to school. He went away to a camp where he was trained by the CIA when he was younger, and his parents and friends don’t know anything about it.
“Then one day he gets called up by the CIA and has this mission to do: he has to save the world. He’s really excited, but his mission is to get to know this girl and have this girl like him – and Cody has never even had a girl look at him before. He always ruins it by never knowing what to say, and he can’t tell a girl how he feels. He has no idea how he’s going to get friendly with this girl, but he has to find a way. ”
Director Zwart says Frankie’s dilemma is one all teenage boys can relate to. “Cody can drive cars, he can fly helicopters, he can fight – he can do anything,” he says. “But the only thing he’s not good at is talking to girls, and that’s something you can’t learn. It’s something you either have or you don’t. ”
Hilary Duff talks about the initial interaction between her character and Cody. “Natalie is a normal 14-year-old girl,” says Duff. “When she first meets Cody, he gets shy and starts stuttering and asking really dumb questions. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. ” Later, of course, Natalie realizes Cody is actually pretty great. “At one point,” says Duff, “Natalie says, ‘Cody, you make a really bad first impression, and a really terrible second impression, but the third time is kind of nice. ‘”
Duff says her character’s life is divided between two different worlds. “She cooks and cleans and helps do all that stuff for her dad at home. She worries he works too much and she doesn’t get to spend enough time with him. But then she has a really good life at school. She has friends and is pretty confident. ”
It quickly became evident during filming that the two young stars had an excellent grasp of the development of their characters, and they were able to create a very believable on-screen relationship. Zwart was particularly impressed with Frankie’s ability to handle the complexity of his role. “Cody has a quadruple life,” says Zwart. “He pretends to Natalie that he’s a normal kid. He pretends to the CIA that he’s in control of everything. Then he actually starts to fall in love with this girl. And at home he’s trying conceal the fact he’s a secret agent. There are quite a few levels to Frankie’s performance, and he’s great at juggling all those things. ”
Zwart is equally enthusiastic in describing Duff’s on-screen presence and charming off-screen personality. “Hilary is a star,” Zwart says. “When she’s on the screen, she’s radiant. It’s easy to understand why Cody goes through everything just to rescue her. She has a great sense of humor and just has a great warmth and beauty. ”
Cody gets his assignment from the CIA and is introduced to Ronica Miles, the agent sent to be his mentor, played by Angie Harmon. When Cody first meets Ronica, the stunning woman coolly walks into the boy’s locker room and whisks him away. “Imagine being humiliated in school, feeling your lowest, and suddenly the door opens and into your life comes an incredibly attractive, powerful, significant woman,” says Nicksay. “Dark glasses, dark hair, tight outfit, and all she says is basically, ‘Come with me. ‘ What 15-year-old boy wouldn’t be blown away? Cody’s whole life changes in that moment. ”
As amazing as she is, Ronica is initially a daunting character for the teen agent – mainly because she has a less-than-enthusiastic response to her latest assignment. “Ronica has some anger management issues she hasn’t addressed yet,” laughs Harmon. “She’s being punished by the CIA, and that’s why she’s put in charge of Cody Banks. She’s incredibly bitter and incredibly angry, and she’s very self-centered. ”
Harmon had a great deal of fun with the role during filming, appreciating the humor in the story and in her character’s over-the-top behavior. “Angie is very funny,” says Zwart. “She has a great sense of humor. She has the ability to keep a straight face but be very sarcastic, and she really had fun with it. She brought a great deal of comedy to the part. ”
“To have someone ridiculously angry and disrespectful and have it be hilarious at the same time – that’s fun to play,” Harmon says. And as the story unfolds, Cody grows on Ronica after all, softening her tough exterior. “You see her progress as a human being,” Harmon says. “In the middle of the craziness and action, you see a really beautiful relationship develop between her and Cody. She sees he’s not just some dumb kid. He’s very intelligent, and he deserves to be respected.
“That’s a great lesson to us regarding the youth of today,” Harmon continues. “They are smart and they are intelligent and they do deserve respect. ”
During filming, Harmon quickly formed a kind of big sister relationship with Muniz, and the two were often inseparable on and off set. “Frankie is obviously not your average 16-year-old,” says Harmon. “But his success hasn’t gone to his head. He’s very intelligent; he’s very humble, and he’s incredibly funny. We became great, great friends. He gives me hope, and that became my little joke with him on set. I would say to him all the time, ‘Give me hope, buddy. ‘ I’m really, really proud of him. ”
Muniz feels the same way about Harmon, saying, “Angie was amazing. Not just amazing looking, but to work with,” he laughs. “We had so much fun together, non-stop joking. They were always asking us to stop laughing and clowning around. ”
Sellers says the two actors’ on-screen relationship reflects a time-honored movie device. “There is clearly a buddy comedy going on between them,” he says. “They’re constantly battling and bantering and trying to outsmart each other, but they learn from each other. ”
The Bad Guys
The villains of the piece – archenemy Brinkman (played by Ian McShane) and his evil cohort Molay (portrayed by Arnold Vosloo) – add a deliciously scary and sometimes humorous dimension to the story.
Ian McShane says, “Brinkman is essentially the heir to Dr. No. Villains in this type of film always have one main flaw: basically, they’re really stupid. ” He laughs, “Brinkman is also overweening, overpreening, and has overreaching ambitions to run the world with his Nanobots. No doubt he’ll be the first in a long line of villains that has to come up against Mr. Cody Banks. ”
Cast as colleagues in the film, Ian McShane and Arnold Vosloo also became pals between takes. “Ian is one of the reasons I wanted to do the movie,” Vosloo explains. “I’d seen him in a zillion things and wanted to do the film with him. It was just fantastic. He’s the most wonderful man. ”
As for his character, Molay, Vosloo jokes he really didn’t have to act at all. “With the dead eye, the horrible scar across my neck, and my mostly bald head, all I had to do was show up,” he laughs. “That was scary enough. ”
The Zwart Report
Young Norwegian director Harald Zwart’s energetic vision for the film delighted and challenged both the cast and crew. “Harald is awesome,” says Muniz. “His mind was all over the place. ‘Ohhh, I want to do that. And ohhh, we’ll do this shot. ‘ He has the best ideas, and the way he wants to share everything is awesome. ”
“I love Harald so much,” adds Duff. “He has so much enthusiasm. He’s really cool. ”
Angie Harmon says, “I asked him if he’d been an actor previously, because he’s incredibly funny and has great timing. ” Harmon also enjoyed Zwart’s directorial technique and unique adaptability with the actors. “Harald would just let us go,” he says. “He’d encourage us to do whatever we wanted, whatever was funny. Then he’d go to the other actor in the scene, already having picked out what he’d use from your performance, and he’d have that person react to just those things. It was as if he had edited the whole thing already in his mind. I think he’s fantastic, and I really, really enjoyed working with him. ”
“What’s really great about Harald is his energy,” says producer Nicksay. “He has such boyish enthusiasm, it’s infectious, and I think everybody fed on that from the beginning. He has a very bold visual style. The fact we have such an expansive look to this picture is very much a reflection of his cutting edge. Harald is incredibly versatile as a filmmaker. He knows how to bring dynamic quality to his shots. ”
All the Right Moves
Frankie Muniz had only a few weeks before filming began to prepare for the demanding action and stunt sequences. Although he and Angie Harmon continued to train whenever possible after the start of principal photography, it was extremely fortunate that both stars were a quick study.
Muniz had the benefit of some of the top martial arts experts available. “Frankie did training in L. A. with the karate coach who did the Karate Kid movies,” says Nicksay, “so he had really great expertise there. Then in Vancouver, the trainers we had here were veterans of Hong Kong martial arts movies, which means they’re as good as it gets.
“I was pleased to discover Frankie’s physical capability,” Nicksay continues. “He was really skillful, and he had balance, dexterity, and athleticism. He stepped right into those activities and got up to speed. He knew some skateboarding, but he really took it to a new level. He could get some air and do some moves and cut back and forth. Skate- and snowboarding, flying through the air wearing rigging through stunt sequences, tumbling, karate, driving a sports car – he turned into a full secret agent. ”
Martial arts trainer Bruce Fontaine worked with Frankie before and during the training process, and he was also impressed with the young actor’s rapid progress and natural abilities. “Frankie has really good spring in his legs,” he says. “He does jump kicks head-to-head with much taller villains in the film, and he’s right up there. We often gave him new choreography, and he was easily able to keep up with it. ”
Fontaine was equally impressed with Angie Harmon, who came to the film having done Tai Bo and fitness training in L. A. “It was immediately evident that Angie was very flexible and could do the kicks quite well,” he says. “She handled that very well. ”
Stunt coordinator Scott Ateah says both Muniz and Harmon were very enthusiastic about doing their own work whenever possible. “All stunt people, no matter what they tell you, are just teenage boys at heart,” laughs Ateah. “Frankie and I connected really well because I knew what was in his head. He wanted to try everything, and stunt guys are the same way. There’s also this blind faith that comes with youth. They know you’re looking after the safety aspect, and they trust that anything is possible. Frankie is a real trouper; he was pretty fearless. ”
Zwart says, “We were thinking we would have to use a stunt double a lot more, but instead we were able to use Frankie quite a bit, and that’s very impressive. ”
“He’s an amazing athlete,” Sellers agrees. “Many times we had other people who were going to do stunts, and Frankie would say, ‘Let me take a crack at it. ‘ Then he’d do them perfectly well. All the fight scenes are actually him – he’s unbelievable. ”
Frankie himself is a little more modest about his accomplishments but admits to pushing himself as much as possible. “I forced myself to try and do as much as I could,” he says, “because that’s how it’s going to look good. That’s when it’s going to be the best. ”
“As for Angie Harmon,” says Ateah, “she is a teenager, that’s all there is to it. She was just like Frankie and wanted to do everything. She got very upset when a stunt double showed up to do a fight because she wanted to do them all herself. She really had a good time with it. ”
“I prefer being hot and sweaty and fighting and kicking butt and all that kind of stuff as opposed to just sitting for four hours waiting to shoot something,” says Harmon. “It’s so much fun, and probably the only time I can take down five guys at once. ”
Filmed on location in Vancouver, British Columbia, during June and July of 2002, Agent Cody Bank was shot over a period of only 52 days. This turned out to be a considerable accomplishment, given the scope of the spectacular action and adventure sequences.
A significant part of the challenge facing filmmakers was creating the unique and impressive sets that form the background to major scenes. Production designer Rusty Smith worked closely with Zwart designing sets which reflected the ultra-modern futuristic look of the spy caper and simultaneously paying homage to classic Bond movies and sci-fi films of the past.
“Harald didn’t want to do a full-on contemporary secret agent story,” says Smith. “It was almost retro in its feeling. The challenge was to keep the clean, linear, retro look, but still appear modern. Harald had a very strong sense of style and vision of how he wanted this film. It was also a great opportunity to work on a genre that I am intimate with – I grew up with and loved the Bond films, and production designer Ken Adam, who I pay homage to as often as possible, is a hero of mine. ”
Although quick to point out that the filmmakers were creating their own unique world for Agent Cody Banks, Smith and Co. give “insider nods” to other famous films in the design and look of the film, its sets and costumes. These include Kubrick’s 2001, Dr. Strangelove, Star Wars, Barbarella, Moonraker, Goldfinger, and a reference to Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five in the geodesic dome that serves as Natalie’s prison in the ERIS Mountain Lair.
Saving the Baby
The film’s nail-biting opening scene has Cody Banks skateboarding down a very steep hill to save a baby trapped in a runaway car. “It’s a snappy way to start a movie,” says Nicksay. “Here you see a normal kid who seems like just another teenager going to school, and suddenly he leaps into action and performs a feat of rescue that is beyond belief. ”
The complex sequence took three whole days to film, with another week of filming by the second unit crew. To achieve the dangerous look of the shots, a car was hooked to a tow vehicle and an outrigger was built around the car’s bumpers so Frankie could stand on it but be invisible to the camera. Frankie was also attached to the front of the car by a harness so he could descend the hill while still on his skateboard, “trapped” against the front bumper.
The runaway car was also specially rigged so that a hidden driver could operate it from the trunk. Special effects coordinator Tony Lazarowich says, “Because the car was going backwards down the hill, our stunt driver was looking through where the license plate is via a two-way mirror. We designed the brakes, gas, shift and steering wheel so he could lie on his stomach; his feet were tucked under the rear seat in the back of the car. He was able to control the car completely, and it was 100% safe. ” The gag worked so well the first time it was tested that passersby gaped in astonishment at the riderless car zooming backwards down the street.
Overall, special effects coordinator Tony Lazarowich gives full credit to the young star’s fearlessness in creating such a compelling opening. “Frankie started at the passenger side of the car,” he says, “and skated all the way around the car over to the driver’s side. Although there were safety precautions in place, there was also an element of jeopardy. It’s him riding on the front of the car and sitting on the bumper, skating through intersections. It was him stuck to the tail end of that car and going through the crash traffic. He’s a very gutsy kid. ”
When Cody is trying to hook up with Natalie at his new school, the CIA arranges for them to have the same schedule. They end up in a drivers education class together, and Cody takes them on a very wild ride.
Zwart, with his typically innovative approach, threw down yet another challenge for the effects and stunts team. “Harald said, ‘Do something with this car that nobody else could do,'” recalls Ateah. “‘When Cody gets in the car, he should drive like Mario Andretti. He must be better than anybody could ever be, and let’s do something we haven’t seen before. ‘ That’s when the idea of ‘skating’ it came to mind, meaning getting a vehicle up on two wheels. ” The filmmakers figured out how to hydraulically lift a car and drive it around.
The unusual scene certainly made an impression on Hilary Duff. “We were sitting in the car sideways with it lifted on two wheels, and then it would smash back down on the pavement. Ow!” she laughts. “At first, I was scared. But then it was pretty cool, like a Disneyland ride. ”
The Great Escape
The film’s grand finale calls for Cody and Ronica to break into the mountain fortress of the menacing ERIS organization in order to save Natalie and her father – and the world. They sneak in via a mountainside helicopter portal, stealthily deploying explosives within the structure and getting caught by Brinkman and Molay in the process. They fight the bad guys in hand-to-hand combat, then narrowly escape by driving a Snowcat through a spectacular conflagration of explosions. Finally, the entire structure is blown to smithereens. Quite a finale.
Finding the right space to film this sequence was one of the most important elements, and eventually the production settled on an abandoned power plant. “We were lucky enough to find the Port Mann power plant,” says production designer Smith, “which gave us a huge space on two levels – 63 feet square and 500 feet long. ”
“It was a gigantic set with tons of extras, gadgets and a whole lot of things happening,” says Nicksay. “We had a giant visual scope: a 500-foot long set, giant arches with cooling elements keeping Nanobots cold, snowmobiles, helicopters, explosions, stunts and fights. The biggest challenge was orchestrating all of that and putting it together for a really great, tight, exciting scene. ”
It took nearly ten days to film the sequence and had both main and second unit crews filming day and night, literally. “It was 24 hours a day for 10 straight days,” says Sellers. “The crew really gave it their all. ”
Lazarowich says, “The physical effects there were grand as well. Lots of explosions, lots of stunt people, lot of things flying around the room. ” In order to achieve the spectacular visual of a dangerously narrow escape from the conflagration, it was also necessary to get the stars as close as possible to the action.
In final analysis by the filmmakers, the weeks of hard work and 24-hour filming paid off. Everyone agrees the final scene of the film is huge in its overall effect. “The whole third act of this movie is extraordinary,” Sellers says. “It looks like Mission: Impossible or Speed. ”
In the tradition of secret agent films, Agent Cody Banks is full of cutting-edge technology and recent inventions, both real and imaginary – many of them never-before-seen on the big screen. From the moment Zwart got the job, he was filling “mood boards” with images from Cody’s world of gadgets and with modes of transport marked by unique function and design. He searched the coolest internet sites for the latest Snow Hawk, devised ways to modify existing contemporary devices like the iPod, and designed dream items like the Jet Board. In addition to magnetic x-ray sunglasses, suction-cup shoes for walking on ceilings, and watches with stun rays, there are microscopic Nanobots, nifty personal transportation devices such as Segways and Solotreks, and a fuel cell powered electric car.
Nanobots: In the film, Dr. Connors is a world-renowned expert in nanotechnology – the science of microscopic robots. They’re actually researched in the real world for biomedical reasons and represent some of the latest advances in the medical field. “Nanotechnology is going to be the next new therapy in treating many diseases,” says producer Nicksay. “For instance, infinitesimal machines could be sent into the blood stream to deliver medicine directly to cancer cells and knock them out. ”
Streetboarding: Whether rescuing babies, going to school, or fleeing bad guys on a snow-covered mountaintop, Cody Banks gets to ride some pretty cool boards. These include a limited edition deluxe BMW board called “The Street Carver. ”
“I think there are only 1,000 of them in the world,” says Frankie Muniz. “They’re really expensive skateboards. They’re so amazing – you turn and you can go in a complete circle where you stand. It’s weird to get used to – normally you lift up the back of a board a little bit to turn and then turn really hard. On this you barely do anything, and it’s really smooth and quiet. It was really fun to use that board. ”
Snow Hawks: In the film, Cody is chased across the snow by a fleet of men on Snow Hawks, a winter-weather vehicle that’s something like a cross between a dirt-bike and a jetski. A Snow Hawk’s design combines a single ski in front with a 16-inch propelling track on the back. Because these machines are not found on the West Coast, they had to be brought in from Quebec – and this called for a quick learning curve. “The Snow Hawks arrived on Thursday,” says stunt coordinator Ateah, “and on Friday, we threw a bunch of stunt guys on them and let them play. We picked the best four or five out of that and started practicing, so it was a new thing. I had never ridden one before. ”
In addition to that, one of the machines was further modified with a wider track, in order to allow it to be ridden across the concrete floor and up the stairs in the movie’s final scene.
The Solotrek XFV: When Ronica lands on a snowy mountaintop to help Cody, she descends from the skies in an unusual flying machine. The SoloTrek XFV (Exo-skeletor Flying Vehicle), seen for the first time in a major motion picture in Agent Cody Banks, is a new genus of small, 100% powered-lift aircraft. Designed to transport an individual at speeds up to 70 knots, it is able to take off and land vertically, like a helicopter. And without a helicopter’s large main and tail rotor systems, the SoloTrek XVF is able to operate in extremely confined spaces. The pilot is secured to the XFV in a standing position and manipulates two hand controls to take off vertically, sprint to the ultimate destination, and land on virtually any level surface.
Not yet available to consumers, the Solotrek is currently restricted to military and paramilitary use. Eventually, however, it will cost about the same as a high-end sports car.
The SegwayTM Human Transporters: When Cody Banks is taken to CIA headquarters, Ronica and other agents are moving smoothly around on what seem like soundless, modified scooters or push mowers that require almost no exertion on the part of their drivers. They’re riding SegwayTM Human Transporters. Designed by inventor Dean Kamen, the Segway is the first of its kind – a self-balancing personal transportation device designed to operate in any pedestrian environment. Unlike a car, the Segway only has two wheels – yet it manages to stay upright by itself. Agent Cody Banks is the first movie ever to feature the Segway.
To move forward or backward on the Segway HT, the rider just leans slightly forward or backward. To turn left or right, the rider simply turns the steering grip in the desired direction. But no matter what the rider does, it won’t tip over. Since it responds to the slightest leaning motion, the Segway moves almost effortlessly-it’s a lot like walking.
Currently being used by the US Postal Service, the National Park Service, at Disney World, and at various corporations with very large campuses, Agent Cody Banks marks the debut of these revolutionary transporters in a major motion picture.
The Silver Volt: Top secret agents drive the most cutting-edge of cars, as well as other fantastic machines. In addition to his red Ferrari, Agent Cody Banks drives the Silver Volt, a uniquely powered electric car. Until recently, the Silver Volt was equipped only with batteries, but now a fuel cell has been added, making it the world’s first fuel cell hybrid vehicle. Produced by Apollo Energy Systems, the car’s propulsion system is identical to that which will be used in the Mars Manned Rover, making it a truly space-age automobile.
Equipped with a lead cobalt battery and an Apollo fuel cell, the Silver Volt will be the first zero pollution full-performance electric car in the world that doesn’t have to be recharged. It will be able to run for 400 miles at speeds of up to 100 mph before requiring a 5-minute fill-up with hydrogen, methanol, ethanol or ammonia.
Overall, director Harald Zwart feels the film will appeal to audiences on a number of levels. “Not only is there action and adventure, space-age gadgets, jokes and lots of fun,” he says. “The core of the story is a dilemma we can all relate to: we’re all insecure in the face of the fanciable opposite sex. It’s a love story. My favorite part of the movie is when the CIA takes it upon themselves to teach Cody how to deal with girls. It becomes apparent very quickly that there is no ‘one solution. ‘ There is no one right answer, or even question, to get the girl. ”
As for the future, producer Sellers says the filmmakers feel the combination of action, secret agent exploits, and romance may well lead to a series of films. “We hope this is going to be the first of many Cody Banks adventures,” he says. “It’s an amazing character, and Frankie does an amazing job. Everybody’s going to love it, and if they love it as much as we do, they’ll be dying to see what Agent Cody Banks does next. ”