Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
is the eighteenth spy film in the James Bond series, and the second
to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Bruce
Feirstein wrote the screenplay, and it was directed by Roger
Spottiswoode. It follows Bond as he tries to stop a media mogul from
engineering world events and starting World War III.
film was produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, and was
the first James Bond film made after the death of producer Albert R.
Broccoli, to which the movie pays tribute in the end credits.
Locations included France, Thailand, Germany, the United Kingdom,
Vietnam and the South China Sea. Tomorrow Never Dies performed well
at the box office and earned a Golden Globe nomination despite mixed
reviews. While its domestic box office surpassed that of GoldenEye,
it was the only Pierce Brosnan Bond film not to open at number one at
the box office; it opened the same day as Titanic.
After the success of
GoldenEye in reviving the Bond series, there was pressure to recreate
that success in its follow-up. This pressure came from MGM and from
billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, who had recently taken ownership of the
studio; they wanted the release to coincide with their public stock
offering. Co-producer Michael G. Wilson was also concerned about
public expectations after the success of the previous film: "You
realize that there's a huge audience and I guess you don't want to
come out with a film that's going to somehow disappoint them."
This was the first Bond film to be made after the death of Albert R.
Broccoli, who had been involved with the production of the series
since it began. The rush to complete the film drove the budget to
$110 million. The producers were unable to convince Martin Campbell,
the director of GoldenEye, to return; his agent said that "Martin
just didn't want to do two Bond films in a row." Instead, Roger
Spottiswoode was chosen in September 1996. Spottiswoode said he had
previously offered to direct a Bond film while Timothy Dalton was
still in the leading role.
With no more Ian Fleming
novels left to adapt, an entirely original story was required; this
had been the case with several previous films in the series. The
scriptwriting process was finished very late due to lengthy disputes.
Spottiswoode said that MGM had a script in January 1997 revolving
round Hong Kong being returned to the Chinese, which happened in
July; this couldn't be used for a film opening at the end of the
year, so they had to start "almost from scratch at T-minus zero!"
story had its roots in a treatment written by Donald E. Westlake,
although how much of Westlake's material remains is unknown. Bruce
Feirstein, who had worked on GoldenEye, penned the initial script.
Feirstein said his inspiration was his own experience working with
journalism, saying he aimed to "write something that was
grounded in a nightmare of reality." Feirstein's script was then
passed to Spottiswoode who reworked it. He gathered seven Hollywood
screenwriters in London to brainstorm, eventually choosing Nicholas
Meyer to perform rewrites. The script was also worked on by Dan
Petrie, Jr. and David Campbell Wilson before Feirstein, who retained
the sole writing credit, was brought in for a final polish.
Wilson said, "We
didn't have a script that was ready to shoot on the first day of
filming," and Pierce Brosnan said, "We had a script that
was not functioning in certain areas." The Daily Mail reported
on arguments between Spottiswoode and the producers with the former
favouring the Petrie version, but the latter reinstating Feirstein to
rewrite it two weeks before filming was due to begin. They also said
that Jonathan Pryce and Teri Hatcher were unhappy with their new
roles, causing further re-scripting. The title was inspired by the
Beatles' song "Tomorrow Never Knows". The eventual title
came about by accident: one of the potential titles was Tomorrow
Never Lies (referring to the Tomorrow newspaper in the story) and it
was faxed to MGM. However, through an error it became Tomorrow Never
Dies, which MGM liked so much they insisted on using. The title was
the first not to have any relation to Fleming's life or work.
CLUB FEATURETTE DEPARTMENT
Pierce Brosnan leaps into
action as Agent 007 in this spectacular thrill ride of death-defying
stunts and amazing high-tech gadgets. In the most electrifying Bond
film yet, the unstoppable action hero must prevent a tremendous
disaster ripped from tomorrow's headlines. Someone is pitting the
world's superpowers against each other, and only James Bond can stop
it. When a British warship is mysteriously destroyed in Chinese
waters, the world teeters on the brink of WWIII, until 007 zeros in
on the true criminal mastermind. Bond's do-or-die mission takes him
to Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce), a powerful industrialist who
manipulates world events as easily as he changes headlines from his
global media empire. After soliciting help from Carver's sexy wife,
Paris (Teri Hatcher), Bond joins forces with a stunning yet lethal
Chinese agent, Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh), in a series of explosive
chases, brutal confrontations and breathtaking escapes as they race
to stop the presses... Add
Tomorrow Never Dies to your DVD collection.
Hatcher (pictured abouve with Brosnan) was three months pregnant
when shooting started; her publicist stated the pregnancy did not
affect the production schedule. Hatcher later regretted playing Paris
Carver, saying "It's such an artificial kind of character to be
playing that you don't get any special satisfaction from it."
Actress Sela Ward auditioned for the role, but lost out, reportedly
being told the producers wanted her, but ten years younger. Hatcher
was seven years Ward's junior. According to Brosnan, Monica Bellucci
also screen tested for the role but "the fools said no."
The role of Elliot Carver
was initially offered to Anthony Hopkins (who also had been offered a
role in GoldenEye), but he turned it down. The role went to Jonathan
Pryce (left). Carver has Bond undefended at gunpoint a number of
times, and each time decides to lecture him on his world-conquering
plans instead of just shooting him allowing Bond the time he needs to
escape. This is something Scotty Evil is always compaining about in
the Austin Powers movies.
Henstridge was rumoured as cast in the lead Bond Girl role, but
eventually, Michelle Yeoh (right) was confirmed in that role. Brosnan
was impressed, describing her as a "wonderful actress" who
was "serious and committed about her work". She reputedly
wanted to perform her own stunts, but was prevented because director
Spottiswoode ruled it too dangerous and prohibited by insurance
restrictions. Yeoh, along with Jinx, remains one of our Hall of Fame
favorite "Bond Girls" from the modern era.
When Götz Otto was
called in for casting, he was given twenty seconds to introduce
himself; his hair had recently been cropped short for a TV role.
Saying, "I am big, I am bad, I am bald and I am German", he
did it in five and got the role of Stamper (pictured below menacing Bond).
Second unit filming began
on January 18th 1997 with Vic Armstrong directing; they filmed the pre-credits
sequence at the Peyresourde Airport in the French Pyrenees, and
moved on to Portsmouth to film the scenes where the Royal Navy
prepares to engage the Chinese. The main unit began filming on April
1st. They were unable to use the Leavesden Film Studios, which they
had constructed from an abandoned Rolls-Royce factory for GoldenEye,
as George Lucas was using it for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom
Menace, so instead they constructed sound stages in another derelict
industrial site nearby. They also used the 007 Stage at Pinewood
Studios. The scene at the "U.S. Air Base in the South China
Sea" where Bond hands over the GPS encoder was actually filmed
in the area known as Blue Section at RAF Lakenheath, a U.S. Air Force
fighter base in the U.K. Some scenes were planned to be filmed on
location in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and the production had been
granted a visa. This was later rescinded, two months after planning
had begun, forcing filming to move to Bangkok, Thailand. Bond
spokesman Gordon Arnell claimed the Vietnamese were unhappy with crew
and equipment needed for pyrotechnics, with a Vietnamese
official saying it was due to "many complicated reasons".
Two locations from previous Bond films were used: Brosnan and
Hatcher's love scene was filmed at Stoke Park Club, which had been
featured in Goldfinger, and the bay where they search for Carver's
stealth boat is Khow-Ping-Khan island near Phuket, Thailand,
previously used for The Man with the Golden Gun.
Spottiswoode tried to
innovate in the action scenes. Since the director felt that after the
tank chase in GoldenEye he could not use a bigger vehicle, a scene
with Bond and Wai Lin in a BMW motorcycle was created. Another
innovation was the remote-controlled car, which had no visible
driver, an effect achieved by adapting a BMW 750i to put the steering
wheel on the back seat. The car chase sequence with the 750i took
three weeks to film, with Brent Cross car park being used to simulate
Hamburg, although the final leap was filmed on location. A stunt
involving setting fire to three vehicles produced more smoke than
anticipated, causing a member of the public to call the fire brigade.
The upwards camera angle filming the HALO jump created the illusion
of having the stuntman opening its parachute close to the water.
During filming, there were
reports of disputes on set. The Daily Mail reported that Spottiswoode
and Feirstein were no longer on speaking terms and that crew members
had threatened to resign, with one saying "All the happiness and
teamwork which is the hallmark of Bond has disappeared
completely." This was denied by Brosnan who claimed "It was
nothing more than good old creative argy-bargy", with
Spottiswoode saying "It has all been made up. Nothing important
really went wrong." Spottiswoode did not return to direct the
next film; he said the producers asked him, but he was too tired.
and Hatcher feuded briefly during filming due to her arriving late
onto the set one day. The matter was quickly resolved though and
Brosnan apologised to Hatcher after realising she was pregnant and
was late for that reason.
Tomorrow Never Dies marked
the first appearance of the Walther P99 as Bond's pistol. It replaced
the Walther PPK that the character had carried in every Eon Bond film
since of Dr. No in 1962, with the exception of Moonraker in which
Bond was not seen with a pistol. Walther wanted to debut its new
firearm in a Bond film, which had been one of its most visible
endorsers. Previously the P5 was introduced in Octopussy. Bond would
use the P99 until Daniel Craig reverted to the PPK as 007 in Quantum
of Solace in 2008.
Barbara Broccoli chose
David Arnold to score Tomorrow Never Dies on a recommendation from
prolific James Bond films composer John Barry. Arnold had come to
Barry's attention through his successful cover interpretations in
Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project, which
featured major artists performing the former James Bond title songs
in new arrangements. Arnold said that his score aimed for "a
classic sound but [with] a modern approach", combining techno
music with a recognisably Barry - inspired 'classic Bond' sound
notably Arnold borrowed from Barry's score for From Russia with
Love. The score was done across a period of six months, with Arnold
writing music and revising previous pieces as he received edited
footage of the film. The music for the indoor car chase sequence was
co-written with the band Propellerheads, who had worked with Arnold
on Shaken and Stirred. The soundtrack was well received by critics
with Christian Clemmensen of Filmtracks describing it as "an
excellent tribute to the entire series of Bond score".
theme song was chosen through a competitive process. There were
around twelve submissions, including songs from Swan Lee, Pulp, Saint
Etienne, Marc Almond, Sheryl Crow and David Arnold. Crow's song was
chosen for the main titles while David Arnold's song
"Surrender", performed by k.d. lang, was used for the end
titles, its melody cropping up throughout the film. This was the
fourth Bond film to have different opening and closing songs. Two
different versions of the soundtrack album were released, the first
lacking music from the second half of the film, and the second
lacking the songs. Pulp's effort was re-titled as "Tomorrow
Never Lies" and appeared as a b-side on their single "Help
The Aged". Moby created a remake of the original James Bond
theme to be used for the movie.
The film had a World
Charity Premiere at The Odeon Leicester Square, on December 9th 1997;
this was followed by an after premiere party at Bedford Square, home
of original Ian Fleming publisher, Jonathan Cape. The film went on
general release in the UK and Iceland on December 12th and in most
other countries during the following week. It opened at number 2 in
the US, with $25,143,007 from 2,807 cinemas average of $8,957
per cinema behind Titanic, which would become one of the
highest grossing film of its time. It ended up achieving a worldwide
gross of over $330 million, although it did not surpass its
predecessor GoldenEye, which grossed almost $20 million more.
critical reception of the film was mixed. In the Chicago Sun-Times,
Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four-stars, saying
"Tomorrow Never Dies gets the job done, sometimes excitingly,
often with style" with the villain "slightly more
contemporary and plausible than usual", bringing "some subtler-than-usual
satire into the film". James Berardinelli described it as
"the best Bond film in many years" and said Brosnan
"inhabits his character with a suave confidence that is very
like Connery's." However, in the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth
Turan thought a lot of Tomorrow Never Dies had a "stodgy,
been-there feeling", with little change from previous films, and
Charles Taylor wrote for Salon.com that the film was "a flat,
The title song sung by
Sheryl Crow was nominated for a Golden Globe for "Best Original
Song Motion Picture" and a Grammy for "Best Song
Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television".
The film received four nominations for Saturn Awards, with Brosnan
winning "Best Actor". It also won a MPSE Golden Reel Award
for "Best Sound Editing Foreign Feature" and a BMI
Film Music Award.
The original UK release
received various cuts to scenes of violence and martial arts
weaponry, and to reduce the impact of sound effects, in order to
receive a more box office friendly 12 certificate. Further cuts were
made to the video/DVD release to retain this rating. These edits were
restored for the Ultimate Edition DVD release in the UK, which was
consequently upgraded to a 15 certificate.
Tomorrow Never Dies was the
first of three Bond films to be adapted into books by then-current
Bond novelist, Raymond Benson. Benson's version is expanded from the
screenplay including additional scenes with Wai Lin and other
supporting characters not in the film. The novel traces Carver's
background as that of media mogul Lord Roverman's son. Carver
blackmails him into suicide and takes over his business. The novel
also attempts to merge Benson's series with the films, particularly
continuing a middle of the road approach to John Gardner's
continuity. Notably it includes a reference to the film version of
You Only Live Twice where he states that Bond was lying to Miss
Moneypenny when he said he had taken a course in Oriental languages.
This was done to counter the scene in Tomorrow Never Dies where Bond
is unable to read a Chinese keyboard. But this contradicts Benson's
previous book Zero Minus Ten in which Bond is able to speak fluent
Cantonese. Tomorrow Never Dies also mentions Felix Leiter, although
it states that Felix had worked for Pinkertons Detective Agency which
is thus exclusive to the literary series. Subsequent Bond novels by
Benson were affected by Tomorrow Never Dies, specifically Bond's
weapon of choice being changed from the Walther PPK to the Walther
P99. Benson said in an interview that he felt Tomorrow Never Dies was
the best of the three novelisations he wrote."
CLUB SLIDESHOW DEPARTMENT