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"Tomorrow will be the today you worried about yesterday."

- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium Curator

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TOMORROW NEVER DIES

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.

The 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!"

The 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.

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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...
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Teri 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.

Natasha 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. Apparently, Brosnan 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".

The 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.

The 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, impersonal affair".

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."

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Content intended for informational and educational purposes under the GNU Free Documentation Areement
and is not affiliated with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Eon Productions, Danjaq LLC, Ian Fleming Publications or any other official production companies. James Bond logos, content and images copyright © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Eon Productions, Danjaq LLC, Ian Fleming Publications, United Artists Corporation.

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