First James Bond movie to be released by MGM Distribution Co. due to a name change from MGM/UA Distribution Co. The former named company had released all the EON Productions Bond films from Octopussy (1983) through to GoldenEye (1995).
Just before shooting the scene where Bond and Wai-Lin get on the motorcycle, Roger Spottiswoode took Pierce Brosnan and Michelle Yeoh aside - each without the other's knowledge - and told each of them not to let the other get in the driver's seat. The result is in the final film: Bond and Wai-Lin fight over who gets to drive before getting on the bike.
The original title of the film was "Tomorrow Never Lies", which makes sense when you consider media mogul Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) was creating the next day's headlines in advance, then causing those events to happen. But a typo on an early script draft was adopted by the producers, and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) was used instead.
When they had to re-shoot the car park scene it was too expensive to go back to Germany so it was done at Brent Cross shopping centre in London. Posters around the stores told shoppers that the explosions were nothing to worry about. It took ten days to shoot this car park scene and seventeen BMWs were used.
Teri Hatcher says that she accepted her role in this movie to fulfill her then husband's lifelong dream of being married to a Bond girl. As it turned out, her scenes had to be filmed quickly because of an unexpected pregnancy. She later expressed her dissatisfaction with the part, saying it was "an artificial kind of character to be playing that you don't get any special satisfaction from it".
Michelle Yeoh, who did most of her own stunts, asked her fellow motorbike stuntman to drive faster in the helicopter chase scene as it would make her hair fly out behind her, adding to the effect of speed.
The stealth ship is not a fictional invention. Lockheed secretly constructed and demonstrated one in the early 1980s, but the US Navy finally decided they didn't want any. The prototype, called the Sea Shadow, was 160 feet long and the movie's ship closely resembles it in shape.
Ricky Jay, who plays Henry Gupta is also an acclaimed magician who holds a world record for the fastest throwing playing cards. The producers initially wanted a scene where he threw playing cards at Bond. They set up the scene to block, Ricky was 50 or 75 feet away and was asked to hit Pierce Brosnan in the face. Ricky warned them it wasn't a good idea, safety wise. After they convinced him to do it, he agreed and hit pierce right above the eyes. To his disappointment, for one reason or another, they never asked him to repeat it on film. Gupta is shown throwing cards in the DVD deleted scenes.
Product placements, brand integrations, promotional tie-ins and sponsorships for this movie include BMW in their second film in a three picture promotional deal; L'Oréal Cosmetics; Heineken Beer; Dunhill; Ericsson Cellular Phones; Omega Watches, James Bond wears an Omega Seamaster watch; Smirnoff Vodka i.e. Smirnoff Red label Vodka; Brioni Clothing; Bollinger Champagne; Avis Rental Car Hire; and Electronic Arts' tie-in video-game, Tomorrow Never Dies (1999). This is the first movie in film history to have its entire budget be covered in product placement campaigns. Various companies each chipped in enough in endorsements to allow for the film's $100 million budget.
Anthony Hopkins was cast as Elliott Carver and joined the production, but walked after three days because it was so chaotic and there was no completed shooting script; due to the pressure on Eon Productions to finish the film on time, new pages of the screenplay were being delivered every morning.
In the original drafts of the script Stamper was to have suffered a brain injury that caused pleasure to be registered as pain (and vice versa). The idea was dropped, but a version of it made it into the next Bond film The World Is Not Enough (1999), where the villain Renard is unable to feel pain.
One of the main reasons why John Barry turned down the opportunity to score another Bond film was because the producing team insisted that he not have anything to do with the title song which had already been assigned to Sheryl Crow. Barry was indignant at this stipulation, given his track record with Bond songs that are then echoed in the accompanying score. The gig then passed to David Arnold who was equally unhappy about having a song imposed on him. Arnold's solution was to write a new song for the end credits - "Surrender" performed by k.d. lang - which thematically crops up throughout the score.
Though it has long been part of the James Bond character's reputation in story and dialogue, this is the first instance in the EON Productions official series where James Bond has an on-screen relationship with a leading Bond Girl who is actually known to be married to another man.
The opening arms bazaar sequence was originally intended to appear in the earlier James Bond movie The Living Daylights (1987). The weapon being sold at the arms bazaar were described as a Chinese Long March Scud Rocket and on the jet aircraft were Soviet SP-5 Torpedoes. Neither of these weapon systems actually exist, however. The Long March program was an Chinese program designed to launch missiles into space, and the "SP-5" nuclear torpedo simply doesn't exist in Russian or the former Soviet arsenal.
Because the second half of the film is set in Vietnam, the production negotiated for some time for permission to film there. Although it appeared close, the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture and Information eventually refused to allow it. The production decided to use Thailand as Vietnam, with Bangkok substituting for Saigon. At one point during filming, a helicopter mistakenly hovered over the American Embassy to Thailand, causing fears that it was spying.
Seventeen 750iL aspen Grey BMW's were used for the car chase. Four were adapted to be 'hidden driver' cars, in which a concealed driver would sit in the back using a small steering wheel. Video monitors were attached to cameras hidden in the wing mirrors and on top of the windscreen. Three more BMW's were used as backup for the hidden drivers. One car was equipped with the sliding glove compartment revealing a safe and only used for this one scene. Another, dubbed the 'cannon', was specially prepared to be propelled off the roof. It was stripped off as much weight as possible in order to be fired from a special rig. The remaining seven 'pristine' cars were used only for back-up and exterior shots, including one that was being kept in Hamburg for shooting there.
Stunt performers Mark Southworth and Wendy Leech performed the skyscraper jump on 21 may 1997 in Bankok, with temperatures reaching as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Wendy also doubled for Michelle Yeoh during the motorbike chase with French rider Jean-Pierre Goy driving the BMV R1200 C cruiser. A dummy was strapped to Goy's back as he performed the rooftop jump over the helicopter on the same bike on 24 July. The helicopters blades had been removed to be added digitally in post production. On that same day, Pierce Brosnan and Michelle Yeoh were filming their close-ups hanging thirty feet up at the side of a five story building to complete the Carver building stunt.
In the movie tie-in novelization, it is revealed that Stamper's hobby is making "snuff porn". He enjoys kidnapping young women and filming them while they're being raped and tortured, and sells the videos on the black market to thrill-seekers. That is why he has a man filming the execution of the naval officers.
This is the first James Bond movie in the official series to have a running time under two hours since Diamonds Are Forever (1971). The next film to run under 120 minutes would be Quantum of Solace (2008).
The first draft of the script was set during the July 1997 transfer of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule with Carver a zealot bent on destroying Hong Kong rather that hand it over to the Chinese. According to director Roger Spottiswoode, this plot was dropped when former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who was acting as a consultant on the production, warned that, if something actually did occur during the handover in real life, the film would look ridiculous. Furthermore, this would have instantly dated a film that was due to open in November, so in January 1997 when production was kicking off, a frantic rewrite of the script was taking place. With all the actors on board and ready to film, the new script also had to tally with their visions of their characters. Both Jonathan Pryce and Teri Hatcher were unhappy with the route their characters were taking in the new script, prompting even more rewrites.
The headline "The Empire will Strike Back" so admired by Elliot Carver when reviewing media reaction to the impending British attack mirrors a real headline run by Newsweek during the Falklands War in 1982 picturing HMS Hermes and the headline "The Empire Strikes Back".
The ships used in the film are Type 23 Duke Class Anti-Submarine Frigates. The interior shots were all filmed at HMS DRYAD ship simulator, and most of the personnel in the background are real Royal Navy personnel. Most of the dialogue and commands are very accurate, though some has been modified so the viewing public can understand it.
The title song tune was chosen by way of a competition. There were about twelve entries including songs from Emil Jørgensen, Pulp, Saint Etienne, Marc Almond, Sheryl Crow, and David Arnold. The first choice was written and performed by Danish rock band Swan Lee but they were turned down because they were not famous enough. It was suggested that another artist sing the song instead but Swan Lee rejected this idea. British pop group Pulp wrote a theme song which later appeared on the B-side to the group's single "Help the Aged" following a title change to "Tomorrow Never Lies," the same name as the working title for this film. The Sheryl Crow song which won out, did not chart in the USA but charted as #11 spot in the UK.
HALO stands for High Altitude Low Opening Jump. Stuntman B.J. Worth had to make eighty jumps out of a plane in order to film the HALO jump sequence, eight jumps less than the 88 required for Moonraker (1979).
MGM exerted a lot of pressure on the producers to come up with a follow-up to GoldenEye (1995) that was as successful. This was mainly at the urgings of billionaire Kirk Kerkorian who had recently bought the company and wanted the release to coincide with MGM's public stock offering.
According to the book "The Bond Legacy", a farewell scene for Q was written for this film on the assumption that Desmond Llewelyn would soon retire from the role; the idea was dropped, only to be revived for the next Bond film The World Is Not Enough (1999).
A lot of the model work and underwater sequences were filmed in the Titanic tank at Fox's Baja Studios in Mexico, just days after Titanic (1997) had completed filming. These two films were released in the same week in the USA, causing this to be the only one of Pierce Brosnan's 4 James Bond films not to open at number one in the US box office charts.
Not counting the regular characters of Bond, Q, M and Moneypenny, this is the first Bond movie to contain absolutely no Ian Fleming references (GoldenEye (1995) was named for Fleming's estate; Licence to Kill (1989) used elements from several Fleming stories).
Director Roger Spottiswoode had hoped that the descent outside the building could be done by computerized special effects, but in the end a 7-storey section of wall was constructed and the stars lowered down alongside it.
In earlier drafts of the script, the villain Elliot Carver was known as Elliot Harmsway and Wai Lin was known as Lin Pow. Michelle Yeoh pointed-out that "pow" in Chinese meant "bun" and it was changed. Carver was also the surname of CIA Agent Rosie Carver in the earlier James Bond movie Live and Let Die (1973).
Because the producers had already secured a release date, the production couldn't find studio space. They ended up shooting much of the interiors in a converted Asda (the British branch of Walmart) warehouse.
Because snow was an essential ingredient for the opening action sequence, and the existing snow was already melting, the art directors had to truck in loads of extra snow just to meet production requirements. This sequence alone took two weeks to complete.
The movie's score was not complete in time for the release of the soundtrack. As such, a second soundtrack album was released on 11 January 2000 by Chapter III Records. This album added additional tracks not featured in the first release but removed the songs "Tomorrow Never Dies" by Sheryl Crow, and "Surrender" by 'k.d. Lang', the tracks "Station Break" and "Killing Benjamin Evans" and Moby's Remix of the James Bond theme. The added tracks included a David Arnold interview as well as the tracks "Helicopter Ride", "Bike Chase", "Bike Shop Fight", "Kowloon Bay", "Boarding the Stealth", "A Tricky Spot for 007" and "All in a Day's Work".
The alleged "Atlantic Hotel" car park rooftop actually belongs to an electronics department store. This car park is located on Steintorwall / Steinstraße, in Hamburg but not in the neighborhood of the real "Hotel Atlantic". Bond's car is then propelled from the top of yet another building, a clothes retailer on Mönckebergstrasse / Lange Mühren, which has no parking facilities of its own, let alone on its roof.
The number plate of Bond's BMW 750iL is "B-MT 2144". This ties in with his Aston Martin DB5's number plate "BMT 214A". The original movie Aston Martin, (from Goldfinger (1964)), had "BMT 216A", which could not be used for legal reasons.
This was the second James Bond movie in a row in which Pinewood Studios, the studio that EON Productions regularly uses, was predominantly unavailable. It was booked-up for shooting Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) as it had been for GoldenEye (1995) when it was being used for First Knight (1995). For this movie, they used a grocery warehouse and former Radlett aerodrome site which was renamed as Eon / Frogmore Studios.
The literal translations of some of the movie's foreign language titles include James Bond 007: The Morning Dies Never (Germany); Agent 007 Tomorrow Never Dies (Italy); James Bond: Tomorrow Never Dies (Slovenia); Tomorrow is Indestructible (Turkey); Tomorrow Never Dies Not (Poland); 007 Tomorrow Never Dies (Brazil); The Tomorrow Never Dies (Argentina, Peru, Italy, Spain); and The Empire After Today (or 007 and the Empire of Tomorrow) (Romania).
A promotional advertisement for BMW tying-in with the movie showed its three vehicles (two cars and one motorbike) together with the logos for the movie and BMW. The main tagline read: "How could Bond possibly be faithful to just one? BMW - The Ultimate Driving Machine." And the bottom tagline read: "See James Bond's new loves in the film Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) on general release from 12th December."
Director Roger Spottiswoode was insistent on having an authentic Russian rocket launcher for the opening sequence. Luckily for the production, a decommissioned unit was found and had to be driven from Moscow right across Europe to the location.
The 'Situation Room' set designed by Allan Cameron was decorated with books on display hired by the meter, with titles including "The Companies Act, 1985", "The Insolvency Act, 1986", Protection and Industrial Decline" and "EEC and the Third World: A Survey".
With the release date set for 12 December 1997, The second unit began filming the pre-title sequence (with a look-a-like substituting for Pierce Brosnan) in the Pyrenees on 23 January 1997. When Brosnan visited Hamburg on the 25th of March to promote Dante's Peak (1997), Desmond Llewelyn was flown to Germany to film the beginning of his scene at the airport. The rest of this sequence was later completed at Stansted Airport, England after principal photography began on April Fool's Day.
The end credits song "Surrender" was composed and sung in the style of a Shirley Bassey song, Bassey being a stalwart of Bond songs having sung a number of them. Composer David Arnold wanted this song to be used in the opening credits (the lyrics prominently feature the title 'Tomorrow Never Dies') but the producers preferred Sheryl Crow over k.d. lang. However, Arnold did incorporate the song instrumentally throughout his score.
The film's Charity World Premiere was held on Tuesday 9th December 1997 (which is also Judi Dench's birthday) at the Odeon Theatre Leicester Square in London, England. The launch was not a Royal Premiere on this occasion. The Gala Charity Premiere Benefit was held in aid of the King George's Fund for Sailors. The after-party was held at Bedford Square home of Jonathan Cape, the publisher of the Ian Fleming James Bond novels. The American Gala Premiere in the USA was held in Los Angeles on Tuesday 16th December 1997 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
The film was originally going to be called "Tomorrow never comes". There are video tapes that were in distribution when the film was released on video that do have the caption "Tomorrow never comes" at the very beginning of the tape, not the beginning of the movie.
Vehicles featured included a silver gadget-laden BMW 750iL car; a brief glimpse of the silver birch Aston Martin DB5; a BMW Cruiser R1200 C motorbike; Sikorsky S-65 and Eurocopter 350B A-Star, Eurocopter EC 135, and Eurocopter Panther AS 656 Attack helicopters; two Aero L-39 FENIX (aka L39 Albatross Z0) jets; a Ford Sierra; an Opel Senator 3.0i car; a Transport Allianz C-160 Transall airplane for the HALO jump; a Chinese Junk; a Daimler Limousine; an Asian trawler; a Mercedes Benz; a Range Rover; ships HMS Bedford, HMS Chester and HMS Devonshire; a Chinese MiG jet; a black rubber dinghy and Elliot Carver's black catamaran-designed Stealth Ship.
The wife of the Wimbledon 1996 Winner Richard Krajicek as Elliot Carver's PR Lady. Reportedly, she wanted to audition for the role of Paris Carver. Being too late for this, the production wrote in this small cameo role for her.