The boat chase took seven weeks to shoot, as the river Thames' nine-mile-per-hour boat speed limit had to be factored in. The filming of the boat chase sequence was broadcast live over the Internet, via webcams set up at specific points over the Thames. The scene was not originally intended to be part of the opening sequence, until test audiences said that the jump-from-the-window opener was anti-climactic. As such, it was brought forward, and had to be shortened. As it is now, this fourteen to fifteen minute opener, is still the longest pre-credits sequence in a James Bond movie.
When the real MI6 learned that this film would shoot a scene around their Headquarters, they moved to prohibit it, citing a security risk. However, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, at the urging of Member of Parliament Janet Anderson, moved to overrule them and allow the shoot, stating, "After all Bond has done for Britain, it was the least we could do for Bond."
Desmond Llewelyn (Q) died in an car accident soon after the film was released. Llewellyn said just before his death, that he was planning to appear in the next Bond film. This movie's video release was dedicated to Llewelyn, and featured a tribute montage of his appearances in seventeen Bond films over thirty-six years.
The Q boat can achieve eighty miles (one hundred twenty-nine kilometers) per hour on the water. During the making of the film, it was discovered, only by accident, that its three hundred fifty horsepower engines could literally force the bow of the boat underwater. The move was written into the film.
Denise Richards was attracted to the role of Dr. Christmas Jones, as she found the part to be "brainy", "athletic", and had "depth of character", a change in direction from previous Bond Girls. Audiences did not agree, and often consider Christmas to be the worst Bond Girl ever. This was the first Bond film to win a Razzie (in the category of Worst Supporting Actress), for the same reason.
To create the effect when Bond looks through his X-ray glasses, the actors were first filmed in their regular costumes, then again this time wearing special costumes that revealed the shapes of guns and knives underneath translucent clothing. The two were then matted together.
Sophie Marceau's breast can be seen in her bed scene between Elektra King and James Bond. This happens just after Bond says "Enough ice for one night". Apparently, the glimpse has been airbrushed out, so it cannot be seen in the trailer, and remains only in the film itself.
Dr. Christmas Jones' wearing a green tank top and shorts, was written as a nod to video game icon Lara Croft. James Bond was an influence behind Lara Croft and Daniel Craig, who would succeed Pierce Brosnan in the role of James Bond in Casino Royale (2006), starred opposite Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). Jolie was strongly considered for the role of Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale (2006), which went to Eva Green.
The scene in which Bond grabs the cables on the Millennium Dome required extraordinarily difficult stunt work. Director Michael Apted intentionally left a shot of one of the stuntmen missing a cable he was attempting to grab, in the final cut of the film. Apted included the miscue, in order to highlight how difficult the scene had been to film, and as an honor to the stunt performers who worked on the film.
Before the shoot even began, a set was being built in Turkey, and was almost finished. One day when Michael Apted was touring around Istanbul, a bombing took place. Therefore, shots that included the cast were never shot in Istanbul, according to Apted, due to security reasons. Not a single cast member went to Istanbul. The shots of Robert Carlyle and his men getting off the boat on the jetty at Elektra's palace, were shot in the tank at Pinewood against a bluescreen or greenscreen.
This was the first film to feature the newly constructed Millennium Dome, built for London's New Year's celebration of 1999/2000 (even though the new millennium didn't begin until January 1, 2001). Supposedly, the original script contained a line for M at the end of the opening sequence which read, "Well, at least the Millennium Dome has some use." That line was cut.
The method by which the parahawk pilot survives his fall in the ski-chase scene (deploying a parachute after Bond lures him off a cliff) is highly reminiscent of the opening of The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). The method by which Bond downs him (collapsing his canopy by slicing it with the sharp edge of his ski), is the same way stuntman Rick Sylvester was almost killed while filming the sequence, one of his skis detaching, and nearly clipping the edge of the parachute.
In For Your Eyes Only (1981), Melina Havelock explains to Bond that "Greek women, like Elektra, always avenge their loved ones." The female antagonist in this film is Elektra King. Elektra also has a line in this film about Bond losing loved ones, which the writers intended as a reference to Paris Carver's death in the previous film.
The film's title song, "The World is Not Enough", sung by Garbage did not chart in the U.S., while in the UK, it peaked at the number eleven spot on the charts. The movie's soundtrack album went to the number one hundred six spot on the UK charts. There are two versions of the soundtrack, the second one differs in that it includes a twentieth track, titled "Sweetest Coma Again", sung by Luna Sea with DJ Krush. This track is only included on the Japanese album release, as this song played during the closing credits of the Japanese release of the movie.
Sarah Donohue, a British model with years of powerboat racing experience, was the stunt double for Maria Grazia Cucinotta in the boat chase scene. Immediately prior to this job, she had recovered from serious injuries sustained in a powerboat racing accident. Being a blonde, meant that she had to wear a wig.
The film's story was inspired by a segment in the November 13, 1997 episode of ABC News Nightline (1980), featuring Daniel Yergin. It was seen by Producer Barbara Broccoli on a plane in November 1997. The episode reported the last great oil discovery on the planet was in the region of Eastern Europe. It covered pipelines in the area, and discussed the grand reservoirs of oil that exist below the Caspian Sea. It told of the rise of small towns in the region, that have grown into centers of grand affluence, which has included the building of numerous casinos. The episode showed how this oil reserve was now an opportunity for the western world to capitalize, as it was no longer a Russian jurisdiction, and as such, major oil companies now had interests there. Producer Broccoli hypothesized how a James Bond villain might want to create a monopoly by removing all competitors and owning the only pipeline in the region.
Renard, Viktor Zokas' nom de guerre, is French for "fox". This reflects the first draft of the character, who was French and named Claude Serrault. His pain-killing brain injury was written for Stamper in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and used in that film's novelization.
Published newspaper reports during production of the film indicated that, as the last Bond film of the millennium, this would feature cameos by virtually every surviving previous Bond girl. Ursula Andress, Diana Rigg, Famke Janssen, and Barbara Bach were mentioned by name as among those slated to appear. Sadly, this idea, if it was ever more than a media rumor, never came to fruition.
In the music video of "The World is Not Enough" by Garbage, Shirley Manson played a robot replica, who kills the real Shirley Manson, and takes her place. On the television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008), Shirley Manson played a T-1000 liquid metal Terminator, who kills a C.E.O. and takes the real C.E.O.'s place.
When Q introduces James Bond to his successor, played by John Cleese, Bond jokingly asks "Does that make him R?" The character's name is never otherwise mentioned in the film, but in the end credits, Cleese is credited as "R".
Two shooting locations had to be postponed, and filming had to be switched to Spain. The skiing locale was changed, due to avalanches in the French Alps, and filming in Turkey was halted, due to political unrest. However, a secret filming unit, comprised of twelve crew, did film in Istanbul, under the fake cover movie title "Destiny".
Elektra King's oil pumping facility, with the oil pipeline on its roof, is the Motorola building in North Swindon, UK. The building, which is clearly visible from the A417/A419 dual carriageway, has a distinctive heat exchanger on its roof in the form of a long cylinder. The production team used CGI to extend this cylinder and form the pipeline.
Maria Grazia Cucinotta originally auditioned for the part of Elektra King, but Michael Apted didn't think her English was good enough to play her convincingly. Cucinotti gladly accepted the smaller role of the Cigar Girl, as she really wanted to be in a Bond film. MGM preferred Sharon Stone for the role of Elektra.
Vehicles featured include: Q's unfinished fishing boat, the black one-seater jet-craft aquatic Bentz Boats custom-built Q-boat; a silver metallic four hundred horsepower gadget-laden BMW Z8 convertible roadster; the King helicopter, a Eurocopter AS-355F1 Ecureuil Twin Star (or Twin Squirrel) helicopter with five-bladed buzzsaw, as well as Aerospatiale HH-65A Dauphin, Eurocopter AS-365N Dauphin and Eurocopter EC-135 helicopters; the Cigar Girl's hot air balloon; the Cigar Girl's Sunseeker Superhawk 34 yacht speedboat, and Renard's Sunseeker Manhattan 50 Flybridge yacht; Valentin Zukvosky's white Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow; a Lada Niva 4WD ute; an Army utility vehicle; a Russian nuclear submarine; a satellite image of the famous silver birch Aston Martin DB5 (its other shots were cut); a turboprop-powered STOL medium transport Casa C-212-200 Aviocar airplane, and four Parahawk parachute propelled hybrid snowmobiles.
Second James Bond movie to use Turkey as a location; From Russia with Love (1963) was the first. A big car chase through the old town of Istanbul was ultimately eliminated, but the idea was reused for the opening scene in Skyfall (2012).
The soundtrack album of this film includes a song titled "Only Myself to Blame", sung by Scott Walker. Originally, David Arnold intended to use this song during the end credits, but it was considered to glum to go out on, so a techno remix of the James Bond theme was used instead.
A kidnapping of M was a subplot of the James Bond novel "Colonel Sun" written by Kingsley Amis. Baku in Azerbaijan was a setting for the 1991 James Bond novel "The Man From Barbarossa" written by John Gardner.
It might not be apparent, since the villains' personalities are completely different, but the evil scheme in this film is effectively a modern update of the one in Goldfinger (1964). Both involve the nuclear destruction of a massive store of a precious resource, with tens of thousands of civilian casualties, in order to drive up the price of said resource, allowing the villains to become the wealthiest people in the world.
The BMW Z8 driven by Bond in the film was the final part of a three-film product placement deal with BMW, but due to filming preceding the release of the Z8 by a few months, several working mock-ups and models were manufactured for filming purposes.
Having directed this movie, Michael Apted has now been associated with two of the longest franchises in film history, the James Bond franchise, and the Seven Up! (1964) documentaries. Amusingly, this movie was once jokingly referred to by the media as "007 Up".
The world premiere of this movie was held on November 8, 1999, at two cinemas: Bruin & Fox's Theatre, and Mann's Village Chinese Theater, in Los Angeles, California. It was the second Bond movie in the official franchise to launch in California. The first being A View to a Kill (1985). It was the second opening of a Bond movie in Los Angeles. The first being Never Say Never Again (1983). It was the third Bond premiere for California, and the fourth overall in the U.S., after the above-mentioned and GoldenEye (1995). The British premiere was held at the regular Bond launch venue, London's Leicester Square Odeon Theatre on November 22, 1999. The UK Gala Charity Premiere Benefit was held in aid of the charity Children's Promise. The post-premiere party was held at St. James Square.
Product placements, brand integrations, promotional tie-ins, and sponsorships for this movie include: the third of BMW's three-picture deal promoting their cars, specifically the BMW Z8; Motorola; Bollinger champagne, particularly a Grande Annee 1990; Turnbull & Asser ties; Omega Outdoor Agencies ski suits; Smirnoff blue label vodka; Sunseeker power boats; Omega watches, James Bond wears an Omega Seamaster watch; Caterpillar industrial vehicles; Church Presley Shoes urging consumers to "Step into Bond's shoes"; Heineken beer, maintaining "Some things shouldn't be shaken or stirred"; Microsoft Windows; and Electronic Arts' tie-in video game, The World Is Not Enough (2000). Reportedly, MGM earned one hundred million dollars in product placements for this movie.
On its opening weekend, the film competed with Sleepy Hollow (1999). However, both survived the fierce competition, each collecting over thirty million dollars, and both ended up being big box-office successes.
In addition to being Bond girls in the Brosnan era, Teri Hatcher (who played Paris Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)) and Denise Richards (who played Dr. Christmas Jones in this film) both guest starred on Seinfeld (1989), in episodes that aired in February 1993 (Hatcher in "The Implant", and Richards in "The Shoes") and they both guest starred in season one of Two and a Half Men (2003).
In the music video of "The World is Not Enough" by Garbage, Shirley Manson is killed and replaced by a robotic duplicate of herself. Shirley Manson also appeared in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008). On that show, she played a female liquid metal T-1000 Terminator, who killed Zeira Corp Executive Catherine Weaver, and took her place.
Four James Bond movies have featured leading Bond Girls with a doctor qualification. Spectre (2015) is the first James Bond movie in around sixteen years where a leading Bond Girl had the profession of being a doctor. In Spectre (2015), Léa Seydoux's character is Dr. Madeleine Swann, a Doctor of Psychology, and is the fourth major Bond Girl in the official franchise to be a doctor. The last time in the film franchise that a Bond Girl was a doctor, there were two, Dr Christmas Jones (Denise Richards, a doctor of nuclear physics) and Dr. Molly Warmflash (Serena Scott Thomas, a physician to MI6 Agents), appeared in this movie. Prior to this, the first leading Bond Girl who was a doctor, was Dr. Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles) (a C.I.A. Agent, and an astronaut space scientist doctor of astrophysics) in Moonraker (1979). In the James Bond video games, James Bond in Agent Under Fire (2001) featured Dr. Natalya Damescu (Beatie Edney, voice); James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing (2003) featured Dr. Katya Nadanova (Heidi Klum); and 007 Legends (2012) also featured the above-mentioned Dr. Holly Goodhead (Jane Perry), while The World Is Not Enough (2000) also featured Dr. Christmas Jones (Sumalee Montano) as well as archive footage of Denise Richards from the movie version, also in the video game.
In early drafts of the script, the character that became Christmas Jones, was a Polynesian insurance investigator (this was changed to avoid confusion with Pierce Brosnan's female foil in The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)), Giulietta Da Vinci (Cigar Girl) was Sashenka Firo, and Dr. Molly Warmflash was Dr. Greatrex.
Judy Shekoni, who had a blink-and-you'll-miss-her cameo appearance in this film (she appeared in Valentin Zuckovsky's casino when Bond puts on the x-ray glasses), played Precious in the British television soap opera EastEnders (1985). Goldie, who played Zuckovsky's bodyguard Bullion, played gangster Angel in EastEnders (1985). Precious was his mistress.
Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell had unsuccessfully auditioned for a role in this movie. Former James Bond Sir Roger Moore and Alan Cumming, who played Boris Klenshenko in GoldenEye (1995), appeared in Spice World (1997), in which Geri Halliwell played herself.
Ray Brown: The bespectacled wheel clamper soaked by Bond during the Thames boat chase. His cameo was a topical "revenge" gag for the public, as he had been the most prominent star of a BBC fly-on-the-wall series called "Clampers", where his over-zealous behavior, and apparent enjoyment of clamping illegally parked cars, had made him a figure of popular hatred. He and the other actor were told that they would only get "slightly wet".
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Zukovsky saves Bond's life with a bullet from his modified walking cane. In GoldenEye (1995), it was revealed that Zukovsky walked with a cane because 007 shot him in the leg during the Cold War. This means that if Bond hadn't shot him, Zukovsky would never have been able to save him.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) provided the phrase "The World Is Not Enough" as Bond's family motto. This film is the first in the franchise since On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) to end with a reprise of the James Bond theme rather than a specialized song. Producer Barbara Broccoli has also summarized the parallel between the two plots: "With Elektra, Bond thinks he has found Tracy, but he's really found Blofeld."
In the early stages of production, there was a plan for Elektra to survive, and for the film to conclude with Bond visiting her in the hospital, while she recovered from Stockholm Syndrome. The proposed ending did not test well, and was quickly scrapped.
The film gets its title from On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), in which the villain Blofeld has allegedly cut off his earlobes in order to further his claim to the title of Count de Bleauchamp; in this movie, during the scene where Elektra admits to Bond that she is the main adversary, she reveals that during her kidnapping, she cut off her own earlobe.
Elektra King is slightly similar to Vesper Lynd, from Casino Royale (2006). Both betrayed Bond for the main villain. Although Elektra herself ends up being a main villain as well, and Vesper simply being blackmailed.