A kidnapping of the M character 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.
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 (famous for playing 'Q') died in an auto accident soon after the movie opened. 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 features a tribute montage of his appearances in 17 Bond films over 36 years.
The film's title, "The World is Not Enough" is the translation of the Latin motto, "Orbis non sufficit", given to George Lazenby's Bond when he researches his own coat of arms in the 1969 film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).
Denise Richards was attracted to the role of 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.
The Q boat can achieve 80mph on the water. During the making of the film, it was discovered only by accident that its 350 horsepower engines could literally force the bow of the boat under water. The move was written into the film.
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.
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.
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", 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.
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 the director, due to security reasons. Not a single cast member actually 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 blue/green screen.
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 stunt men 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 actors who worked on the film.
This was the first film to feature the newly constructed Millennium Dome, built for London's New Year's celebration of 1999/2000. 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 para-hawk 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 whilst filming the sequence, one of his skis detaching and nearly clipping the edge of the parachute.
The film's title song "The World is Not Enough" sung by Garbage did not chart in the USA whilst in the UK it peaked at the No. #11 spot on the UK Charts. The movie's soundtrack album went to the No. #106 spot on the UK Charts. There are two versions of the soundtrack, the second one differs in that it includes a 20th track entitled "Sweetest Coma Again" sung by Japanese rock band 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.
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.
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.
The film's story was inspired by a segment in the 13 November 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 a number of casinos. The episode showed how this oil reserve was now an opportunity for the western world to capitalize on 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.
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.
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.
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".
In the music video of "The World is Not Enough" by Garbage, Shirley Manson plays a robot replica who kills the real Shirley Manson and takes her place. Later in the TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008), Shirley Manson played a T1000 liquid metal Terminator android who kills a CEO and takes the real CEO's place.
Elektra King's oil pumping facility, with the oil pipeline on its roof, is actually 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 director 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 included Q's unfinished fishing boat, the black one-seater jet-craft aquatic Bentz Boats custom-built Q-boat; a silver metallic 400 hp gadget-laden BMW Z8 convertible roadster; the King Helicopter, a Eurocopter AS-355F1 Ecureuil Twin Star (or Twin Squirrel) helicopter with 5-blade buzz-saw 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 motor yacht speedboat and Renard's Sunseeker Manhattan 50 Flybridge motoryacht; Valentin Zukvosky's white Rolls Royce Silver Shadow; a Lada Niva 4WD ute; an army jeep; a Russian Atomic 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.
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 release of the Z8 by a few months, several working mock-ups and models were manufactured for filming purposes.
The world premiere of The World Is Not Enough (1999) was held on 8 November 1999 at two cinemas: Bruin & Fox's Theatre and Mann's Village Chinese Theater, both in Los Angeles, California. It was the second Bond movie in the official series to launch in California; the first was 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 USA, after the above-mentioned and GoldenEye (1995). The European and British premiere was held at the regular Bond launch venue, London's Leicester Square Odeon Theatre on 22 November 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 2nd of BMW's 3-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 Vodka i.e. 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 $100 million in product placements for this movie.
Having directed this movie, director Michael Apted has now been associated with two of the longest series ever in film history, the James Bond movies and the Seven Up! (1964) Documentaries. Amusingly, this movie was once jokingly referred to by the media as "OO7 Up".
A handful of villains and henchmen in the James Bond universe have had a "Mr." title moniker. The Mr. Hinx henchman (Dave Bautista) and Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) characters both appear in Spectre (2015) but share no scenes together. Spectre (2015) also features a henchman called Mr. Guerra (Benito Sagredo) resulting in the movie having three characters that have a "Mr." title moniker. Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) has appeared in three Daniel Craig James Bond films: Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), and Spectre (2015) - the most Bond films for any henchman type character after Jaws who appeared in two Bond movies. In Dr. No (1962), there was a henchman called Mr. Jones (Reggie Carter); in Goldfinger (1964), there was a henchman called Mr. Ling (Burt Kwouk); in You Only Live Twice (1967), there was a villain called Mr. Osato (Teru Shimada); in The World Is Not Enough (1999), there were two: Mr. Bullion (Goldie) and Mr Lachaise (Patrick Malahide); in Die Another Day (2002), there was a henchman called Mr. Kil (Lawrence Makoare); in Live and Let Die (1973), as with its source 'Ian Fleming novel of the same name, the arch-villain was called Mr. Big, but in the film version he was also known as Dr. Kananga, with the character's real full name in the source book being Buonaparte Ignace Gallia; in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), there were two henchmen with a Mr. title moniker, Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) and Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith), who functioned as a buddy-team henchmen double-act; in Ian Fleming's novel of "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1962), the villain's employer was Mr. Sanguinetti, but this character does not appear in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) movie. Moreover, a 1987 James Bond novel by John Gardner was entitled "No Deals, Mr. Bond" which reflects how the iconic spy character himself can also be known using a "Mr" name moniker as well.
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."
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 the NBC sitcom 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 1 (2003-04) of the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men (2003).
Judy Shekoni, who has a blink-and-you'll-miss-her scene in this film (she appears in Valentin Zuckovsky's casino when Bond puts on the x-ray glasses), went on to play Precious in the British TV soap EastEnders. Goldie, who plays Zuckovsky's bodyguard Bullion, played gangster Angel in EastEnders. Precious was his mistress.
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 has 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 series 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 doctor who is a physician to MI6 agents), both appearing in The World Is Not Enough (1999). Prior to this, the first leading Bond Girl who was a doctor was Dr Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles) (a CIA 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) features Dr. Natalya Damescu (Beatie Edney - voice); James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing (2003) features Dr. Katya Nadanova (Heidi Klum); and 007 Legends (2012) also features the above-mentioned Dr. Holly Goodhead (Jane Perry), whilst The World Is Not Enough (2000) also features 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 Doctor Greatrex.
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 behaviour and apparent enjoyment of clamping illegally parked cars had made him a figure of popular hate. He and the other actor were actually 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.
The boat chase took 7 weeks to shoot, as the river Thames' 9-MPH boat speed limit had to be factored in. The filming of the boat chase sequence was broadcast live over the Internet via webcam 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 anticlimactic. As such, it was brought forward and had to be shortened. As it is now, this 14-to-15-minute opener is still the longest pre-credits sequence ever in a James Bond movie.
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 series since OHMSS 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."
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 TWINE, 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.
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.
Sir Robert King's funeral is set in Scotland but was actually filmed just outside of London. Judi Dench was appearing in a play in the West End at the time and wouldn't have been able to fly to Scotland.