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".
The boat chase took 7 weeks to shoot, as the 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 River Thames. Two "Clamper" policemen were disturbed in their line of duty during filming, being soaked so much that one of them ended up nearly going over the front of the car they were supposed to be clamping. Needless to say, their reactions in the film are very much real. 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.
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.
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.
In early drafts of the script, the character that became Christmas Jones was a Polynesian insurance investigator, Giulietta Da Vinci (Cigar Girl) was Sashenka Firo, and Dr. Molly Warmflash was Doctor Greatrex.
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."
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.
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 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.
Before the shoots even begun, a set was being built in Turkey and it was almost done. One day when the director of the movie was touring around Istanbul, a bombing event took place. Therefore the 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.
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.
This was the first film to feature the newly constructed Millennium Dome, built for London's New Year's celebration of 1999/2000. There was a line allegedly said by M at the end of the opening sequence which was cut where she says: "Well, at least the Millennium Dome has some use".
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".
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.
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.
Elektra King's oil pumping building, 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 extended this cylinder into the pipeline with computer graphics.
Sarah Donohue, a British model with years of powerboat racing experience was the stunt double of Maria Grazia Cucinotta for the boat chase scene. Prior to that, she had just recovered from serious injuries sustained from a powerboat racing accident. Being a blonde meant that she had to wear a wig.
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 for L.A. for any Bond movie, the first was 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 a techno remix of the James Bond theme was used instead.
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).
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 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 hate.
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."
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.