|Pierce Brosnan as Ian Fleming's James Bond 007: the action hero for the late 1990s|
|US One Sheet poster for Tomorrow|
Never Dies by BE Design.
Japan, as usual, provided an interesting stake at the graphic promotions: an advance poster with Bond kissing Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) and a theatrical poster similar to the US version, but with the singularity of having Bond with his arms crossed and no gun.
|Photoshoot of Pierce Brosnan and|
Michelle Yeoh, used for the Japanese
promotions of the film.
But of course, the art of promoting the 18th official cinematic adventure of James Bond wouldn't end on the official advertisements. Heineken, Ericsson, Omega, BMW, L'Oreal, Visa sponsored the film the more they could with sweepstakes, commercials and posters. Heineken wasn't drank by Bond, who preferred the Smirnoff vodka for his Martini, but the unmistakable green cans could be seen as 007 and Wai Lin drive a BMW R1 200C bike trough Vietnam. Just like in GoldenEye, the German motor company also provided the standard issue car for the secret agent, this time a BMW 750il with a remote control hidden in a Ericsson mobile phone. On the other hand, L'Oreal promoted their make up collection using the face of Michelle Yeoh in their campaign, while Visa hired Pierce Brosnan, Desmond Llewelyn and Mad Men's Christina Hendricks for a very imaginative commercial.
After completing a very tight schedule and a troubled production, Tomorrow Never Dies was released on December 12, 1997. The screenplay suffered a number of writes and rewrites and some of the changes were added after the scenes were shot, something that made some of the actors feel a bit uncomfortable as MGM/United Artists were pressing for a Christmas release.
Initially, Bond 18 dealt with the handover of Hong Kong to China. Novelist Donald Westlake offered a draft to EON Productions by 1995, which was later rejected (it is available now as the novel Forever And a Death, not starring 007) so they turned to Bruce Feirstein once again. The American screenwriter, who has previously worked on GoldenEye, also wanted to use the handover as a crucial part of the plot. However, the producers felt they were walking on thin ice as a James Bond film would be attached to a very contemporary political event that nobody knew how how would it turn up.
|"Words are the new weapons, satellites the new artillery", warns the film's mastermind Elliot Carver, based|
on British media mogul Robert Maxwell.
After zapping trough TV channels, Feirstein noticed how two different news segments were giving different point of views on a conflict in the middle east, which gave him the idea of having a media mogul trying to provoke a war to raise his TV ratings. That's how the character of Elliot Harmsway, that would end up as Elliot Carver, turned out: a villain suspiciously based on the murky British press baron Robert Maxwell, whose "dead on the water" demise was conspiciously similar to the demise Carver is reported to have met in the movie.
Feirstein gave the movie some very good aditional characters: "Female Bond" Wai Lin, a Red Chinese Army Colonel; Paris Carver, who has the distinction of being married to the villain and to have been a sort of ex girlfriend of 007 (the scenes between the two are, perhaps, the only truly dramatic aspect in the story); Carver's sidekicks Stamper and Dr. Kaufman, a forensic medicine expert hired by the media baron to make-up his "bad news". We also have the return of Jack Wade from GoldenEye, who welcomes Commander Bond in a US South China Sea base and clears him to perform a risky HALO jump over Vietnam.
|Bond enjoying the extra features of|
his Ericsson phone - no, he didn't
install any app.
Another great addition to this crew would be a man who would become a Bond regular. Composer David Arnold set the sound of Pierce Brosnan's 007 with a style very reminiscent to John Barry's finest scores, but updated to the electronic-generated cues very common in the 1990s. From bombastic action percussion to oriental strings and techno riffs, the Tomorrow Never Dies soundtrack would be so successful that Arnold would return for every Bond film until 2008's Quantum of Solace, starring Daniel Craig as the secret agent. The main and end title song were performed by popular artists at the time, Sheryl Crow and k.d. Lang. The mythical James Bond Theme also got a techno remix by Moby, which was included in the soundtrack album and was used for promotions across the globe.
Two decades after its release, Tomorrow Never Dies remains one of the most entertaining Bond films in the series and a landmark in the emergence of a new wave of Bondmania in the late 1990s and new millenium.