MI6 got together with the underwater stunt coordinator of “Tomorrow Never Dies” Lee Sheward earlier this week to talk more about the film and Michelle Yeoh's sequences...

Lee Sheward Interview - Part 2
14th October 2003

MI6 got together with the underwater stunt coordinator of “Tomorrow Never Dies” Lee Sheward earlier this week for a chat. He also performed as a stuntman in “The World Not Enough”. In this four-part interview we chat about his work on “Tomorrow Never Dies” and his experience as a stuntman and the future of the industry.

Finding a Double

What were your responsibilities as the underwater stunt coordinator on "Tomorrow Never Dies"?
As the stunt coordinator, my overall responsibility is for the safety of the artist’s cast and crew so majority of the underwater sequence in “Tomorrow Never Dies” was run with doubles. We had two Bond doubles and we had three Michelle Yeoh doubles, then we went to two Michelle Yeoh doubles in the last week simply because there wasn't enough work for three. I used the other stuntmen Mark Southworth and Jamie Edgell as the principle doubles for Bond, with stunt safety guys looking after them.

The girls we used were actually models we brought in as Michelle had such a distinctive shape in a wetsuit it is hard enough on dry land to get a double for her. With all respect it is more important for them to look the part, so we used some models that I trained in diving to make the whole sequence work.

How long did it take to train the models?
I went to a couple of agencies, we got about 16 girls in and from those we culled out ones that didn’t make the grade in size and shape. Some were a couple of inches too tall or a couple of inches too short and some with physical stature that didn’t match Michelle’s. We then cut them down to four. They all had diving qualifications so they all knew how to scuba dive already but we built them an underwater assault course and had them swimming through bubbles, swimming through tubes holding their breath and free swimming as far as they could just so see who would get on with and interact with the boys as well as they could.

It was a bit of a crash course, about two days. But it was just to get a feeling of who could do what I was asking. Diving’s one thing, but actually working in an underwater film unit is something completely different.


Double vision - Despite having stunt stand-ins, Michelle Yeoh still performed some of her own underwater action on "Tomorrow Never Dies".

DVD Timecode

"Tomorrow Never Dies"
Underwater Rendezvous

What impression did you have of Michelle Yeoh?
In “Tomorrow Never Dies” in the underwater unit you see a tiny little torpedo tube and Michelle is swimming towards camera - that was her! We angled the tube at thirty degrees and she held her breath and swam through a 30ft plastic tube, with literally an inch clear on each shoulder. But with a mask on, with respect it could have been the double because you would have never know, it was just bubbles and air coming up at you. She did all that. She was more than game, a very capable lady.

Vic Armstrong is a legend in the stunt world and the Bond "family". What was it like working with him on the Bond projects?
Yes he is a legend in the stunt industry and obviously the Broccoli family absolutely loves him to bits and long let it carry on. I’ve worked with him on a number of productions going back to “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade” and then going through Bonds - how can you not learn from someone like with his experience? This CV speaks for itself, anyone who has done that amount of work in the time he has done in his working career. It's nice to sit back and look at how he works ,with my own experience and own work, I can learn so much from him it is invaluable.

Keep an eye out for the next part of the interview where we continue with the "The World is Not Enough" pre-credit sequence.

Many thanks to Lee Sheward.

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