MI6 got together with the underwater stunt coordinator
of “Tomorrow Never Dies” Lee Sheward
earlier this week for a chat about shooting underwater,
and what was cut from the final film...
Lee Sheward Interview - Part 3
20th 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 third installment of a four-part interview we chat about
his coordinating work on “Tomorrow
Never Dies” and the bits that did not make the final film...
How long does it typically take to prep and underwater crew
We "The Stunt Dept" had a
week on the Devonshire water tank set. The set had been built on
dry land and then put into the tank and then flooded. We had to
do with the set. The whole thing was on a hydraulic rig so where
you see the model unit and the rocks collapsing from below the
ship, that’s the model unit. Then the ship starts to tilt,
that’s all the model unit. Then it cuts back to Bond and
Michelle in the missile room, the room starts to tilt. The thing
that really gives it away is you see the chain block the pulley
blocks slide across the set and get the impression the whole
thing is tipping then the missile racks all collapse and knock
The whole thing had to be tested to speed on exactly how
fast it’s going to go and how it was going to react. For
example, if the stunt doubles could get through the door in
time before it
everything was a real weight, and at weight wouldn’t have
fallen with the same emphasis. And those racks holding missiles...
you didn’t want to get caught under those and crushed flat!
So it took maybe a week of camera tests and filming
in the set (as we would in a normal filming situation) and then
developing the film and finding out what it was like and what
it would look
like before shooting it properly.
Were you given any artistic licence when shooting the underwater
I wasn’t really given any artistic license
to change anything to put my opinion in whilst doing it for the
best way to achieve something, because I came on really quite
late on in the sequence or in the film. It had all been storyboarded
and you know the writers, producers and director had all talked
it over for weeks and months probably.
Was anything cut from the final film?
We actually shot a lot more than was in the film. There was
actually a whole sequence where Bond and the girl came out of
room into a corridor and into another anti-chamber and then the
door gets shut and locked and then they take there diving gear
off and then they swim up through the funnels and escape. It
never made the final cut of the movie. It was probably a third
more than is in the film, which was never used, purely
because of the length of the movie. The problem with underwater
sequences is that it’s hard to make them look exciting
and dynamic, because being underwater slows things it’s
more of a tension thing than a fast action stunt thing.
How did you make this sequence different from previous Bonds?
Obviously the biggest two are “Thunderball” and “For
Your Eyes Only”. Both have completely different objectives
of what was being achieved. “Thunderball” was
a huge underwater battle, whereas“For Your Eyes Only” has
Bond in a stiffened suit fighting a shark and the odd guy. This
one was more trying to escape from a sinking ship. So it’s
a slight variant to that, everything was already
storyboarded before I got there. Hopeful next time they'll ask
for a few ideas and let us come up with something new.
Were there any heart-stopping moments during you time on the
or did everything go to plan?
Any sequences on Bond or the bigger stuff can be heart stopping,
Bond pushes the limits of what we
can and can’t do. They are definitely aimed at being the
action movie for everything being cutting edge, and the sequences
done over the years have been very exciting and heart
stopping with the adrenalin rush you get working on a Bond film.
Everything goes to plan... nine times out of ten. On
the Bond films nobody has been injured and nothings gone totally
maybe the timing on one or two things hasn’t exactly worked
perfectly. That’s down to planning and preparation. With
the right planning and preparation it works well and it's only
change things at
the last minute, or don’t rehearse well enough, or don’t
get the right personnel in that it doesn’t work properly.
Keep an eye out for the final part of the interview where we
chat about personal favourites, playing the goon, and
the role CGI.
Many thanks to Lee Sheward.
Sheward Interview (1)
Sheward Interview (2)
Sheward Interview (4)
MI6 "Tomorrow Never
Dies " Coverage