MI6 looks back at the history of Bond 18 script and the variety of sequences and characters that differed from the final film...

Tomorrow Never Dies Script History (1)
14th December 2007

The history of the "Bond 18" script - which would ultimately be titled "Tomorrow Never Dies" - started with a treatment delivered by novelist Donald Westlake before "GoldenEye" had opened in theatres. After Piece Brosnan as successfully launched as the new 007 for the '90s, Westlake's treatment was dropped and American writer Bruce Feirstein returned from his duties on Brosnan's debut to start afresh. Feirstein, who was a friend of producer Barbara Broccoli before "GoldenEye", started work on a plot involving the imminent hand-over of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule . The first draft script was delivered in August 1996.

After "GoldenEye" director Martin Campbell turned down an offer to helm its follow-up, MGM and Eon Productions settled on Roger Spottiswoode to head-up Pierce Brosnan's second outing as 007. Spottiswoode's first priority was to oversee a reworking of Feirstein's draft which had been delivered that same month. A group of seven screenwriters were flown from Hollywood to London for a 'free weekend' to offer suggestions and improvements - but nobody would be paid or credited. But out of the seven, Nicholas Meyer was invited to write based on the quality of his ideas, and further rewrites were performed by David Campbell Wilson and Daniel Petrie Jnr all under the watchful eye of director Spottiswoode.

With just a week to go before principal photography was scheduled to start, Feirstein was recalled and took back the reigns. The ensuing scramble to polish the script for shooting would be the subject of several media reports covering the production, with many claiming friction on set between writer, director, producers and cast.


Character Outline
James Bond Agent 007
Bill Tanner MI6 Chief of Staff
M MI6 Head
Admiral Roebuck British Navy
General Bukharin Russian Army
Jenny Wu Chinese Linguist
Dominque Everheart NATO Rep
Richard Stamper Hired head-hunter
Kim Dae Yung Nuclear physicist
Peter Johnstone UK MP
Malcolm Saunders Equipment Branch
Paris Harmsway MI6 informant
Signore Digiacomo Italian Intelligence
Elliott Harmsway Media Baron
Valentin Zukovsky Ukrainian Premiere
General Li Chinese Army
Jack Wade CIA
Sidney Winch Gold hunter

Ten years since the release of "Tomorrow Never Dies", MI6 takes an indepth look at the initial draft by Bruce Feirstein with sequences, characters and locations that never made it to the final shooting script.


In a break with tradition, Feirstein pencils the famous gunbarrel sequence in after the pretitles, before the main credits. This is ultimately restored to its regular position in the final film, but the idea would be recycled for "Casino Royale" in 2006.

Extended Pre-titles
The August 1996 draft sees an extra sequence at the beginning of the pre-titles. It opens with Bond climbing an ice shelf in the Khyber Pass to reach the terrorist's base. Half way up the 500-foot cliff the ice begins to crumble - one shelf gives way completely leaving Bond dangling by one very fragile rope. 007 swings to and fro until he gains enough momentum to swing up and hook an ice pick in the frozen wall. Next to his position is the torrent of a waterfall. Edging his way across the waterfall, looking for a decent handhold, Bond struggles on. He clambers up through the waterfall and finally, groaning and straining and soaking wet, makes it to the top. At the pinnacle he stands and surveys his handy-work - two surveillance devices are tactically positioned leaving the waterway the only space where 007 could slip in undetected. Bond presses on, unpacking a folded set of skies and telescopic ski-polls.

Above: The rocky, foreboding peaks of the Khyber Pass are rarely snow-covered.

Bond is now slaloming between tall pine trees on the downhill stretch in an attempt to stay undetected. When he reaches a rocky outcrop he slows and stops.

Looking over the edge, 50 feet below, there is a flat plain where bulky men are unloading a variety of illegal weapons - the highlight of these are two stolen MiG-29s, Korean export.

This is the start of the terrorist arms bazaar seen in the final film, but the concept actually dates back to an early draft of "The Living Daylights".

The rest of the sequence progresses much like the final film. With the surveillance in play, Admiral Roebuck signals an aerial missile strike, but all too hastily. 007 spies the missing Russian nuclear materials and the action erupts as he defies orders and goes to retrieve the bomb. Much of the dialogue remains the same (between Bond, Tanner, M and Admiral Roebuck) but lacks the punchy banter between M and the Admiral.

A Little Chinese
Post-credits, Bond is found under-the-covers with a lovely Chinese girl - Jenny Wu - who until the call of duty had been tucked up with 007 on a lavish couch in a quiet corner of a private library. While Bond chats to Moneypenny about his orders, he watches the young Jenny pull on a graduation gown.

In the film, Bond is at Oxford University (implied but not stated in this draft) brushing up on a little Danish. There's no room for Jenny Wu this time, but the vacuum is filled by Cecilie Thomsen to play Professor Bergstrom.

In Harms Way
In another corner of the library is television blaring out HNN - the Harmsway News Network. Elliott Harmsway is the face of modern media and in the Feirstein draft there is no sign of "Carver", although the premise to the character remains. Harmsway is villain of the piece and his global media network reaches to all corners of the world.

Above: Cecilie Thomsen goes under-cover with 007 in the first act of Tomorrow Never Dies...

Debriefing With Everheart
Bond is summoned to a debriefing with M and Col. Dominique Everheart of NATO. She identifies two of the men from Bond's surveillance videos: Kim Dae Yung - a North Korean physicist with experience with the Nuclear Regime, and Rendera Sikrahm (aka Richard Stamper) - head-hunter, trained in torture and espionage. From here Bond is whisked to M's office for the official mission briefing. Feirstein's draft sees the meeting involve the Minister Peter Johnstone. In the film, this meeting is made dynamic by transplanting it to the back of M's limo with M, Robinson and Moneypenny.

M's scenes were largely the same in the first draft, but she was later given snappier dialogue.

In the briefing with M, the plot is unraveled and we discover Elliott Harmsway has connections to both goons identified on Bond's recording. Johnstone is interested in the politics; protecting the image of the government following the recent knighthood of Harmsway. In the final draft, Carver is connected to the robbery of an American Satellite decoder. Feirstein's original plot is simpler: 007 is assigned to Venice where he is tasked to investigate Harmsway's involvement in the acquisition of missing uranium (a similar plot device would be later recycled in the next-film, "The World Is Not Enough").

Close, but not the Quartermaster
Q, with the premise of being on a "fishing trip", does not appear for his usual briefing in this draft. Instead, his junior Saunders arms Bond with a long distance cigarette lighter (flame throwing for up to 40m), plastic explosive shoelaces and code-breaking swipe card - ready to break into any card mechanism Bond may uncover. For several years Desmond Llewleyn had reportedly requested a departure scene to be written - and in Feirstein's early draft Saunders is introduced as a replacement for the old, loveable Quartermaster. Both the fishing trip and his retirement would be later seen in "The World Is Not Enough".

Masks Of Venice
Bond is disembarking from a lavish gondola and onto the shore where he is to rendezvous with his contact at Harmsway's exotic party - the only trouble is that every guest is dressed for the masked ball. 007 makes his way through the crowd, finally donning the mask he was assigned for identification purposes. He is discovered and lead by a strange, mysterious woman to a deserted corner of the Venetian party. Unmasked, the woman is Paris Harmsway and, as in the shooting script, an ex-lover of Bond. What differs is her personality: Paris is clingy and troubled by her husband's dealings. She confirms that her husband is behind the nuclear plot. The sight of a gaggle of Harmsway's goons breaks up their embrace - the leader of the pack is Stamper. Stamper and his thugs engage Bond in a rough chase through the dark Venice alleyways before 007 can shake off the men.

Above: The Venetian Canals would have made for a haunting chase sequence

This sequence is reminiscent of Bond's infiltration of Carver's launch party in Hamburg and the rendezvous with Paris that appears in the final script, but the location and various characters appear differently. The same purpose is served: Bond learns the location of the stolen goods and reunites with his ex-lover.

Press Pandemonium
Bond sips coffee with Digiacomo from the Italian Secret Service. Across the dock, Harmsway's luxury launch The Sea Dolphin II is moored. It is here that Elliott Harmsway is hosting his press conference. After leaving his meeting with his Italian ally, Bond boards the Sea Dolphin in time for one of Harmsway's infamous self-appreciating speeches. Just like Elliot Carver, the arrogant Harmsway loves the sound of his own voice.

It is in this sequence that we spot a familiar face - Valentin Zukovsky - who has just be "elected" the Premier of the Ukraine. While Harmsway reviles in the press attention, Bond slips away to check out the villain's headquarters.

Bond searches below decks, carefully avoiding the various security personal on board. He uses his swipe-card gadget to get himself into a high-security office.

After some poking around he locates the red box he remembers from the Khyber Pass - inside is the missing uranium. During his snooping he is interrupted by a noise outside. Yung enters moments after Bond slips out by another door.

Above: Robbie Coltrane would have to wait another film to reprise his role.

This sequence is later replaced with 007 looking around Caver's printing factory and Gupter's office - instead of finding the uranium, as in this early draft, Bond locates and retrieves the GPS satellite tracking system.

The Russian Connection
Back on deck, Bond comes face to face with Zukovsky. Very conscious of trying to keep a low profile, Bond is reluctant to talk with Valentin. The ex-Russian Mafia boss buys 007 a drink and introduces him to Harmsway. The moment pleasantries are exchanged, Digiacomo - who is armed to the teeth and backed up by a variety of military personal- comes charging up the gang plank with a warrant for Harmway's arrest.

Harmsway bluffs his way out of the deal, "proving" that it is depleted uranium and "totally safe" - a gift from his Russian friends. Bond is left alone on deck with Paris who pleads with Bond to save her from her evil husband. They agree to meet at his hotel room. Once the authorities have cleared off in a haze of embarrassment, it is revealed that Yung switched the lethal uranium for its less-deadly cousin!

Above: Teri Hatcher would later sign on to play Bond's ex-lover in "Tomorrow Never Dies"

Bond returns to his hotel for his rendezvous with Paris - but too late! He finds her dead in his hotel suite and Digiacomo is ready to make the arrest. Bond has been set up. While Zukovsky doesn't make the final cut of "Tomorrow Never Dies", Paris meets her same fate. She is assassinated under orders of her husband, with 007 framed to take the blame.

Stay tuned to MI6 for the final two acts of the plot as well as other features and facts in the "Tomorrow Never Dies" 10th Anniversary season of coverage...

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Tomorrow Never Dies - Script History (Act 1)
Tomorrow Never Dies - Script History (Act 2)
Tomorrow Never Dies - Script History (Act 3)
Tomorrow Never Dies - Production Notes
Tomorrow Never Dies - Movie Index