BOND: 10 Things You Might Not Know About DIE ANOTHER DAY - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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BOND: 10 Things You Might Not Know About DIE ANOTHER DAY

Geek Dave lived to die another day.

1. Die Another Day marked the official James Bond film franchise's 40th anniversary. In honour of the occasion, the film includes references to each of the preceding cinematic instalments. Most of them can be seen as props in Q's lab (the jetpack from Thunderball, Rosa Klebb's poison-tipped shoe seen in From Russia With Love, the crocodile disguise from Octopussy, etc - we compiled an article with all the references we spotted here), while some are hidden in the script, for instance villain Gustav Graves claims "Diamonds are for everyone". Q also mentions that the watch he issues Bond is "your 20th, I believe".

Another nice touch came in the form of the book that 007 picks up from the Cuban sleeper. It is titled "A Field Guide to Birds of the West Indies", written by James Bond. This was a real book, first published in 1936. You might not know that Ian Fleming was an avid birdwatcher, and he named Bond after the author this book that he owned.

2. In early drafts of the script, it was Wai Lin (as played by Michelle Yeoh in Tomorrow Never Dies) who aided Bond in Hong Kong, but the idea fell through and Chinese special agent Mr. Chang was created to replace her. 

3. The DVD commentary reveals that the movie was originally inspired by the Ian Fleming novel "Moonraker", as the previous cinematic adaptation of Moonraker left out many elements from the book. This revelation made Die Another Day the first Bond movie since Licence to Kill (1989) to take inspiration from a Fleming novel.

In early drafts of the screenplay, the character of Miranda Frost was named Gala Brand (this was the name of the Bond Girl in Fleming's novel "Moonraker"). In the end, after multiple re-writes, the only elements of the novel to survive, in a fashion, were the theme of the villain having plastic surgery to conceal his real identity (in the novel, a grenade exploded in Drax's face), and the villain posing as a patriot by creating a space device claiming to help the government, when it is actually a weapon. The duel between James Bond and Gustav Graves in a club called "Blades" is also inspired by "Moonraker". However, in the original novel, Bond and villain Drax have a different sort of duel in Blades, a game of cards.

4. Madonna appears in Die Another Day as Verity, the fencing instructor, making this the first James Bond movie to feature a cameo by the performer who sings the theme song. Her uncredited cameo was the final scene shot during principal photography. When James Bond introduces himself to Gustav before they fight, Madonna was originally to introduce him with the catchphrase, "Bond. James Bond." However, it was later decided that fans would prefer the line coming from Pierce Brosnan.

5. One of the extras in that fencing scene is Justin Lewellyn, son of Desmond Llewelyn.

6. The title song for Die Another Day was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song and the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, but also for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song of 2002 (while Madonna herself won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress for her cameo).

7. Reportedly 20 companies, paying $70 million, had their products featured in the film, a record at the time (although USA Today reported that number to potentially be as high as $100 million). Among the licensed (to kill) tie-in's were;
  • Ford produced a limited-edition 007-branded 2003 Thunderbird as a tie-in for the film, featuring a similar paint job to Jinx's car (matching her bikini).
  • Revlon produced "007 Colour Collection" makeup inspired by Jinx.
  • Possibly the oddest though is the "Bond Barbie" dolls inspired by the franchise, featuring a red shawl and an evening dress designed by Lindy Hemming, and sold in a gift set with Ken posing as Bond in a tuxedo designed by the Italian fashion house Brioni.

8. Bond producer Michael G. Wilson has a cameo in Die Another Day as General Chandler. This film marked Wilson's first credited cameo performance in a James Bond movie but he can also be seen in an uncredited cameo as a man leaning against a car in Cuba.

Wilson has made an uncredited cameo in every EON Productions Bond movie since The Spy Who Loved Me, as well as an early one in Goldfinger (1964). We rounded up all of Michael G. Wilson's cameos here.

9. Die Another Day had its world premiere on 18th November 2002 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were guests of honour, making it only the second Bond film premiere to be attended by the Queen (the first one being You Only Live Twice in 1967).

Among the other distinguished guests at the premiere were Sir Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, and, of course, Pierce Brosnan. Sir Sean Connery could not be there due to filming commitments for his final movie to date were over-running. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen started shooting on June 28th 2002 and wrapped six days after the Die Another Day premiere on November 24th 2002.

10. In 2003, speculation arose of a spin-off film concentrating on Halle Berry's character Jinx. The film was said to have a scheduled release date of November/December 2004. the original report claimed that MGM was keen to set up a film series that would be a "winter olympics" alternative to the main James Bond film series. (This wasn't the first time in recent Bond history that a spin-off series had been considered as in the late 1990s MGM had looked into developing a spin-off film based on Michelle Yeoh's Tomorrow Never Dies character, Wai Lin.)

However, despite much speculation of an imminent movie, on 26th October 2003, Variety reported that MGM had completely pulled the plug on this project, to the dismay of Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions, who were reported to be "clearly furious" about the decision. After some negativity surrounding the finished product of Die Another Day, MGM was keen to wipe the slate and move on with the next James Bond film, Casino Royale.

Which we will get to next time when James Bond returns...

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