LONDON — James Bond has made a career of defeating dastardly Reds, but now he has been thwarted by the Communist government of Vietnam.
The Vietnamese authorities have withdrawn permission to shoot a substantial section of the latest Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies” in their country, forcing the filmmakers to switch locations to Thailand at the last minute.
Director Roger Spottiswoode and other key members of the production team were actually in the departure lounge at London’s Heathrow airport waiting to board a flight to Hanoi when they heard the news.
The official reason given by the Vietnamese government for its change of heart was that the country does not have the necessary technical infrastructure to cope with a Hollywood movie of such a scale.
But several reports have suggested that the Vietnam’s interior ministry decided it was inappropriate to play host to such a veteran crusader against Communism as 007.
“Tomorrow Never Dies” starts shooting April 1 in the U.K., and was due to spend three weeks filming in Vietnam from May 1. Producer Eon Prods. was planning to send a 200-member crew to the country, but only two or three were already there.
Eon Prods. spokesman Gordon Arnell said that the hurried switch to Thailand would not have major cost implica-tions or cause any significant delay. Shooting is still due to wrap Aug. 15, with the film being readied for a Christmas release.