| I want you to clean up this mess, 007|
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- "Gentlemen and ladies, hold the presses. This just in: by curious quirk of fate, we have the perfect story with which to launch our satellite news network tonight. It seems a small crisis is brewing in the South China Seas. I want full newspaper coverage, I want magazine stories, I want books, I want films, I want TV, I want radio, I want us on the air 24 hours a day! This is OUR moment! And a billion people around this planet will watch it, hear it, and read about it from the Carver Media Group. There's no news..... like bad news."
- ― Carver informing his department heads of the sinking of the Devonshire
Elliot Carver was a fictional British media baron who attempted to provoke a war between the United Kingdom and China in order to destroy the Chinese government and use the new government to obtain exclusive broadcasting rights in China. The character was the main antagonist in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies and was portrayed by British actor Jonathan Pryce. Carver also appeared in Raymond Benson's accompanying novelization as well in his 1999 video game adaptation, voiced by Steve Hope Wynne.
Elliot Carver was born in Hong Kong, officially an orphan. He is the illegitimate son of a German woman who died in childbirth and Lord Roverman, a press tycoon. A Chinese family took the boy for a one-time fee of fifty pounds. Thirty years later, Carver confronted and blackmailed Roverman into suicide and took over his media empire.
Elliot Carver went to college in Hong Kong and received a degree in the communication arts. He was hired as a meteorologist at a Hong Kong Television Station; a few years later, he became the anchorman of the station. He often sexually harassed his female coworkers, to the point that one of them fled Hong Kong to get away from him.
Becoming a Media Figure
In the present, Carver is a billionaire international media mogul of the German-based mass media company, the Carver Media Group Network. He frequently uses his influence to gain an advantage for his firm or wreak havoc on opponents. Moreover, CMG doesn't merely report the news – it creates it; CMGN is the first to report on scandals and disasters because it causes them to happen. A scene of Carver's daily teleconference with the various heads of his divisions demonstrates this: Jeff Hobbs reports "floods in Pakistan, riots in Paris and a plane crash in California"; Philip Jones has all current releases of CMG's software are loaded with bugs that will force consumers to upgrade for years, etc. To boost his viewership, Carver instructs Tom Wallace to call the President of the United States and threaten to release scandalous photos of him with a cheerleader in a Chicago hotel room if he doesn't sign a bill lowering cable rates - and then to release the photos anyway when he complies.
During the CMGN Satellite Network inaugural party, Carver denies a rumour to his guests that after British beef baron Sir Angus Black lost £10,000 in a game of poker to him and refused to pay up, he exacted revenge by releasing stories on Mad Cow Disease. He further claimed there was even less truth to the rumour the French paid him 100 million francs to keep the stories running for another year.
Attempting to provoke war
Carver attempts to provoke a war between China and the United Kingdom, hoping to wipe out the existing Chinese leadership in Beijing for a friendlier political atmosphere would allow the Carver Media Group Network to secure exclusive broadcasting rights in China for the next century, something that the existing Chinese politicians have refused. To that end, Carver arranges for a stealth ship to be built, thanks to some stealth material smuggled by Chinese general Chang, who intends to take over the Chinese government as part of his deal with Carver.
In order to start his plan, Carver sent American "techno-terrorist" Henry Gupta to purchase a GPS encoder (made by the American military) from a terrorist arms bazaar. Meaconing the GPS signal using the encoder, Gupta sends the British frigate HMS Devonshire off-course into Chinese-held waters in the South China Sea, where Carver has Richard Stamper and Captain Scott oversee the sinking of the British warship HMS Devonshire in the South China Sea at the hands of his torpedo-like "Sea-Vac" drill (piloted by Timblin) launched from the stealth ship. Carver then has his men steal a cruise missile from the sunken ship, which they have made impossible to be tracked by the British Government.
M sends James Bond to investigate Carver after Carver Media releases news with critical details hours before these have become known to wider media, and MI6 noticed a spurious signal from one of his CMGN communications satellites when the frigate was sunk. Bond travels to Hamburg and infiltrates Carver's launch party for his new satellite network and meets the villain for the first time. He also finds Paris Carver. However, Carver develops an instant suspicion of James Bond when the spy questions him regarding the sunken ship. He has his henchmen capture and attempt to interrogate Bond, but he escapes and cuts off power to Carver's live international broadcast, sabotaging the party and ruining Carver's image.
Later, Carver learns by Gupta that Bond is a secret agent and that it was him who caused him and his network international embarrassment. So, he tells Paris to get information from him as to why he was at the party and what he knows. However, when Carver discovers that both Paris and Bond are ex-lovers and that Paris was less than honest with him about her past relationship with Bond, he has Paris killed by assassin Dr. Kaufman, who is skilled in the art of chakra torture. This establishes for Bond a personal motivation to complete his mission, although many Bond movies include the "sacrificial lamb" to spur the British secret agent along the way.
Investigating the Devonshire wreck in the South China Sea, Bond and Chinese People's External Security Force agent Wai Lin are captured by Stamper and taken to the CMGN tower in Saigon, who seeks to have their obituaries as the first headline for the new tower. Meeting with them, Carver reveals his plans to the pair and prepares to have them tortured by Stamper. However, they manage to escape and subsequently collaborate on the investigation.
Final Showdown and Death
- "I may have some breaking news for you: You forgot the first rule of mass media, Elliot: Give the people what they want!"
- ― Bond, before killing Carver
They find Carver's stealth ship in Ha Long Bay and board it to prevent him firing the stolen British cruise missile at Beijing. During the battle, Wai Lin is captured, but Bond manages to escape by using one of Carver's henchmen to fake his death. On the ship's bridge, Bond captures Gupta to use as his own hostage, but Carver kills Gupta, claiming he has "outlived his contract" as everything is now set up for the destruction of Beijing and the next stage of Carter's plan to provoke war. Although now cornered, Bond detonates an explosive, damaging the ship and making it visible to radar, and vulnerable to a subsequent Royal Navy attack. Carver eventually finds Bond and holds him at gunpoint, explaining to him that by destroying his stealth ship, he is also destroying any evidence of Carver's actions. Bond secretly activates the sea drill Carver used to sink HMS Devonshire, and while Carver is distracted, Bond grapples with him and disarms him. He then holds a screaming Carver in front of the approaching drill, informing him that he forgot that the first rule of mass media is to give the people what they want, and releases him at the last possible second, allowing the drill to shred him to pieces while Bond escapes.
Bond's attempt later defeated Carver's plan by positioning detonators on the missile to ensure it would be blown up before it can launch. Although interrupted by Stamper who plunges Wai Lin into the water, Bond continues to place the explosives and confronts Stamper before saving Wai Lin from drowning. Both are protected underwater when the missile explodes, which kills a pinned Stamper and destroys the stealth ship.
With Carver's plan foiled, M releases a news story stating that Carver has drowned while on board his luxury yacht in the South China Sea, while the authorities believed he committed suicide.
Raymond Benson's novelization to the film adds more background to Carver's pre-film biography. The film itself mentioned that he previously worked for a newspaper in Hong Kong, but the novel reveals that he was the illegitimate son of the British newspaper baron Lord Roverman and a German prostitute. His mother died in childbirth, and his father paid a Hong Kong family to take him in. His foster father revealed on his deathbed who Carver's father really was. Carver went on to become a TV anchor in Hong Kong until he went to England to notify his father that he knew who he was, and his father tried to bribe him into never coming back. Carver then met Stamper and had him follow his father, and Stamper discovered that Lord Roverman was having an affair with an American prostitute, and that he enjoyed dressing up in a Catholic school-girl's uniform while she spanked him. Carver tortured his father with this information until Lord Roverman re-wrote his will to make Carver his sole heir. Roverman then went back to America to find that Stamper had already murdered his mistress. Stamper then gave Roverman a gun and pressured him to commit suicide which he subsequently did. Roverman's wife and daughter tried to contest his will as they did not even know of Carver's existence, but Carver won in court and inherited his father's fortune.
To be added
Personality & Appearance
Personality-wise, Carver is manipulative and vengeful, remorselessly murdering anyone he deems useless or a traitor. Carver is also vain and highly narcissistic, going so far as to decorate his headquarters and other places pertaining to his media empire, with tapestries and over sized banners that bear his visage.
It also appears that Carver has a rather unique affinity for television screens since all of his bases are saturated with unusually grand quantities of video screens, some large enough to cover several meter-high walls.
Physically speaking, Carver poses no real threat and would much rather rely upon his vast legion of henchmen before getting involved in any altercations himself. Possessing a rather wiry frame coupled with a thinning head of neatly trimmed grey hair, Caver (in traditional Bond Villain fashion) owns a series of identical black Nehru suit jackets which he wears on a daily basis. The media baron usually wears these vestments over a black mock-neck shirt and black dress slacks. His most distinguishing feature is perhaps, his reflective steel rimmed glasses with which he is never seen without.
Henchmen and Associates
- "Caesar had his legions, Napoleon had his armies, I have my divisions: TV, news, magazines. And by midnight tonight, I'll have reached out to and influenced more people than anybody in the history of this planet, save God himself. And the best He ever managed was the Sermon on the Mount."
- ― Elliot Carver to James Bond
- "Delicious. Make sure you clear all the mines and bring the girl to me. (Gupta: Are you sure you want her here?) It's my business, Mr. Gupta. I like an audience."
- ― Carver to Gupta after capturing Wai Lin
- "Oh, how romantic. Do you realize how absurd your position is? (Bond: No more absurd than starting a war for ratings!) Great men have always manipulated the media to save the world. Look at William Randolph Hearst, who told his photographers, "You provide the pictures, I'll provide the war." I've just taken it one step further."
- ― Carver justifying his plot to Bond
- "GET THOSE FIRES OUT!!! Get down and protect the missile!! Oh, and Mr. Stamper, would you please KILL THOSE BASTARDS?!!"
- ― Carver snapping out after Bond and Lin breached the hull of his stealth ship, leaving it vulnerable to radar
- "The missile's fully programmed, it can't be stopped. In a matter of minutes, my plan will succeed. And thanks largely to your efforts, the British Navy will destroy the evidence, and I'll be out of here in a Carver News helicopter covering the event. It's going to be a fantastic show! (Bond: I have some breaking news for you, Elliot. You forgot the first rule of mass media, Elliot....... GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT!!!) No! NOO!!!! AAAAAAH!!!!!"
- ― Carver's last words before his death
- While many reviewers compared Elliot Carver to Rupert Murdoch or Bill Gates, Feirstein based the character on Robert Maxwell. There is a reference to the mogul's death when M instructs Moneypenny to issue a press release stating that Carver died “falling overboard on his yacht."
- The role of Elliot Carver was initially offered to actor Anthony Hopkins (who also had been offered a role in GoldenEye), but he declined in favour of The Mask of Zorro.
- Carver, in announcing his hypocritical 'Declaration of Principles' on the abortive inaugural broadcast of his news network, is also reminiscent of fictional newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane, who in turn was based on real tycoon William Randolph Hearst, whom Carver paraphrases to Bond on his stealth ship.
- In early drafts of the film's screenplay, his name is Elliot Harmsway.