Henry Gupta: The Brains Behind Elliot Carver’s Ambition
Henry Gupta is an American computer scientist who works for media tycoon Elliot Carver. Portrayed by American illusionist, actor, and author, Ricky Jay, this secondary villain graces the screen in the 1997 James Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies.
Gupta is the brains behind Elliot Carver’s plan, but is treated with contempt by the billionaire media mogul. Raymond Benson later infuses the character Henry Gupta into his complementary novel of the film.
With a plan to ignite a conflict between the United Kingdom and China, Elliot Carver dispatches Henry Gupta to a terrorist weaponry marketplace to acquire an American military GPS encoder. Gupta utilizes this apparatus to interfere with the GPS signal, misleading the British warship HMS Devonshire into Chinese-controlled waters in the South China Sea.
It’s here where Carver’s concealed vessel submerges the Devonshire using a sea drill and confiscates one of its missiles. Carver’s personnel then take down a Chinese J-7 fighter jet dispatched to probe the British intrusion and eradicate the Devonshire survivors using Chinese munitions.
After examining the audio recordings from Carver’s satellite launch event, Henry Gupta stumbles upon a conversation between Bond and Paris Carver. After presenting the footage to Carver, Carver resolves to eliminate his wife, commissioning Dr. Kaufman for the task.
During Bond’s covert operation within Carver’s organization in Hamburg, he infiltrates Gupta’s office, accesses his safe, and discovers the GPS encoder, returning it to the American military.
Bond and his Chinese partner Wai Lin soon uncover that Gupta has programmed the purloined missile to strike Beijing, an action that could instigate World War III. They learn that Carver plans to leverage this situation to secure China’s broadcast rights by facilitating General Chang’s rise as China’s new leader.
Infiltrating the ship alongside Lin, after alerting their respective governments about the scheme, Bond apprehends Gupta in front of Carver and his men. Following a succinct dialogue about his devious plan, Carver inquires about the readiness of the missile.
On Gupta’s confirmation, Carver coldly states, “Then it seems you’ve outlived your contract”, before shooting Gupta dead.
Ricky Jay, born on June 26, 1946, was a prominent American magician and actor who developed a passion for magic at a young age, thanks to his grandfather, Max Katz. He broke into public performance as a child magician and continued to innovate as the first magician to perform in comedy clubs and rock and roll concerts in the 1960s.
His one-man magic shows were directed by renowned playwright David Mamet, who later cast him in several films. Jay was known for his card-throwing abilities, earning him a Guinness World Record.
His magical prowess paved the way for a successful acting career in Hollywood, with roles in over twenty films including Boogie Nights, Tomorrow Never Dies, and The Prestige. Jay also featured in the HBO series Deadwood as a character and writer. Ricky Jay passed away at the age of 72 on November 24, 2018, due to natural causes.