There is something undeniable about the announcement of the new Bond girls.
And, yes, I know both Berenice Marlohe and Naomie Harris are women, not girls, and I’ve had many nice things to say about Harris and her work in the past. I use the term Bond girls because that’s the term. Decades may have passed, Bonds have come and gone, and one thing that’s never changed has been the Bond girls. As much a part of the series as the familiar orchestral sting or the gun-barrel circle that opens each picture, the announcement of the new Bond girls is always interesting if for no other reason than they are bound to be drop-dead beautiful.
Sometimes, the roles they play are ridiculous. Well, to be fair, most of the time, the roles they play are ridiculous. They are given preposterous names that no human being would ever actually have, and they are asked to just roll with it, play it as real, as the rules of the universe where a James Bond could exist. When you have a character named Dr. Holly Goodhead, it is the “Dr.” that makes me laugh, not the single-entendre smutty joke. It is the straight-faced absurdity of it that I love.
One of the things that has been a sort of charming development in the Daniel Craig era has been the way gender roles and the typical Bond iconography has been somewhat fluid, up for grabs, and Craig’s been willing to tweak expectations. I think that’s even extended to other roles he’s taken, knowing full well that he’s James Bond now, enjoying the friction caused when, for example, he ends up in the third act of “Dragon Tattoo” tied up and helpless while a tiny 109-pound girl saves the day. That is not something you would have seen from Connery or Moore or Dalton. Not in the Bond films and not even at the same time, but between films. The original run of the movies didn’t really introduce an emotional core to Bond until “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” but with Craig, the entire first film is built around both literally and figuratively kicking James Bond in the balls. Vesper (Eva Green) has left a mark on this Bond, and I’m curious to see how long it resonates through his portrayal.
Because these Craig films have been playful in ways I didn’t really expect, I am curious to see what these two ladies play. First up, there’s Berenice Barlohe, who I’ve never seen before to my knowledge, but who is a classic European Bond beauty. Stunning and wrasslin’ with that super-heavy accent… she’s perfect for the Bond films.
And then there’s Harris, who plays a character named Eve. I like her description… “She thinks she’s as good as James Bond.” Pause for a smile. “She’s not… but she thinks she is.” Harris looks like she’s taking the weapons training seriously, and she’s certainly got the chops to give Craig a strong presence to react to in the film.
Obviously, there’s no way of knowing how big their roles will be or how significant, and I’m sure the Bond site is going to take its time giving up information. After all, if this is a seven month shoot, then they’re not going to want to tip their hand too soon. Still, it’s fun to see that the film is up and running, and I love seeing things like Rob Brydon on Twitter shooting something at Pinewood and talking about how he can see the Bond set from where he’s getting ready in the morning. Anytime there’s a Bond movie being made, I consider that very good news indeed.
“Skyfall” arrives in theaters October 26 in the UK and November 9 in the US.