Naomie Harris Joins James Bond 23, Controversy Ensues

With MGM’s financial woes in the back seat and production under way, the 23rd installment of the James Bond franchise is making up for lost time (and Quantum of Solace) by adding some big names to the cast, notably Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes. Bardem will play Daniel Craig’s newest villain while Fiennes will presumably play the head – or a very powerful figure of authority within – the Quantum organization.

But who cares about them? Producers have also cast Naomie Harris (28 Days Later) as Miss Moneypenny, a character that hasn’t appeared in a Bond film since Die Another Day, the last installment of the Pierce Brosnan era. The addition of Harris is shaking some martinis, though, as Moneypenny has been always been played by white actresses. So of course this is just some ploy by the producers to appease the mobs of angry ethnic Bond fans, right? RIGHT???

Already, there’s been criticism that hiring a half-Jamaican was a cynical move to bring a little color to the otherwise monochrome James Bond cast. The 007 producers refute that; but it does highlight an opportunity they missed in 2006 to really rock the politically correct boat; casting the series’ first black Bond. (Via Sexis)

The author is talking about the short-lived rumor in 2004 that actor Colin Salmon was a front-runner to replace Brosnan, after he was booted to take the films in a more serious direction. The Salmon rumor was based on bets that were being placed in England as to the identity of the new Bond. Suddenly, people were betting on *clears throat* black, and that made the rumor mill buzz. Salmon had appeared in the three Brosnan Bond films as an MI6 operative, but producers said that he was never in consideration for the titular role and many insiders believe that the bets were placed by people close to Salmon to boost his status as an actor.

In reality, the Broccoli family had no clue who they wanted and they eventually chose Daniel Craig without even consulting the studio, as three years had passed with no Bond film and the franchise was being sunk by MGM’s growing financial woes and the emergence of the Bourne films. But if this really is a big controversy and people are truly upset (despite the author of the aforementioned article offering no examples of actual criticism) then I liked this idea better the first time I heard it.