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From the first trailer drop, the latest James Bond movie, No Time to Die, has teased an epic farewell for outgoing 007, Daniel Craig. But the character that’s consistently generated the biggest response is new to the franchise: MI6’s newest “00” agent, Nomi, played by breakout Captain Marvel star Lashana Lynch.
With Bond apparently out of the spy game as the movie begins, Nomi has taken over his license to kill and isn’t particularly starstruck when her predecessor returns to action. Lynch’s presence in the film makes No Time to Die doubly historic: she’s the first female 007 in the history of the big-screen Bond franchise, and also the first Black actress to achieve “00” status.
In a new interview with Harper’s Bazaar U.K., the actress revealed achieving that equal footing with Craig was the reason she accepted the mission in the first place. Initially concerned that No Time to Die would keep her “behind the man,” Lynch was reassured after meeting with Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, as well as the film’s director, Cary Joi Fukunaga. She also sat down with Emmy-winning writer, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who was brought on board for a script polish specifically designed to improve the female characters.
“A character that is too slick, a cast-iron figure? That’s completely against what I stand for,” Lynch remarked about the kind 007 she didn’t want Nomi to be. “I didn’t want to waste an opportunity when it came to what Nomi might represent. I searched for at least one moment in the script where Black audience members would nod their heads, tutting at the reality but glad to see their real life represented. In every project I am part of, no matter the budget or genre, the Black experience that I’m presenting needs to be 100 percent authentic.”
Lynch went on to say that Nomi’s presence in No Time to Die helps to directly combat the kind of “toxic masculinity” that’s been prevalent in movies, including the Bond franchise, for decades. “I feel very grateful that I get to challenge those narratives,” she said. “That’s happening because women are being open, demanding and vocal, and calling out misbehavior as soon as we see it.”
In an unfortunate sign of the times, though, Nomi has also generated social media pushback from certain segments of Bond fandom, and the actress revealed to Harper’s that she deleted her various apps once the first trailers hit the internet. Rather than dwell on those complaints, she’s looking ahead to how Nomi seems set to permanently change the Bond movies after the release of No Time to Die.
“I am one Black woman — if it were another Black woman cast in the role, it would have been the same conversation, she would have got the same attacks, the same abuse,” she said. “I just have to remind myself that the conversation is happening and that I’m a part of something that will be very, very revolutionary.”
No Time to Die opens in theaters on April 2, 2021
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