No Time To Die: James Bond film to premiere in October
But this time, it appears 007 actor Daniel Craig’s latest bevy of “Bond Girls” – led by Cuban beauty Ana de Armas – will need no introduction to fans left frustrated by no less than four postponed cinema openings. Ana, 33, along with other new star, English actress Lashana Lynch, is already making a killing in Hollywood after featuring in a string of action-packed trailers for the film. These have aired on TV around the world, showcasing the rising stars’ talents and catching the eyes of casting directors and advertising chiefs before each aborted opening of No Time To Die.
As a result, Ana alone has amassed a fortune of more than $4million (about £2.9million) during the enforced hiatus, according to American financial magazine Forbes, having landed a massive contract as a global brand ambassador for cosmetics giant Estée Lauder.
She is also not only shining as the celebrity centrepiece of a new global campaign promoting luxury jewellery for The Natural Diamond Council, but has managed to land one of the most coveted lead roles in showbiz.
She has just finished shooting the upcoming Netflix blockbuster Blonde, in which she plays late movie icon Marilyn Monroe atop an all-star cast that includes Oscar winner Adrien Brody.
The film, which is scheduled for release next year, is being made by Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B.
One senior set insider said: “Her performance could catapult her straight onto the A list and turn her into a serious contender for major awards.
“There is no doubt in my mind that she is on the brink of becoming a household name, in some part at least thanks to Bond, even though nobody’s actually seen her in that film yet because of the pandemic.”
Daniel with Ana as CIA agent Paloma
Trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter has already tipped her as a huge future star of the magnitude of previous actresses – from Ursula Andress and Britt Ekland to Jane Seymour and Halle Berry – who either got a big break or a big career boost by appearing in Bond movies.
Ana, who plays a CIA agent who works with Bond in No Time To Die, will star again opposite Craig – who has now stepped down after five films as 007 – in two planned sequels, announced in March, to their 2019 comedy drama Knives Out.
Of her meteoric rise, the actress – who left her home in Havana with the equivalent of just £260 in her pocket to seek fame and fortune – declared: “So far my life has been so much about being in the right place at the right time.”
After living in Spain for several years, and landing a role on a popular teenage TV drama, she tried her luck in Tinseltown, attracting attention for her role as a holographic, artificial intelligence projection in the 2017 sci-fi hit Blade Runner 2049.
That led to her being cast as American spy Paloma in the long-awaited 25th film in the Bond franchise, now due for release on September 30 in the UK. Ana added: “Incredible things have happened for me in Hollywood, where I have great friends.”
She insisted, however, that her quantum leap in popularity has not changed her.
She said: “The lifestyle and the exposure and the constant business situations are not for me. Acting is what I love to do, but I also like talking about life and art and babies and pets.”
Londoner Lashana Lynch, 33, who portrays new “00” agent Nomi, has also scored a major deal to play Miss Honey in a new screen version of the Roald Dahl children’s favourite Matilda the Musical, due for release next year.
And the ongoing pandemic-driven shuffling of release dates means viewers will be able to see British star Naomie Harris, 44 – who reprises her role of Eve Money-penny in No Time to Die – twice in a fortnight in back-to-back blockbusters.
As a result of delayed promotional tours to accompany the release of the Bond film, the actress – awarded an OBE in 2017 – was able to take a major role in Marvel Comics superhero movie Venom: Let There Be Carnage, alongside Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams. This is now slated for UK release on October 15.
The career of French star Léa Seydoux, who reprises her role as Dr Madeleine Swann – the psychiatrist who was Bond’s love interest in 2015’s Spectre – has also blossomed. She has been cast in two new films, One Fine Morning and Crimes Of The Future, neither of which has a release date.
A spokesman for MGM confirmed that while some costs caused by Covid delays are incalculable, the studio reckons to have lost as much as $50million – roughly £36.7million – in “wasted marketing costs” that included TV trailers around the world.
Lashana as ‘Nomi’, with Daniel
Comment by Jennifer Selway
For a while – thanks to the pandemic – it looked as though the two new Bond girls in the latest 007 film No Time To Die would be drawing their pensions by the time the movie surfaced.
But now the waiting is over and Ana De Armas and Lashana Lynch are ready to show that (with a script titivated by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and the stern scrutiny of the MeToo movement assessing every frame) Bond girls are no longer the fluffy arm candy from the bad old days.
Apparently the pair hesitated before accepting the parts. I bet they did. I’d have hesitated too… for about a millionth of a nanosecond. Women in Bond films “have been sexualised before”, said de Armas sorrowfully to Hollywood Reporter, “a stereotype, a kind of woman who will always be in danger and waiting to be rescued by Bond”. Mmm. Terrible.
The odd thing is, for as long as I can remember there’s been this notion that Bond girls must be urgently modernised and move with the times, as if all of them in the past have done nothing but run around in a bikini and high heels screaming “Jems, Jems”.
And yes, Britt Ekland does do that in The Man With The Golden Gun playing Mary Goodnight. But let’s agree that she’s the exception that proves the rule.
Ana says she likes talking about ‘life and art and babies and pets’
And, OK, perhaps those suggestive names don’t help. Pussy Galore, Plenty O’Toole, Dr Goodhead and ..er…Chew Mee. But then I once wrote under the pen name Ophelia Legge, so who am I to judge?
The truth is that Bond girls are fabulous women who like sex. Far from hanging around waiting to be rescued they’re often treacherous and deadly.
Who didn’t admire that one who could suffocate you with her thighs in GoldenEye; Honor Blackman with her flying circus of lady assassins in Goldfinger; Grace bonkers Jones in A View To A Kill; Monica Bellucci proving that being 50-ish was no barrier to being a Bond girl in Spectre.
I love Bond girls because they know what to do in casinos, how to play chemin-de-fer and when to say “banco” and “suivi”.
My favourite Bond girl is probably the first – Sylvia Trench (played by Eunice Gayson), first glimpsed in one-shoulder scarlet couture in Dr No. She meets Bond in a London casino and makes all the running, later breaking into his flat to play crazy golf by herself, wearing nothing but his shirt. All women should have this or a similar memory to keep them warm in their old age.
Who wouldn’t want to be a Bond girl? Smash it out of the park Ana and Lashana!