Halle Berry became a Bond girl in 2002. However, she says her role in the James Bond franchise was altogether different. In a new interview, the Oscar winner shares what she values about the chance to play an iconic role opposite Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond.
In ‘Die Another Day,’ Halle Berry plays an NSA agent
In Die Another Day, Halle Berry plays Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson, a whip-smart NSA agent assigned to kill agent Zao of North Korea. Jinx faces off against villainous double agent Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike) and forges a deep connection with Bond (Brosnan).
The movie was notable because it was Brosnan’s final turn as the iconic 007. Daniel Craig famously took over for him as the controversial first ‘blonde Bond.’
But Die Another Day was similarly important for Berry, who says that Jinx was “different.” Moreover, that’s exactly why she accepted the role.
“I was really excited about Bond because that’s a franchise that’s iconic,” she told Vanity Fair in a recent interview. “It’s a part of film history, really, so to be a part of that franchise was very meaningful to me. And this version of a Bond woman was very different than any Bond woman I had seen before.”
A ‘James Bond’ producer assured Halle Berry that the role would be unique
When it came down to it, longtime James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli convinced the Monster’s Ball star to become a Bond girl.
“When Barbara Broccoli came to me with the role, she explained that I would get to be a different kind – a new kind – of Bond girl,” Berry explained to Vanity Fair. “Which would allow me to be more active and sort of be working alongside Bond in a new way, and that really excited me. But also, it excited me too to reimagine that great Ursula Andress scene that was so iconic…in a new way and pay homage to who she was and what this series was really all about.”
Halle Berry also made a certain belted orange bikini one of the most famous swimsuits in film history. Her orange version was a not-so-subtle nod to Andress’ also-famous belted white bikini from 1962’s Dr. No.
According to Screen Rant, Salma Hayek, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and Saffron Burrows were also in the running to play Jinx. However, Berry was clearly the right woman to play Jinx. She made the role her own and catapulted Jinx into the pantheon of the most memorable Bond women.
A more recent Bond girl also said her role was ‘different’
The role of ‘Bond girl’ continues to evolve. For example, Ana de Armas rejects the term completely. The No Time to Die actor told CNN that the term is simply outdated.
“I think this movie is ‘Bond women,’ not so much ‘Bond girls,’” de Armas told the network in September of 2021. “They’re highly skilled, they’re powerful (and) they all show it in their own way. They’re equals to Bond … Times change, and I think that is reflected in the film.”
Moreover, Broccoli says the Bond women aren’t the only characters who are evolving and becoming stronger. James Bond needed to change in some critical ways. But she insists that there is one way in which the spy will remain unquestionably the same, as the franchise continues.
“He can be of any color, but he is male,” Broccoli told Variety in January of 2020. “I believe we should be creating new characters for women — strong female characters. I’m not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think women are far more interesting than that.”
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