Former Bond Girl Denise Richards Opens Up About ‘Flack’ Towards Her 007 Character, And How She Looks At The Experience Almost 25 Years Later

Quite frequently, casting choices in the realm of James Bond movies have come under intense scrutiny. More often than not, those gripes will be aimed at whoever is cast as the new 007, as seen in the case of Daniel Craig’s casting in 2005. But not too long before that huge debacle, there was the case of Denise Richards and her casting as one of The World is Not Enough’s Bond Girls. Almost 25 years after that film’s release, the actor has opened up on the "flack" she got for playing the role, as well as how she looks at the experience in hindsight. 

Making an appearance on the Spyhards Podcast, Richards and her nuclear physicist character Dr. Christmas Jones were the subject at hand. While that subject isn’t exactly a fresh one for the Starship Troopers star, as Denise Richards had recently clapped back against such comments, she shared more details about the immediate fallout that came during the press tour and release of the 19th cinematic 007 adventure.

Framing it as a sort of “damned if you do/damned if you don’t” situation, a huge part of what set some James Bond fans off was her character's wardrobe. Introduced to Pierce Brosnan’s Commander Bond while wearing a tank top and shorts, Dr. Jones apparently didn’t fit the bill for some people’s opinion of what a nuclear physicist should look like. Describing how she felt about the issue, Richards also shared the heartbreaking moments this outrage caused her in those early days: 

When I got a lot of flack, I said, ‘Ok. I’m playing a Bond Girl, it’s tongue in cheek.’ If I was really wearing a lab coat and doing all of that, then people would say, ‘Why isn’t she a Bond Girl?’ … It was very hard when that movie came out, because I did get a lot of flack for it, and it was not easy for me with the magnitude of the press that I did. To go out there, knowing people were making fun of me, that was the first time in my career that I had to deal with something like that, and it was very very difficult for me. I just had to put a smile on my face and go out and do talk shows, and then travel the world. I would go my to hotel and cry because in the reviews they were making fun of me and saying stuff. It was very very difficult.

It's sad, but true that both Denise Richards and The World is Not Enough were somewhat savaged back in 1999. If you head over to the film's Rotten Tomatoes page, you'll see the movie sits at 51%, with the first knock against Richards' performance sitting squarely on the first page.

While talking about her experiences in The World is Not Enough, Denise Richards also expressed her wishes that social media were around during the movie’s production. On the positive side, she expressed that hope so that there was a better record of all the cool stuff she got to do behind the scenes. 

However, she also acknowledged that it would be a double-edged sword thanks to things like what was described above. One could only imagine how much harsher, or kinder, modern review embargoes would have treated her character. No matter what, Richards has maintained the same line that she’s held since being cast as Dr. Christmas Jones, and it’s served her well. 

Looking back on her experience as a Bond Girl, she still appreciates the opportunity it allowed her, as well as the chance to work with The World is Not Enough co-stars Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, and Dame Judi Dench. Reflecting on it all in this interview, Denise Richards reiterated the exact same message she took to Twitter just a couple of months ago through this further response: 

You know, it’s a Bond Girl, and I did get a lot of shit for it. But if I didn’t do that, I would have gotten a little bit of crap for that too. So, you know that’s what movies are. I remember movies as being fantasy as an escape. So let’s escape, and have fun, and have a fantasy. That’s how I look at it.

Almost 25 years later, Dr. Christmas Jones is still a valued and admirable entry into the canon of Bond Girls and Bond Women that were 007’s equal. That fact only further proves the point that former franchise mainstay Colin Salmon put out into the world himself, which stated that the Brosnan era excelled at improving the female leads. It also sadly heightens the unfair response that Denise Richards received during The World is Not Enough's contemporary release window. 

Past negativity doesn't overshadow the chemistry Richards shares with Pierce Brosnan through an on-screen relationship that puts the characters on pretty equal footing. Positioning Dr. Christmas Jones as being able to throw some sharp barbs of snark towards James Bond, their quest to avoid a nuclear incident is more enjoyable and certainly shows the great strides that were made in female representation. 

Hearing Richards reclaim that narrative, and share some wonderful Bond saga stories in the process, is nothing but positive. May she continue sharing stories both good and bad to help pave the way for future Bond Women to come. 

Just as some fans are reevaluating Richards’ role in the Bond saga, it’s wonderful to see the actor herself sticking up for herself and the impact she’s left on this legacy franchise. If you’d like to watch Denise Richards’ Dr. Christmas Jones again, then you can do so with a Paramount+ subscription, as that’s one source where you can currently find The World is Not Enough streaming. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.