Why No Time To Die’s Lea Seydoux Doesn’t Think She Is A Conventional Bond Girl

Daniel Craig tries to approach Léa Seydoux as she backs away in No Time To Die.
(Image credit: Danjaq LLC and MGM)

A lot of franchise conventions were challenged in Daniel Craig’s final James Bond outing, the explosive finale known as No Time To Die. Adding to the sweeping changes in dynamic was, naturally, the role of Léa Seydoux’s Dr. Madeleine Swann being brought back to draw further dramatic contrast between the modern era of 007 and its storied past. Dr. Swann isn’t a conventional Bond Girl, and even Ms. Seydoux herself admits that as the truth, as she doesn’t see herself as a conventional Bond actor. 

It’s rather daunting to think of oneself as an “outside of the box” pick for the Bond legacy, as that sort of talent doesn’t always work out. Speaking with the publication Screen Daily, the actor who made her Bond debut in Spectre wrestled with that prospect herself, and in a unique fashion. When labeling herself an unconventional performer in this series, Ms. Seydoux laid out the following rationale: 

For me to be a Bond girl was completely… I wouldn’t say it made no sense, but I did think, ’How will I fit into this big machine?’ I like to be unexpected. I like to do my own thing. In the cinematic landscape, I’ve always expressed myself in a way that’s not necessarily like other actresses. I’m not an efficient actress. My pace is different, and for that reason I’ve always felt anti-conventional.

Introduced in Daniel Craig's fourth Bond film, Léa Seydoux’s Madeleine set herself apart from the already impressive Bond Women canon, rather quickly. Playing the daughter of 007 nemesis Mr. White, Dr. Swann was the sort of character who could make James Bond question everything he knew about trust in the world. When it came to reprising her character in No Time To Die, Ms. Seydoux would have the opportunity to do just that, throwing that seemingly happy ending from Spectre into question from the very beginning of the final Craig era adventure. 

One probably wouldn’t be wrong to question whether or not Madeleine Swann would return for the 25th 007 movie. Female associates and love interests have an extremely rare chance of seeing themselves called back to play alongside England’s greatest secret agent. Thankfully, when Daniel Craig was convinced to return for No Time To Die, that meant it was also time for Léa Seydoux to be asked back to close out the serialized arc she’d joined. It was a prospect that excited Ms. Seydoux for these reasons:

When they asked me to come back, I was happy for one reason — this time she is not stereotyped, and I was able to have more of my own input. So she’s not what you would expect from a Bond girl, and that’s what I like.

By helping develop Madeline Swann further with co-writer/director Cary Joji Fukunaga, Léa Seydoux felt she was able to explore her character in a unique way with No Time To Die. That’s exactly the kind of experiment that succeeds when you cast an actor that’s an unconventional pick when compared to previous Bond history. Just as Daniel Craig has left a pretty huge vacancy to fill for the next 007, the next woman to go into action with James Bond will have to live up to Ms. Seydoux’s sterling work. 

No Time To Die is currently enjoying its awards season victory lap, with a limited IMAX re-release underway. Though the film is also available for rental or purchase on digital and physical media, if you’d rather enjoy it at home. If you’re ready to move onto the year to come, check out the 2022 release schedule to see what’s heading to a theater near you in the near future. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.