As the lead of the 007 franchise, James Bond has been one of cinema’s most iconic characters for decades, a tradition that now continues with Daniel Craig. But over the years though, Bond has also been joined by a series of women, or “Bond girls,” who have had varying impacts on the film series. Knives Out star Ana de Armas will be the latest actress to stand alongside 007 when No Time to Die arrives in cinemas, but her road to becoming a Bond girl wasn’t always certain.
Ana de Armas was well aware of the expectations that came with being a Bond girl, especially the ones relating to her physical appearance. Although de Armas found this daunting in the beginning, she was comforted by the fact that the producers wanted to build the character of Paloma around her:
Bond girls have been portrayed for so many years with a specific type of woman. I associate it with some sort of perfection and beauty standards beyond the normal. Things that I didn’t match, I was shocked when the director called me to say, 'The character is not written yet but we want you do it.'
When it came to actually crafting the character, de Armas knew that she wanted to try new things for a Bond girl, which included avoiding classic tropes employed by the franchise:
Usually these women [Bond girls], they need to be rescued. Or they die. Or are evil. I needed to read that script. And it took a little, but they sent me the scenes. It’s important, because I want to bring something else to the story.
Joining a film series that’s become a cinematic institution can be difficult since, in many cases, there’s very little room for newcomers to bring in fresh ideas. De Armas’ case, however, indicates that the creatives behind 007 were willing and ready for a new direction when it came to their leading lady.
This shift in the depiction of female characters has been steadily gaining steam and, while there’s still plenty of work that can be done, films and TV are starting to offer more layered women.
Ana de Armas’ recent interview with American Way should get fans excited about what’s in store for her in No Time to Die. Based on what we know about Paloma, she’s a CIA agent helping Bond but, after De Armas’ comments, it’s hard to say how things will ultimately pan out for her. You can see Ana De Armas in action when No Time to Die opens in theaters on November 25.