Daniel Craig is holstering James Bond's pistol in his fifth and final Bond film, No Time To Die. Almost 60 years since the Ian Fleming character was first introduced to the world, Craig's stoic Bond is hauntingly in touch with the real world.
Set a few years after the events of Spectre, No Time To Die finds a restless but retired Bond living in Jamaica. Haunted by the events of his past, it doesn't take long for his old friend, CIA agent Felix Leiter, played by Jeffrey Wright, to lure him out of retirement for a new mission in Cuba.
Forever, the loner, Bond doesn't anticipate the company of Nomi—played by Lashana Lynch—an MI6 00 agent who has more in common with the Aston Martin-loving spy than he could ever imagine. Ahead of the long-anticipated premiere of No Time To Die, EBONY chatted with Lynch about the mystery surrounding her character and where the franchise is headed next in regards to women.
"I think it shows that they've done the work in the franchise to put it in such a gorgeous place from the cinematography to cast, to the locations," Lynch said of No Time To Die's thunderous conclusion. "Everyone has literally been on their A-game that I think if you didn't want to be a part of the James Bond franchise, you really want to get in there now. The possibilities are endless just by having a Nomi and a Paloma (Ana de Armas) and a Madeline (Léa Seydoux) and a Moneypenny (Naomie Harris). These are all women who are standing by who they are, and the men in the movie are reacting to who they are as 2021 women, which makes complete sense to me."
No Time To Die is the 25th film in the Bond franchise. From Gloria Hendry to Grace Jones and Halle Berry, Black women, in particular, have been able to see themselves on screen as love-interests in Bond before buzz words like diversity and inclusion were mainstays. However, Lynch will tell you that Nomi is no one's Bond girl.
"What surprised me the most was probably how funny she is," the British actress said. "She's really witty and smart and awkward. I'm so glad that I got the opportunity to collaborate with all departments to ensure that she spoke up and had agency and was listened to and her ideas were considered."
Lynch also had a great deal of input on how her character looked. "Our costume designer made sure that all of her pockets on her trousers were functional, and it showed her curves and makeup was accessible," she explained. "All of these things were really important for me to show. I just really enjoyed paying homage to my mom's generation, my grandma's generation, my friends. Nomi is an amalgamation of all of them, including you."
Nomi makes such a searing impact in the film that it seems startling that we won't see her grow and expand in future Bond films. "It's always quite sad to say goodbye to a character. I know we do it all the time as actors," Lynch said of Nomi's future in the franchise. "There were some lovely moments that she contributed to that would be great to explore again, but I also like the fact that I don't know. I can be present to what she is now, and if anything is to happen in the future, then that's a bonus."
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, No Time To Die is opening 18 months later than anticipated. For Lynch, it's striking how timely the film still is. "There are some real things that come up within the movie that are intricate and nuanced and really challenged the minds of some people who maybe don't understand that these narratives exist," she said. "As Black women, we have to experience it every day and to see [Nomi's] journey throughout the movie; you understand the position she'd probably be put in as a Black woman in the MI6 00 program. It's just real. I'm glad that she gets to be as real as she can, but also the conversations that need to be had off the back of this movie. I can only hope they're going to snowball into filmmakers making bigger decisions for Black narratives for female narratives that make sense to us."