From the Top – Naoimi Harris, Skyfall, 2012 – Halle Berry, Die Another Day, 2005 – Grace Jones, A View to a Kill, 1985 – Gloria Hendry, Live And Let Die, 1973 (Left) – Trina Parks in Diamonds Are Forever 1971 (Right) – Sylvana Henriques, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 1969
When I originally thought, “I want to make a Bond movie; I’ll just write my own, and I’ll make it about a woman,” that was when my brain lit up, because there seemed like there would be so many fun opportunities to play with gender expectations and play with the norms of what has come before. But it was funny; when people would ask about the movie before it was out, they’d say “So will there be Cooper boys instead of Bond girls?” And I was like, “Well there will be men in it, but I don’t really want to have hot guys running around in Speedos, because I don’t want to fall into the same pitfalls the Bond franchise fell into.” Because those movies can be, and have been, fairly sexist. I love all those movies and books, but I was always uncomfortable with the way it would become such boys’ club kind of stuff.
Italian actress Monica Bellucci on being cast as Lucia Sciarra in the upcoming James Bond film, Spectre:
“How can I be a Bond girl at 50? After my audition [director] Sam Mendes told me that, for the first time in history, he wanted a woman of a similar age to the actor playing Bond. I told Sam he would be a hero among women for casting me in Spectre. Compared to the Bond girls who have gone before me, I am so much more mature. I’d prefer to be called a Bond woman or perhaps a Bond lady.
"Many 50-year-old women feel invisible to men but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s worth remembering that what you project outside comes from inside. When I go to Brazil, I see women who are not skinny at all but they dance in the street with such femininity and sensuality, and their bodies begin to look so beautiful. In Europe, women are not so open to their being. We are much more closed, even scared of opening up like that. That sensuality, that sense of freedom you see with Brazilian women, it doesn’t come from their bodies being perfect. It comes from a freedom. It comes from inside. It’s about how you compose yourself. It’s not about how you are but how you feel.
"As Oscar Wilde said, beauty is a form of genius but beauty can become boring in two seconds if you don’t have anything else to sustain the curiosity. What is the problem with a man of 30 being with a woman of 50? It is a matter of energy and the soul, not a matter of age of the body.
"True sexiness is in the mind, the imagination, not in the age of the body. It doesn’t surprise me that men in their 20s and 30s are often looking for a much older woman. It is no surprise to me that men still find women like Isabelle Huppert, Catherine Deneuve and Charlotte Rampling very attractive. Men look at Judi Dench and they see so much strength, so much power that comes from inside.
"And that’s attractive. I look at those women and hope that I can have that interior richness as I get older, the kind you cannot see through the eyes.”