After a forced delay due to MGM’s financial implosion, the 23rd James Bond film is finally gaining some traction. The Daily Mail reports that Naomie Harris (28 Days Later) is in final negotiations to play Ms. Moneypenny, a character who has been absent from the franchise ever since it was re-launched with Daniel Craig as 007. The Mail also confirms that Javier Bardem will co-star with Craig, Judi Dench, and Ralph Fiennes. Bardem was previously tipped for the villain role while Fiennes is playing a character “of extreme complexity” according to director Sam Mendes.
Hit the jump for my thoughts on Moneypenny returning to the series. James Bond 23 is set to open on November 9, 2012.
One of the distinctive aspects of Bond re-launch was ditching the vestiges of the franchise and boiling the character and his world down to its essential elements. That meant no Q, almost no fancy gadgets, and no Moneypenny. Now that Moneypenny is returning, the question becomes whether or not she’ll be stuck as the only attractive woman Bond refuses to sleep with or if the series will reinvent the character as someone interesting. In previous films, she’s almost been a comic-relief character. Here’s almost every Moneypenny scene:
Bond walks in.
Bond and Moneypenny flirt.
Bond is called into M’s office.
Moneypenny pouts because Bond won’t fuck her.
That’s a dull character and one who doesn’t fit in the grittier take on James Bond we’ve seen since Craig took over the role. That’s not to say that Bond wouldn’t flirt with Moneypenny, but I’d like to see the character have more to do than just sadly pine over 007.