The James Bond movies are known for various trademarks, but perhaps none are as appealing as the Bond girls — the beautiful women who co-star alongside 007 himself, and usually end up in his bedroom. But while actress Naomie Harris is no stranger to franchises — she appeared in two of the four Pirates of the Caribbean movies — she is adamant that her character in Skyfall, the latest Bond film, is no stereotypical “Bond girl.” In an interview with USA Today, Harris talks about her action-oriented role and what sets her apart from other women in the long-running series.
Of course, you’ll forgive Harris if she denies that her looks played any role in landing the part. She says, “I was never cast for hotness. I was cast because they wanted to create this specific character. The hotness factor was never a part of the audition process. All my costumes were practical for a woman in the field. The sexiness of Eve comes out through her wit and intelligence, rather than her wearing slinky dresses.”
Harris’ explanation of what the Bond producers were looking for sounds curiously familiar to what they were looking for in Halle Berry, who played Bond girl Jinx in 2002’s Die Another Day. Regardless, Harris says, “When I was cast, they said they wanted to have a modern Bond girl and wanted to take the character in a new direction. They wanted her to be an equal to Bond. So I felt I had a lot of scope, a lot of room, to create the character. You really felt that you were free to create a character in any way you wanted. It’s the most freedom I ever felt. That’s one of the reasons the franchise survives so well. It’s what they enable you to do.”
But playing that aggressive role allowed her to get away from her more timid personality. She explains, “I always think of myself as someone who runs away from danger. She runs into it, and she loves it,” she says. “I had to do a lot of physical stuff. It was two months of training before we started. I normally don’t do any exercise at all. I was having to exercise five days a week, two hours a day. I did combat and yoga and running. I was covered in bruises. In the beginning, it was hell, and then you get through the pain barrier and you start enjoying it. You feel more alive.” But Harris admits that once shooting was done her desire for early morning workouts soon faded, adding, “It’s done. It was so easy when I had this trainer wake me up in the mornings. Now I would have to do that to myself and I can’t. The bed’s too cozy.”