I am a hardcore James Bond fan. I can enjoy watching a Bond movie, even a bad one, for sheer entertainment. I am okay with certain Bond movie clichés and stereotypes. But I have to admit that, as a good film lover, whenever a great new Bond movie or just an element of surprise happens, I rejoice. It happened with Casino Royale, which went on to become my all-time favourite Bond film. It happened with Eva Green’s character, too, in the same Casino Royale, my number one Bond girl. And it happened again with Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny starting with Skyfall. Which brings me to all the Bond girls who have not served as mere eye candy – but, mind you, being a Bond fan, this is not to say that I disregard by any means the sexy and wild Bond girls that populate the 007 movies and their influence. But it is the ones who have played against type that have really made a lasting impression, distinguishing themselves through a lot more than skin and looks – although they had the looks, too, alright. They are in a league of their own, rather a real match for Bond instead of helpless side-kicks.
Buttoned-up, individualistic, substantial, a much less obvious and a bit more complicated, the alt Bond leading lady doesn’t give it all away, but she certainly gives 007 a simmering attraction point that doesn’t necessarily involve a round of martinis (shaken, not stirred). Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale, Barbara Bach’s Anya in The Spy Who Loved Me, Carole Bouquet’s Melina in For Your Eyes Only, Diana Rigg’s Tracy, the one that Bond married, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and, of course, the original woman in Bond’s life, Moneypenny, the proper and ever-loyal secretary to the secret agent’s boss, M. And I believe that it is Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny, unlike any other Bond girl before, who has proven than she can capture Bond’s attention (and hold it) regardless of any sexual politics.
Naomie Harris breathes new life into Eve Moneypenny, turning the staid, secretarial attire of her character into the true undercover style star of the series. In Skyfall, Eve Moneypenny is a new recruit to the service, still learning the ropes of espionage. She is discovering who she is. And she discovers that she doesn’t really have the stomach for killing and being out in the field, so she makes a mature decision to go behind the desk. But she still “has a tough job, working in the secret service, so we dressed her up like that,” said costume designer Jany Temime, who won a CDGA award for her work on Skyfall.
The Amanda Wakeley gold dress she wears during the casino scene may be the most memorable of her costumes, but it’s the work outfits she sports at MI6 headquarters that are most memorable for her character. It’s especially the black leather-rimmed white blouse, mustard-yellow pencil skirt and black booties that stand out for me from the horde of grey-blue suits in the conventional office environment. Her costumes show a very strong sense of personal style, but also that she is yet learning to take risks. She gradually gains confidence, and, most importantly, she will gain the confidence of 007 – just judge by the warm colour palette of golds and oranges of her wardrobe. Eve’s self-assurance and natural grace make her more attractive than a typical Bond girl. Naomie said that when she was asked to play Moneypenny, she was told that they wanted to make a radical departure – they wanted her to be much more badass and tougher, more capable and much more of an equal to Bond. She radiates an unexpected kind of sex appeal and makes a lasting style statement that speaks to her personality… and makes you wonder, “What if?”.
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photos: movie stills, Skyfall | Eon Productions/Columbia Pictures