Naomie Harris is Moneypenny in ‘Bond 23′? Bardem & Fiennes Locked?

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 8:47 pm,

A report is circling that previously-rumored actors Naomie Harris, Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes are indeed joining the cast of director Sam Mendes‘ (American Beauty) upcoming James Bond flick, which is still flying under the label James Bond 23 until a more fitting and dynamic title is assigned.

However, there is a new bit info that is likely to cause a bit of a stir amongst some Bond fans: word has it that the “sexy sidekick” character that Harris was being considered for is NOT in fact the latest Bond girl, but rather 007′s iconic (and platonic) female foil, Moneypenny.

Daily Mail UK is the source of this latest (rumor? Update?) about Bond 23, and is quoted as saying the following:

Miss Moneypenny, 007’s tart-tongued, flirtatious foil, is returning to the James Bond movies in the shape of Naomie Harris…The actress is poised to appear alongside Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes and Judi Dench when filming begins later this year.

Now, this should all be taken as a RUMOR for now – albeit one that has a good chance of being true (to some degree), since it does in fact jibe with a lot of the other casting reports that have emerged this year. Harris, Bardem and Fiennes are solid-to-great acting talents, so there should be little uproar amongst Bond fans about the quality of the cast, should this rumor indeed turn out to be true.

However, it will be interesting to see what the reaction is if Harris does in fact snag the role of Moneypenny. In our experience, there is a certain amount of controversy that seems to ensue whenever the race of an established character is changed to suit a particular actor (see: Idris Elba’s role in Thor as black Norse god). There will no doubt be a certain contingent of people who claim that making Moneypenny a different race will “ruin the character”; then again, that same contingent of people should remember a few things:

  1. There was controversy when Daniel Craig was cast as ‘the first Blond Bond’ – but that minor hair color change did little to ruin the character, as some alarmists proclaimed it would.
  2. The character of “M,” Bond’s boss, was male until Judi Dench inhabited the role – and since then, Dench has arguably made the character more interesting than any of her male counterparts ever did. In fact, having Bond face off against a female boss has added some wonderful new dimensions to the relationship that would never have manifested otherwise.
  3. Moneypenny is not exactly a character so important or iconic that she can’t be tweaked a bit. If M can change genders….

So, the only question should really be: Can Harris make the character dynamic and interesting? Her work in films like 28 Days Later, Pirates of the Caribbean and Ninja Assassin certainly suggest that she can play a spunky, smart and strong female character rather well. She’s not too hard on the eyes, either ;-).

As for Bardem and Fiennes – it’s hard to imagine that anyone would oppose the casting of such strong actors, especially if they are going to be playing villains. Bardem playing a more ‘hands dirty’ henchman while Fiennes plays an evil mastermind certainly sounds like an exciting arrangement to us…

How about you – does this casting lineup sound promising? Would you be ok with some changes being made to the character of Moneypenny?

We’ll keep you updated on the progress and casting of Bond 23 as information emerges. The film is set to debut in theaters on November 9, 2012.

Source: Daily Mail UK (via IGN)

TAGS: James bond
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  1. I disagree with the new Moneypenny. How can a person turn from white to black? If this film is connected to the Connery,Lazenby,Moore,Dalton,Brosnan series then it would be impossible, unless she did the opposite of Micheal Jackson. If they do not keep the films traditional to Ian Flemings vision then this long standing James Bond fan is gone. I had a problem with a blonde Bond,but no trouble with M being a women since M is not the same character. M is only the code name and several types of people can play M.

    • Well, if it turns out to be true, at least you had a good run. So long.

      • that guy made me laugh does he realise Felix in most of the James Bond movies been white but now his black did that effect the character hell no.

    • What difference does race make? Her character was inconsequential to say the least anyway! I agree with a more substantial character a race change can alter the whole feel of the role ( Will Smith as Captain America for example). Nevertheless I don’t see the care for a change in the role of Moneypenny. To me it actually spices up the role.

      • but whats funny Felix Leiter is been played by a black actor anyway how comes no one did not cry about that some people just dont know what they talking about sometimes.

      • i agree…i don’t think race matters…and i think Naomie Harris is lovely…i just think she might be a little to young…moneypenny is supposed to be very classy…like lous Maxwell who played the first moneypenny…but i think that the James bond crew has been doing this for many decades…and think they know what they’re doin…and they’ll pull it off…they have been for 22 bond films

    • what a silly thing to say. it prove u dont know nothing about james Bond if race was a issue how comes Felix Leiter in most of the James Bond movies was white but now his been played by a black actor Jeffrey Wright. no one never had a issue about the race change you just a cry baby.

    • It’s very amusing to see that he has no problem with a blonde Bond or a female M, but a black Moneypenny rubs him the wrong way. Subtle racism?

    • It’s very amusing to see that you have no problem with a blonde Bond or a female M, but a black Moneypenny rubs him the wrong way. Subtle racism?

    • @”If this film is connected to the Connery,Lazenby,Moore,Dalton,Brosnan series then it would be impossible, unless she did the opposite of Micheal Jackson.”

      But it’s not connnected to any to those timelines. Casino Royale was a reboot, and this film will be connected to that series.

  2. I would rather see Fiennes as Bond than Daniel Craig. I would rather see Shrek as Bond than Daniel Craig! I guess you can say I don’t like Daniel Craig as Bond.

    • Why dont you like Daniel Craig? In comparison to the original Ian Flemmings Novel’s, Craig plays Bond truest to the character. On issue of appearance, Sir Sean Connery is as close as you may ever get to resembling the original drawings.

      • True, Sean Connery was close to the Bond of the books, even though Flemming thought of him to be too unrefined. Which brings me to my point. Through the years the Bond of the movies developed into a refined through brutal man with little one-liners and other traditions that most fans liked. You could even say there are 2 Bonds – the book version and the movie version. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If you prefer the book version stick to the books. I personally love the over-the-top movie version.
        Then came this reboot with Craig. Fine, make him blond, tweak him here and there if you really have to mess with a winning formula, but to throw EVERYTHING out of the window and turn Bond into an humorless unrefined bland version of Bourne and then claim is true to the books (which it’s not, btw)… well, that’s simply not a Bond movie anymore, even though it was a successful action movie. I would love it if they brought back some typical Bond trademarks. I know this is a new direction for Bond, but I really really do miss Q, Pierce Brosnan, Sean Connery, Roger Moore and everything they stood for.

        • i agree…they don’t need to make the race change now…just because they need to get back to the basics…of good o’l bond. back to the humor of roger moore and classiness of Sean and Lazenby and the toughness of Pierce…they have drifted to far into a whole nother…half bond half bourne….

  3. I loved in Goldeneye when Judi Dench was first made into M how Bond tried to do the whole suave cooler-than-you approach and she totally shot him down and put him in his place, lol.

  4. Yay a good looking Girl in a Bond movie, we have not had one of those since Halle Berry.

    I like Fiennes and Bardem so that is good that they are adding them.

    I am not a hardcore Bond fan so i could care less what race the characters are, as long as the actors do a good job playing them.

  5. Oooh Harris is hot!!!! So it looks like they’re trying to win an Acadamy Award for this installment huh? Bardem should have been Bane though. I don’t know what Nolan was thinking on that one. Tom Hardy is good but he’s not big, intimidating and of Latin descent. Miscast on that one Nolan. But back to Bond. . . I forsee some sort of Oscar for this one.

    • Fellow Ranter, Bane is actually of English decent raised in a spanish prison for his father crimes. What we can hope for is that Tom Hardy uses a spanish accent. And if you listened to the viral marketing audio file chant/mantra that was released, it seems that Nolan may stay somewhat true to his origins. “Bane Bane Matalo Matalo” translates from spanish to Bane Bane Kill Him Kill Him.

      As for the casting of Naomie Harris, I could care less who plays her as long as she is not a love interest & denies all of Bonds affection attempts. The whole Virtual Reality scene in Die Another Day ending was so off character.

      • @Ignur Rant, My problem is with the fact that Tom Hardy is not big and intimidating enough to portray Bane properly as opposed to someone who already has traits closer to Bane than Hardy. Why try to get a British actor to pull off a Spanish accent when there’s already an actor who has actually from Spain, has a NATURAL ” authentic” Spanish accent, speaks fluent Spanish(obvious), looks more rugged, intimidating, and is already an Oscar award winning and critically acclaimed actor. He won an Oscar for 2007′s “No Country for Old Men” for portraying a sinister hitman, he was again nominated twice afterwards, won a Golden Globe Award, Screen Actor’s Guild Award, four Goya Awards, and two European Film Awards and much more accalades. Bardem is an activist for human rights, loves Heavy Metal and AC/DC and is naturally rebellious against the status quo. Tom Hardy is 5’9 177lbs (CHRISTIAN BALE IS 6’2,Batman is taller and bigger than BANE!!?) BUT Javier Bardem is 6’0 and a natural 200 lbs. Tom Hardy is a pretty boy, Bardem is NOT and looks like he’s been through ALLOT. Tom Hardy may very well do a great job but he is still a miscast and I believe Javier Bardem would have garnered another Oscar if he would have had the role as Bane in the Dark Knight Rises.

        • @”My problem is with the fact that Tom Hardy is not big and intimidating enough to portray Bane properly as opposed to someone who already has traits closer to Bane than Hardy.”

          You’ll never find anyone big enough to portray Bane. Unless you want to make it look cartoony as he was in Batman and Robin.

        • @Blastaar(formerly known as Ulik)
          Besides the height and size issue [which I agree] Bane is English with a Spanish accent. That is fact from the comics. Are you suggesting that we change that? That aspect alone is my favorite characteristic of Bane. Actors have for years pulled off imitating foreign accents with great success.

          Now as to not picking another English and/or white actor who physically fits the role more suitable I agree with you. Though recently I have given thought to the plus sides of why Tom Hardy even with his height could be beneficial. Batman fighting style for the most part is about surprise and one hit knock outs. In combination of being shirtless [as depicted in the viral marketing picture] and smaller Bane is more agile than Batman in his armor [Watch a Manny pacquiao fight]. Second we don’t know what kind of effects Venom will have on his body. Bane could go from being an outside to an inside fighting style with the use of Venom which could make for a serious fight scene.

      • Moneypenny showing interest in Bond was “off character”? She may have been portrayed as slightly aloof in the Dalton movies, and then more of a wise-ass in the Brosnan films, but go back and watch Lois Maxwell’s 23-year-long version. Moneypenny was always more interested in Bond than she was in her.

        • I respectfully disagree. Moneypenny does find Bond charming [what woman doesn't?] and often flirts with him but would never move to anything sexual. Bond’s lust for married/unattainable women is his way of copping with Vesper Lynn’s betrayal and avoiding long-term relationships.

          In the original Ian Flemming’s novels there is even less sexual tension, almost non-existent. The Sean Connery films with Lois Maxwell hinted at sexual tension but Bond was the aggressor. Until pierce Brosnan she differed in varying incarnations but in Goldeneye she clearly states that she is married. Though subsequent films, ala Die Another Day, change her personality in terms of the writer.

  6. Personally I think it’s laudable that they’ve made the decision to rein-vision a Bond character. Perhaps with this success they’ll be inspired to make some other changes…

  7. Great points Kofi. Great article, and I look forward to seeing this movie. What ever happened to that spin-off that was supposed to be for Halle Berry’s character? Anyway, it’s 2011, and I still see we have a lot of closet racists in the world.

    • I’m sorry but unless they get a very strong male lead, this movie won’t get made if they go with Berry’s character in the lead. Catwoman hurt her career a lot – it cast into doubt her ability to successfully open a movie. She will always be a great addition to a strong cast like the X-men movies but producers probably think it is too much of a risk.

  8. I think its great. Granted some things arent ment to be changed but i think in this case its perfectly fine and with ralph fiennes being the evil mastermind i think we’re in for a good solid movie.

  9. No, NO, NOOOOOO! The franchise was ruined with the last movie and the choice to bring it back is to totally re-imagine a beloved character. IF and ONLY if a more suitable actress could not be found, then will I accept it. But I find it hard to believe. I could accept a female M but this is not Monepenny. I suppose she will be turned into a field agent, too?

  10. Go back to the books, ORIGINAL movies> Not an issue of racism at all… what is wrong with a bit of tradition in the franchise? The last two were so full of Jason Bourne “Realism” that they have been placed near the bottom of my favorite Bond movies. Where is the tongue-in-cheek humor. Just read Jeffery Deaver’s Carte Blanche which modernized the franchise and was closer to the classic movies than the other two could dream to be.

  11. All I know is, she is so cute in that bottom picture that I would give more than a penny of my money to bond with her….!~

  12. God! I hope Naomie gets the part! :)

  13. Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes are great actors are very strong players, would be the perfect choice for Bond 23,Naomie Harris really does not fit all in the role of Moneypenny, really serious change, I hope to put another actress for that role, he others are fine, I’m ready to see Craig,Bardem and Fiennes and together,BOND 23,Awesome Movie.

  14. Fiennes should be Bond or should have been Bond

    Harris is a cute chick, Don’t care what color Penny is but Daniel Craig is a f%cking trainwreck
    Someone build a time machine so we can go grab Connery in 1963 or hire Fassbender

    • @Lord Gart, Yup, Fiennes would have brought the finesse and badassness as Bond but that won’t happen now BUT maybe he will be the ANTI-Bond, a complete replica almost but on the opposite side of the spectrum. That would be the role I’d give him. Fassbender, yup I agree should be the next Bond. I do believe this is Daniel Craig’s last Bond film though.

      • Daniel Craig signed on for 5 Bond films

        • @QU347, Oh ok,I didn’t know that.

        • wa i thought he only signed on for 3 =/

  15. Doesn’t matter race, gender or age of Moneypenny… the character should always be less attractive than the “bond girls” with which Bond flirts with to no end… the Moneypenny character is the everyperson, hoping Bond would consider them..

  16. This is a non-issue. If the gender or race of a beloved character is changed to suit the times, WHY NOT? Craigs/Bonds Blonde locks did little to upset the character as did M’s male/female change. As long as the character is WRITTEN correctly and there is chemistry, all will be well. I am just thankful that this film is being made. It should be a great bookend to the previous installments and thrill all BOND fans. LOVE IT!

  17. What a rip. They can’t make Moneypenny a guy! Wait, what? Oh, still a chick, but race is different? Well what the hell is all the fuss then?

  18. Why not, they did it with Felix Leiter and everyone likes him (Jeffery Wright)

  19. Gods I would’ve laughed my ass off if they’d gender-changed Moneypenny. Can’t you just imagine the outcry if all of a sudden we had Bond stuck in some homoerotic tension scenes? Ha!

    They only thing that matters to me is if the actors do a good job and the production tells an interesting story. Anyone with eyes and the patience to read can tell that the Connery, Dalton and (horror of horrors) Moore films had jack s–t to do with the books, and the world has changed so much that I seriously doubt we’re going to see SMERSH anytime soon, and that’s assuming the Broccolis had the sacks to “poison overseas markets”, which they didn’t when SPECTRE became the bad guys of choice.

    Why should we expect Craig/Bond films to follow the books if all 19 prior films utterly failed to do so? And yet, “Casino Royale” was one of the most faithful translations possible to ever make it from Flemming’s mind to the screen.

    I for one am a huge fan of Craig as Bond. He presents a much more serious character than has ever before been put on screen for this role, and he carries the show well. Craig is a great actor. As to charges of “Bourne-ing” it up? I’m sorry, I could actually f—–g SEE the action in CR and QoS. Greengrass and Damon should be burned in effigy for those films.

  20. Well. . . Craig is the least charming of the Bonds, but he is the most physically threatening and agressive. He also has the least one-liners which make him a bit more serious too. Here’s looking to a great next Bond film. Cheers.

  21. Craig is Bond ! Nothing else matters.

  22. NO! She is WRONG for the role of Moneypenny. Cast a Different actress thank you very much.

  23. Miss Moneypenny? What is wrong with Naomie Harris cast as the leading lady?

  24. To the whiny a-holes crying about race nobody said JACK about white people playing Japanese,Native Americans,Chinese cough Charlie Chan cough,Hispanics or even blacks such as the movie Pinky[even though I liked Jeanne Crain's performance]so stick it whiny pigs!!

  25. ["True, Sean Connery was close to the Bond of the books, even though Flemming thought of him to be too unrefined."]

    I don’t agree. Connery was no more closer to the literary Bond than any of the other actors. He was simply the first to play Bond for EON Productions. And quite frankly, I’m not that fond of the literary Bond.

  26. Well, really don’t like what they are doing to the classic james bond. I was able to overlook it in the first movie because of the excellent writing. Quantum of Solace was was lame it’s not funny. Don’t like the fact that there has been no Q and looks like it will be that way again. Blond bond is just weird. I didn’t like Felix changing color dumb and sure don’t like them changing money penny. If they want different races just write a roll like Robinson. But anyway that just my 2 cent and Craig is the worst bond since Lazenby. Miss the classics oh well I guess I just watch them and look forward the direction changing.

  27. ["Well, really don’t like what they are doing to the classic james bond. I was able to overlook it in the first movie because of the excellent writing."]

    Oh please! “Classic James Bond”? I get so sick of that term. And I get sick and tired of fans putting all of the 60s Bond films on a pedestal. Of the six movies during that decade, I only liked three – FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, THUNDERBALL, and ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE. And only two of them featured Connery.

    Aside from “ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE”, there are more Bond movies from the later decades that I like.

  28. As i said with the race changes in ALL movie series that follow an established history, WHY CHANGE THEM? We had to deal with Nick Fury being black, Felix Leiter being black, Spiderman’s comic replacement being black, Perry “White” in the new superman is going to be black, now we have to deal with Moneypenny being black? If they want roles for black actors then create new characters or flesh out other characters that were ALREADY black…dont steal from old ones because the studio is creatively retarded. The funny thing is that everyone who sticks up for these casting changes are the same people who would throw a fit if Shaft was cast as a salty white guy. Thanks Hollywood for continuing to anger people needlessly.