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

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)

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