Lashana Lynch has spoken about being the first black female 007 in the Bond franchise, saying it will “push the needle forward” in terms of representation.
Lynch, from West London, plays the mysterious Nomi in No Time to Die, which is Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond.
Speaking about her role in the film, Lynch revealed how important she is for the franchise and cinema as a whole.
She said: “Nomi is so overly confident and suave and ready to take over the world. As soon as she became a 00 agent, she was ready to put her stamp on what it means to be a black woman in MI6, to represent her community, much like I do in my own life, and to actually give people a run for their money.”
“To be vocal and opinionated and listened to and considered, and push the needle forward both as a character in cinema but also in the film. She really challenges Bond to think in a way that he may not have thought like before.”
Initially, when the Bond opportunity came about, Lynch had reservations about joining another franchise – about getting lost “behind the man”, as she puts it – but on speaking with the producer Barbara Broccoli and the director Cary Joji Fukunaga, she understood that their intentions ran alongside hers. Before filming began, she sat down with Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who was there to infuse the script with a fresh female perspective. Lynch wanted to ensure Nomi was subtly drawn, believable, perhaps even a little awkward. She set out to portray the truth of being a Black woman –someone she might know; someone in her family – avoiding the two-dimensional view that can be so easily conveyed on screen or written in scripts.
“A character that is too slick, a cast-iron figure? That’s completely against what I stand for,” says Lynch. ‘I didn’t want to waste an opportunity when it came to what Nomi might represent. I searched for at least one moment in the script where Black audience members would nod their heads, tutting at the reality but glad to see their real life represented. In every project I am part of, no matter the budget or genre, the Black experience that I’m presenting needs to be 100 per cent authentic.”
She sees her role in No Time to Die as a step in the right direction– a way of confronting stereotypes around race and gender that have persisted for far too long. “I feel very grateful that I get to challenge those narratives,” she says. “We’re moving away from toxic masculinity, and that’s happening because women are being open, demanding and vocal, and calling out misbehaviour as soon as we see it.”
No Time To Die is out now in DVD.