Hey all, on to more fun at the New York junket for 007ís latest thrill ride, Skyfall, we had the pleasure of an exclusive interview with an actress weíve watched for ages in 28 Days Later, the Pirates of the Caribbean series and Ninja Assassin. Naomie Harris is the latest lady to go toe-to-toe with James Bond.
The Lady Miz Diva: Youíve worked successfully for years in films like 28 Days Later, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Ninja Assassin and The First Grader, but now you will always be associated with one of the greatest film franchises. Have you noticed the attention shift since your involvement was announced?
Naomie Harris: Yeah, definitely. Definitely! Like yesterday, I tried to go to Bloomingdales and there were a load of people outside of the hotel who wanted autographs and there were paparazzi who followed me down the street, and Iíve never had that before. Never! Yeah, itís completely changed, really different.
I think itíll die down after the movieís out. Theyíre just excited now.
LMD: I donít know, youíre a Bond lady, youíre immortal now. Whatís more in my conversations with Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson and Bťrťnice Marlohe, we discussed the prospect that this might be the first time that both Bond girls are not Caucasian.
NH: HmmmÖ exciting stuff! Progress!
LMD: I asked Barbara Broccoli about it and she said they didnít even notice.
NH: Yeah, itís so true. Itís so true because the casting of my character, I know they just cast and they didnít necessarily want anyone of any ethnicity; they just wanted the best person for the role. Itís really cool. Theyíre so progressive. Theyíre amazing, the producers are brilliant. I love them.
LMD: Your scenes with Daniel Craig just spark really nicely. Can you talk about how you worked on your scenes, particularly the repartee in the new MI6 and the scene of you two walking through the casino? Did you have a lot of rehearsal?
NW: We didnít have much rehearsal at all, really. You donít generally for film. It was just, I donít know, we just did it. We just had fun. I think the great thing for me was that Sam made me feel incredibly relaxed and comfortable as though I could fail if I wanted to; it was no big deal we could do it again. And then Daniel just made it fun cos he just made me laugh. And thatís what I think chemistry comes from, when youíre just relaxed and youíre just having fun with each other, youíre just playing and thatís what we were doing.
LMD: Skyfall is loaded with characters that are broken and damaged in some form or other. Eve is not, or at least appears to be well-adjusted and has such a sense of humour even in dire circumstances. Did you make up a backstory for Eve?
NH: Oh gosh, I made a whole backstory for Eve. Eve is like -- what was the whole thing that I made up -- oh yeah, her mother got killed in front of her and thatís why she always was obsessed with becoming an agent because she wanted to bring justice into the world and catch the bad guys. Catching every bad guy was like catching the person who killed her mother. So definitely, I really went to town with my imagination on that one.
LMD: Well, you went to town and then you really went to town. Youíre introduced very dramatically with a heck of an opening sequence; driving through the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and then shooting and fighting. This is different for you. Can you talk about the training and physicality of the role?
NH: Yes, there was lots of training; it was like two months of training, five days a week, two hours a day. Yeah, it was really a lot. I did that and then I did three days a week I was on the gun range, as well, learning to fire Walther PPKís and machine guns and sniper rifles, and then I was also out doing combat training once a week, and then stunt driving twice a week. I learned how to shave, as well. I was trained by a barber.
LMD: Were you a little hesitant to think of the fact that you are the girl who potentially killed James Bond?
NW: Yeah, I was. I was like, ĎReally, do we have to do that? Really? Canít we change it, Sam?í I thought I was never going to live it down and people were just going to hate my character from that moment onwards, but actually, no oneís really seemed to mind that much. They seemed to have kind of forgiven me, which is really nice.
LMD: I donít want to give away spoilers, but letís just say your character has a wonderful surprise. Did you know about the surprise when you signed up?
NW: Yeah, and I completely knew about the whole journey of the character when I signed on. Actually, it was a great role already and the journey that she goes on ultimately made her even more exciting.
LMD: Youíve been vocal about your thoughts on the lack of female input on the film industry. On Skyfall, youíre working with Barbara Broccoli, who is one of the most successful female movie producers. Can you talk about her contribution and what difference she makes as a woman to this franchise or to the experience of making the film?
NH: She makes a huge difference because she is so maternal, so you have this incredible mix of this businesswoman -- and sheís a very successful businesswoman -- but she brings all that maternal, caring instinct to the film. So you feel incredibly looked after. You feel like youíre welcomed into a family. And that mixture of family and business Iíve never had before and thatís a very female thing, I think to have that kind of maternal care is what you feel.
LMD: On the other side of that is that the Bond films seem to be very much a guyís territory. Can you ever picture a female Bond director, or is that notion just too far off?
NH: I definitely could picture that because I donít think theyíre just male territory; women love them. So I donít think itís just guyís territory at all. I could see a woman Bond director, definitely.
LMD: Since a lot of the theme of Skyfall is old versus new, can you talk about Bond girls of the past and why theyíre so iconic, and why they resonate so strongly with people and how theyíve progressed through the years to the point where you are here.
NH: I think they resonate because we grow up with them. Theyíve been around for such a long time. Thereís something fun about them. Itís kind of playful and thatís how itís historically been. But now, Barbara, Sam, Eon generally are just playing with that and really flipping it on its head and totally making it modern, totally making it relevant. Cos it wouldnít make sense if you had a woman and all she had to offer was big boobs and some strong thighs, you know what I mean? It doesnít make sense anymore. So they make it relevant and reflective of women today; women today are capable of anything, women today are doing all kinds of professions and I think itís wonderful that it does that. And I think that it makes people even more excited about these roles because theyíre old; theyíve got the classic elements of the class, the sort of mysterious quality to them, but then theyíre also reflective of the times, as well.
LMD: With that said and having grown up with Bond girls; whoís your favourite?
NH: My favourite is Grace Jones. I love Grace Jones! Thereís never been a Bond woman like Grace Jones. I mean, she is fierce! I love her outfits. Like I would wear her outfits today, seriously, itís amazing.
LMD: Youíre doing so well, Iíd love to know whatís next for you?
NH: Well, I finished Bond and two days later I went out to play Winnie Mandela in a movie called Long Walk to Freedom.
~ The Lady Miz Diva
October 15th, 2012
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