James Bond star Lashana Lynch has told how she is not certain which 00 agent her character is, despite being tipped for the role of 007 as she spoke of her part in the latest film in the secret agent franchise, No Time To Die.
The actor, the first black woman to portray a 00 agent, also spoke of how her character was ushering in a new era to the Bond legacy, and how scenes for the film were shot at a Royal Air Force base – an experience that left a lasting impression on her.
She said she was impressed by the 'power, history and grace' she witnessed at the RAF base during the filming, saying:
"Flying in a plane in general is really graceful and you've got to have real balls to be able to stay grounded during G force."
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Lashana, who plays Nomi, a British Secret Intelligence Service operative, or 00, in 'No Time To Die', was tipped in 2019 to become the next 007 but she herself is still not sure which 00 her character is, saying:
"She's a 00 ... actually, she's maybe a 00 one million.
"I'll actually have to ask [producer] Barbara about that because we didn't quite confirm which 00 she is."
No Time To Die Royal Navy And RAF Connection
Following the release of the film's trailer earlier this year, the Ministry Of Defence revealed to Forces News that British military equipment such as an RAF C-17 and the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Dragon were used in the making of the film as part of the Service's commercial relationships across the film and television industry.
There have been other instances in which British military equipment has been used in filming, such as the BBC’s Top Gear and Disney’s Captain Marvel, another film in which Lashana stars, playing the part of Maria Rambeau, a former US Air Force pilot and the founder of the intelligence agency S.W.O.R.D.
Lashana, in an interview with broadcaster Natasha Reneaux, of BFBS the Forces Station, revealed that scenes in which she is filmed alongside Daniel Craig as James Bond, in his last performance in the role, and actor Ben Whishaw in the part of Q, had been filmed at an RAF airbase.
The scene which she is referring to is when Bond and Nomi are sat in a futuristic-looking plane and Craig asks, 'Have you flown one of these before?' and just before taking off she, very confidently, replies 'no'.
This scene and the short exchange can be seen in the 'No Time To Die' trailer below, one minute and 41 seconds in. Speaking about the filming of the scene, the actor said:
"It's that moment there that we shot at the base and it just felt really authentic.
"It felt like you could kind of breathe in the history there.
"You could breathe in all of the accomplishments that we were adding to the history of this film."
The London-born actor enjoyed her time filming at the RAF base so much that she would like to return for a visit one day but, at the time of filming, felt as though she was intruding because she felt uncomfortable disrupting the men and women she considers to be 'superheroes'.
Like many actors, whose work involves taking on the persona of others, Lashana enjoys observing the world around her so working on an RAF base was quite a thrill for her. She said:
"Just observing the power that you exude and observing just the landscape as well - it's really beautiful.
"This kind of juxtaposition of power, history and also just complete grace."
The Black Experience On Screen
Lashana is the first black woman to portray a 00 agent, a fact that created a storm on social media after it was announced in 2019, with some fans of the Bond franchise furious with the decision.
Some argued that 007 should only be played by a white man in order to be authentic to the original storyline.
Others were less critical with some supporting the move pointing out that Bond was in any case a fictional character who had been portrayed in many guises over the years, and others said that any strong story that brought a new perspective to the role was welcome.
Lashana believes that the producers have made a concerted effort to ensure the franchise is reflecting the multi-cultural world we now live in.
Speaking to Harper's Bazaar in November 2020 about the social media backlash after it was announced that she would take on the role of Nomi, the actor explained how important it was for her to be able to represent the authentic black experience in everything she does, saying:
"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."
Lashana is proud to be joining the James Bond franchise at a time when the people working on it appear to be making positive choices about how people are portrayed. She said:
"I feel like the more you allow audience members to relate to what's happening on screen, the more you draw them in and all we want as an audience is to be completely immersed in what we're watching.
"I feel proud that Nomi has come in at a time when they are going through that shift and she is adding to that legacy."
How Prepared Did Lashana Feel To Portray A 00 Agent?
The actor revealed that she has been training hard since the audition to prepare herself for how physical she knew the role would be.
She was put through her paces by the stunt team but felt as though she had trained so well that her body was ready for any physical scene she had to film, saying:
"The stunt team were incredible … they made me feel like a machine.
"My body felt so tight, so ready, I was so in my core that I felt like inside there was nothing I couldn't do."
Does Lashana Remember When She First Discovered Bond?
In the late 1980s, Lashana's father would sit and watch James Bond films with her as a baby, unaware of the role she would eventually play in the film's history.
The actor vividly remembers watching 'Casino Royale', Daniel Craig's first outing as James Bond - after which he took on the iconic role again in Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre - in the mid-2000s and feeling a significant shift in the way she felt about the protagonist of the franchise. She said:
"That was a real shift for me because Daniel had brought something so different and dangerous and raw and incredible to this role and I felt like I could relate to him as a Londoner which was really special for me."
You can watch No Time to Die at a BFBS Cinema near you. To find out more visit here.
Cover Photo: Lashana Lynch in 'No Time To Die' as 00 agent Nomi (Picture: © 2019 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED).