No Time to Die actress Lashana Lynch opened up about the backlash she's endured after being cast as the James Bond franchise's first Black female 007 agent.
The 32-year-old British actress was previously rumored to take the reigns from Daniel Craig after his final outing as the British superspy. While longtime Bond producer Barbara Broccoli has promised that the titular character will remain male after Craig's exit, Lynch's high-ranking role in the upcoming movie caused enough of a stir that she felt forced to temporarily withdraw from social media.
“I am one Black woman — if it were another Black woman cast in the role, it would have been the same conversation, she would have got the same attacks, the same abuse,” she said in a recent cover story with Harper's Bazaar UK. “I just have to remind myself that the conversation is happening and that I’m a part of something that will be very, very revolutionary.”
Lynch's character, Nomi, was featured in the very first No Time to Die trailer, as Fox News notes. When Craig's Bond expresses surprise upon learning of her "double-O" status, she replies, "The world has moved on, Commander Bond. So stay in your lane. Or I will put a bullet in your knee."
As an artist, Lynch said that she's happy to help break the stereotypes around race and gender as a No Time to Die star.
“We’re moving away from toxic masculinity, and that’s happening because women are being open, demanding and vocal and calling out misbehavior as soon as we see it,” said Lynch, who is of British and Jamaican descent.
"Now we’re in a time when artists have enough collective energy to evoke change. There’s real work to be done, there are frank conversations to be had. A magazine cover is already pretty, the words don’t have to be."
Before filming even began, Lynch spoke with Broccoli and director Cary Joji Fukunaga to ensure that Nomi wouldn't be "behind the man," but powerful and complex.
"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."
No Time to Die is currently slated to arrive in theaters on April 2 2021.