Actress Lashana Lynch, who played Maria Rambeau in Captain Marvel and is set to play Nomi in the upcoming James Bond film, No Time To Die, recently claimed that reaction to her being cast in the film reminded her of segregation.
Speaking with The Guardian  to promote the upcoming film, Lynch claimed the response to her casting was generally positive. However, she went to note that some messages she received and conversations she saw reminded her of segregation.
That backlash first came after a rumor noted that Lynch’s character would be taking on the 007 moniker in the film. In July 2019, The Daily Mail reported that Lynch would play 007 in the film after Daniel Craig’s James Bond retires.
A source told them, “There is a pivotal scene at the start of the film where M says ‘Come in 007’, and in walks Lashana who is black, beautiful and a woman.”
“It’s a popcorn-dropping moment. Bond is still Bond but he’s been replaced as 007 by this stunning woman,” the source added.
Following this rumor, Harpers Bazaar published an interview with Lynch with a headline that reads, “Lashana Lynch on making history as the first Black female 007.”
In the article, written by Yrsa Daley-War, it proclaimed, “Today, on a still Saturday morning in August, Lynch is doing precisely that, chatting to me warmly and directly about her latest – and surely career-defining – role in No Time to Die, the Bond franchise’s 25th release, in which she stars as Nomi, the secret agent who inherits the 007 title while Bond himself is in exile.”
In the interview, Lynch didn’t confirm she would be 007, but she also discussed backlash to her casting and noted that she is part of something “very, very revolutionary.”
She said, ““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.”
“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 added.
Now, Lynch speaking with The Guardian, claims she will not be 007. She stated, “Nooo! You don’t want me!”
She then added, “I’d just be like…‘Erm, right, so where do you start again?”
However, she went on to add, “We are in a place in time where the industry is not just giving audiences what it thinks the audience wants. They’re actually giving the audience what they want to give the audience.”
Lynch then asserted, “With Bond, it could be a man or woman. They could be white, black, Asian, mixed race. They could be young or old. At the end of the day, even if a two-year-old was playing Bond, everyone would flock to the cinema to see what this two-year-old’s gonna do, no?”
Lynch did indicate that her character is supposed to be “a match for Bond.”
She explained, “I think they were just looking for someone who would be able to be a match for Bond.”
“Who would be able to stand up and be vocal and forthright and strong and able to handle a weapon, able to handle herself and not someone who takes any crap from anybody at all. Then, as it unfolded, she became this quite complicated, free, open-minded vocal human being who brings a really nice twist to MI6,” she elaborated.
Lynch went on to explain what she wanted from the character from writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, “I said, I want her to be a real woman, but I don’t want her work to make her masculine. She’s not slick. She has it together, she’s highly competent and very highly skilled, but she’s a real human being and sometimes she’s awkward.”
She added, “And that’s what is so clever about Phoebe’s writing. Once we’d had a conversation about her possibly being awkward, there were some moments that I read that were just like, ‘Oh no, is she really going to say that in the scene? I’m so here for it!'”
That clever writing includes scenes featuring tampons thrown in the trash and Lynch’s character picking her nose and pulling out a wedgie.
She explains, “I thought there might be a scene where she’s coming out of the toilet and you see her throw her tampon in the bin.”
“We don’t need to make a meal out of it! But we’re in the ladies’ room, you’re going to see someone pick their nose or pull out their wedgie. Bottom line: this woman is going to be relatable,” she asserts.
Later in the interview with The Guardian, Lynch compared the backlash to segregation, “The response was generally positive, but there were some very personal messages to me, like Insta DMs and Twitter.”
She continued, “And just conversations that my friends had heard or overheard on the tube that were really mean, dark and reminiscent of an age I wasn’t even born in, where women and black people weren’t allowed to move in certain spaces. So it also reminded me about the work that I still have to do to try to change the world in a little way that I know how.”
Lynch then went on to compare her experience to England’s defeat in theUEFA European Football Championship, “Well, I wasn’t surprised at the response from the football, which is really sad for me to have to say. If you are a black person in entertainment or a black person in sport, and you ‘fail’, you are reminded that you cannot do both.”
“You cannot be black and entertain and fail. You have to be black and entertain and win it for the country and win it for the world and win it for history,” she said.
Interestingly enough, one of the biggest critics of Lynch’s casting and the rumor about her playing 007 was the first black Bond Girl, Trina Parks.
Parks spoke with The Daily Mail about Lynch taking on the role of Agent 007 where she said, “Lashana is a great actress, but I don’t really agree with her becoming 007. It’s not about her colour – a black James Bond, sure. But as a man.”
Parks continued, “It’s just because Bond, the spy code named 007, was written by Ian Fleming as a man. Miss Bond doesn’t have the same ring to it.”
And while Lynch is advocating for the Bond franchise to follow modern Hollywood trends, Parks had a very different take saying, “I think that there are lots of movies already where you have a woman taking center stage, defeating men – and I like that. But I don’t feel James Bond has to go there.”
She elaborated, “It’s been a tremendous franchise since the 60s, and they’ve always been innovators not followers. They set a standard – that has remained a classic film with a man as Bond. That’s how I think it should stay.”
What do you make of Lynch’s recent claims about backlash to her casting being compared to segregation?