Who should have played Jinx? And are the worst Bond girls American?

Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,546MI6 Agent
edited October 2020 in The James Bond Films
I've just seen the first part of JBR's review of DAD.One of the things the duo agreed on is that Halle Berry was miscast as Jinx. In that case there is an obvous question: Who should have played the role? Let's assume we're talking of a better (pre Lee Tamahori?) movie with better dialogue.

Here are some suggestions from me:

Charlize Theron - in 2002 Theron had some good movies behing her like the Cider House Rules and she would be making Monster the next year. In other words well known, but not super famous. Incredibly beautiful, a little bit exotic and a fine actress.

Salma Hayek - we know from inside information she screentested for DAD and I think she would have been great. Her screentesting shows EON was considering actresses who weren't American. Here she is with Pierce in 2004:

after-the-sunset3.jpg


Aishwarya Rai - I know Jinx is an American agent, so it can be questioned if Rai would fit the role. But she was 29 at the time, unknown in the West and a superstar in Bollywood.


Do you have any opinions on the matter.

Comments

  • AugustWalkerAugustWalker Posts: 766MI6 Agent
    Jennifer Connelly fit the role profile of the Brosnan era perfectly...I would have loved to see her as the american equivalent.
    The name is Walker by the way.

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  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,546MI6 Agent
    Jennifer Connelly is great, but personally I'd prefer it if she was cast as Christmas Jones in TWINE. Here she is in her Oscar winning perfomance in "A beautiful mind" (2001)


    abm09.jpg
  • superadosuperado Regent's Park West (CaliforniaPosts: 2,554MI6 Agent
    What was the timeline of the development of the Jinx character relative to the hiring of Halle Berry? It seems that the role was created with her in mind.
    "...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent
    I certainly would have liked to see Charlize Theron, but it's only in more recent years she's become the ass-whupping action hero worthy of the role ... I've never seen her films from around the time of DAD, could she have done it, physically?
    She's funny too, watch her in Arrested Development (a guest role full of James Bond references)


    As you say, the script still would have to be rewritten with better dialog. I'm sure I would have liked Jinx better if she'd had better lines, so change to a more likable actress might not have made that big a difference.

    Terri Hatcher's scenes in TND also suffer from really weak dialog. It's hard to properly credit the actor's contribution when the script is that poor.
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,546MI6 Agent
    I saw Charlize Theron in The Italian Job in 2003. She didn't have a lot of action scenes, but the ones she had she handled fine. Besides, when she can do amazing stunts in Atomic Blonde at 42, there is every reason to think she could have handled Jinx's stunts at 27.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent
    I forgot she was in the Italian Job right round that time.
    Usually people talk about Monster, which I've never seen. Apparently she achieved a Christian Bale style body transformation for that role, which is especially daring for an attractive young actress, as Hollywood expects actresses to stay slim and pretty, not gain weight and look scary.

    If she was Fury Road/Atomic Blonde level tough in a Brosnan-Bond movie, she would have made Brosnan look damn near useless, relying his silly little machine gun while she tears the bad guys limb from limb with her bare hands!
    Suddenly I need to see this alternate universe DaD with Theron as Jinx instead of Berry, I'm having so much fun imagining it!
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,237MI6 Agent
    If she was Fury Road/Atomic Blonde level tough in a Brosnan-Bond movie, she would have made Brosnan look damn near useless, relying his silly little machine gun while she tears the bad guys limb from limb with her bare hands!
    Suddenly I need to see this alternate universe DaD with Theron as Jinx instead of Berry, I'm having so much fun imagining it!

    I agree that Charlize Theron could easily have upstaged Brosnan in the action stakes. Eon's mooted idea of starting a spin-off Jinx franchise might have had better legs with Theron in the role. (Though any debate about which actress has the better legs would be moot!)
    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,546MI6 Agent
    Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde would easily upstage Brosnan in DAD, no doubt. But even though natural abiity is important when actors do stunts. A lot comes down to the stunt co-ordinator and how much time the actor spends with the stuntmen. I don't they think have Theron spend much much more time with the stuntmen then Brosman if she was in DAD, and they wouldn't have given Jinx all the cool stunts so she upstaged Brosnan.
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,546MI6 Agent
    edited October 2020
    I have a question that's so closely related to this topic I don't bother starting a new thread.
    I don't think I'm alone in thinking the American Bond girls in modern times haven't been good. When was the last good (in terms of story and acting, not morals) American Bond girl? Holly Goodhead? Pam Bouvier?
    Why is this? I think part of it is the fact that they are Americans arent't seen as exotic, at least in movies. But I think the onther reasons are how the characters are written, directed and somethimes acted.
    Discuss ...
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,237MI6 Agent
    edited October 2020
    If we look at American characters Jinx, Pam Bouvier and Holly Goodhead, they all work as espionage professionals, exercising varying degrees of professional rivalry with Bond even though operating on the same side as him. (As a nuclear scientist, Christmas Jones is in a slightly different position but - at least initially - she's also keen to assert her professional expertise. The same applies to geologist Stacey Sutton, to a lesser extent.)

    So Jinx, Pam and Holly are like female 'action Leiters', and Bond's sexually charged alliances with them offer a fantasy resolution to a British post-war anxiety dating back to Fleming: the UK's questionable importance on the world stage as a post-imperial nation in the shadow of the USA as a technocratic superpower. British, European and Asian Bond girls don't have to carry that particular transatlantic baggage, whether or not they're espionage professionals - and neither do Tiffany Case, May Day, the Kim Basinger Domino or Paris Carver, as vamps, sympathetic molls or gold-diggers. Certainly by DAD, any sex-inflected, fantasy resolution to implied transatlantic rivalry was feeling rather cliched - more of a 20th century theme for the genre - and this may explain some of the fan fall-out with Jinx (or Christmas Jones before her).
    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,546MI6 Agent
    Those are interesting and valid points. I wonder if American Bondgirls is a way to get more interest for the movie in America, and in that case if it works?
  • SpectreOfDefeatSpectreOfDefeat Posts: 333MI6 Agent
    "I wonder if American Bondgirls is a way to get more interest for the movie in America, and in that case if it works?"

    I think it depends on the film in question. Certainly in the case of DAD, casting Halle Berry, who won a Best Supporting Oscar during production, would have helped to raise the film's profile. Similarly, casting Denise Richards in TWINE was a definite attempt to appeal to the younger American demographic of viewers.

    "I don't think I'm alone in thinking the American Bond girls in modern times haven't been good. When was the last good (in terms of story and acting, not morals) American Bond girl? Holly Goodhead? Pam Bouvier?"

    I think it comes down in the end to good chemistry with the Bond actor of the day. This is an area where (in my opinion) some of the American Bond girls fall short- particularly Denise Richards and Halle Berry with Brosnan, and Tanya Roberts with Moore.

    I don't think the supposed lack of 'exotic quality' with regards to American nationality is the main problem here, necessarily. It ought to be remembered that the best Bond girl of the last twenty years was British- Eva Green as Vesper Lynd in CR. What matters is strong acting and writing, and tangible chemistry with the main star. CR, for example has this in spades where TWINE and DAD are markedly less successful.
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,237MI6 Agent
    edited October 2020
    It ought to be remembered that the best Bond girl of the last twenty years was British- Eva Green as Vesper Lynd in CR.

    French, surely, though representing the UK's Treasury.


    On tales where 'Bond meets his American match'...

    The irony is, I think, that in the post-Craig era of Bond there may be opportunities to tell, in a relevant way, more stories about Bond sexually consummating relationships with female American agents initially seen as rivalling him. The escapist need on the part of a British audience for a fantasy resolution to the problem of 'the special relationship' may again become acute in a real world where Biden wins, de-prioritises a trade deal with the UK in his support of the Good Friday Agreement and leads a restoration of progressive globalism which leaves Brexit on the wrong side of history...
    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • SpectreOfDefeatSpectreOfDefeat Posts: 333MI6 Agent
    "The escapist need on the part of a British audience for a fantasy resolution to the problem of 'the special relationship' may again become acute in a real world where Biden wins, de-prioritises a trade deal with the UK in his support of the Good Friday Agreement and leads a restoration of progressive globalism which leaves Brexit on the wrong side of history..."

    I would argue that this is essentially the function of the Felix Leiter character, at least in the older films- to depict a glamourised fantasy Anglo-centric version of the Special Relationship where the UK takes charge of solving American problems. In Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever and The Living Daylights, to name a few, Bond is shown to be more competent and effective at dealing with America's foes than Leiter and his CIA colleagues, who tend to trail hopelessly in his wake while the UK is seen to take a senior leading role.

    This phenomenon reaches its peak in the Brosnan era, where Jack Wade is depicted as an embarrassing, loudmouthed boor, Bond's social and cultural opposite. Interestingly, in real life in the mid-1990s, relations between the UK and US were at something of a low, primarily due to Northern Ireland. The portrayal of the CIA and American interests in GE and TND unsubtly reflects this.

    Perhaps as you say, if relations between Biden and Britain get off to a bad start, these issues will come to the fore in Bond films again...
  • ironponyironpony Posts: 56MI6 Agent
    What's so bad about Halle Berry? She's hot and I find her very charming, and I never had a problem with acting. She won an Oscar previously so is she that bad? I'm not not seeing what's so bad and I always liked Jinx as a character. Yes she had the bad 'yo mama' line but should we throw out a whole character and an actor's portrayal, just because of one line everyone gets caught up on?
  • superadosuperado Regent's Park West (CaliforniaPosts: 2,554MI6 Agent
    On the question about American girls, yes imho, but why is that so in the Bond movies? With the exception of Holly Goodhead, it seems Tiffany Case became the template for all the American Bond girls, including Jinx. Holly was classier than the rest. Even the Fleming books and some of the continuation novels made out the American Bond girls a bit rougher around the edges.
    "...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....
  • sniperUKsniperUK UlsterPosts: 587MI6 Agent
    I never really had a problem with the Jinx character, but Halle Berry now could really take it to another level, the Bond producers need to step up their weapons training for their actors.
    https://youtu.be/xa2RJPrY2Og
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,055MI6 Agent
    I don't think the supposed lack of 'exotic quality' with regards to American nationality is the main problem here, necessarily. It ought to be remembered that the best Bond girl of the last twenty years was British- Eva Green as Vesper Lynd in CR.

    Does anyone actually think of Vesper as English though? I can see that Green is trying the occasional word with a British accent, but she's massively French.
  • walther p99walther p99 NJPosts: 3,392MI6 Agent
    Number24 wrote:
    Jennifer Connelly is great, but personally I'd prefer it if she was cast as Christmas Jones in TWINE. Here she is in her Oscar winning perfomance in "A beautiful mind" (2001)


    abm09.jpg
    Jennifer Connelly would've been perfect for a Bond woman during the Brosnan era.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent
    superado wrote:
    On the question about American girls, yes imho, but why is that so in the Bond movies? With the exception of Holly Goodhead, it seems Tiffany Case became the template for all the American Bond girls, including Jinx. Holly was classier than the rest. Even the Fleming books and some of the continuation novels made out the American Bond girls a bit rougher around the edges.
    Fleming was a fan of Hammett and Chandler, and challenged himself to capture the gangster idiom. Tiffany and Pussy were his attempts at gangster dame characters, with what he thought to be accurate dialog. Was there any other American Fleming girl? Liz Krest maybe, she's not a gangster dame, but rather a pathetic trophy bride. And the unseen Solange from 007 in New York.

    But when they filmed Goldfinger, Pussy Galore, was played by a British actress and they dropped the backstory. So I think that means Jill St John's Tiffany Case was the original American cinematic Bondgirl.
    emtiem wrote:
    Does anyone actually think of Vesper as English though? I can see that Green is trying the occasional word with a British accent, but she's massively French.
    it never occurred to me she wasnt British. In the book she's an employee of MI6 stationed in Paris, in the film she's working for the Treasury Department. Backstory has changed slightly, but the default assumption is she's British. Was there any dialog to suggest otherwise?
  • Matt SMatt S Oh Cult Voodoo ShopPosts: 6,522MI6 Agent
    If Vesper is a French character, we can add Anya Amasova to the list of American Bond girls.
    Visit my blog, Bond Suits
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,055MI6 Agent
    emtiem wrote:
    Does anyone actually think of Vesper as English though? I can see that Green is trying the occasional word with a British accent, but she's massively French.
    it never occurred to me she wasnt British. In the book she's an employee of MI6 stationed in Paris, in the film she's working for the Treasury Department. Backstory has changed slightly, but the default assumption is she's British. Was there any dialog to suggest otherwise?

    Well everything she said in her heavy French accent! :D
    I get that the character is English, but she just.. isn't.
    Matt S wrote:
    If Vesper is a French character, we can add Anya Amasova to the list of American Bond girls.

    Do you know, I don't think I've ever heard Bach speak in her natural accent: I assumed she was a Brit! :)
    Anya certainly doesn't speak with an American accent (if not an accurate Russian one), so it's not really the same thing.
  • Matt SMatt S Oh Cult Voodoo ShopPosts: 6,522MI6 Agent
    emtiem wrote:
    Do you know, I don't think I've ever heard Bach speak in her natural accent: I assumed she was a Brit! :)
    Anya certainly doesn't speak with an American accent (if not an accurate Russian one), so it's not really the same thing.

    There are plenty of occasions when Bach's Queen's/Long Island accent comes out. It's definitely not a typical American accent, and her accent is distantly evolved from a Yiddish accent, but in a very New York kind of way.
    Visit my blog, Bond Suits
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,055MI6 Agent
    Matt S wrote:
    emtiem wrote:
    Do you know, I don't think I've ever heard Bach speak in her natural accent: I assumed she was a Brit! :)
    Anya certainly doesn't speak with an American accent (if not an accurate Russian one), so it's not really the same thing.

    There are plenty of occasions when Bach's Queen's/Long Island accent comes out. It's definitely not a typical American accent, and her accent is distantly evolved from a Yiddish accent, but in a very New York kind of way.

    Such as when?

    Does Green genuinely convince as an Englishwoman to you? I am actually curious, I didn't know people thought she did.
  • Matt SMatt S Oh Cult Voodoo ShopPosts: 6,522MI6 Agent
    emtiem wrote:
    Matt S wrote:
    emtiem wrote:
    Do you know, I don't think I've ever heard Bach speak in her natural accent: I assumed she was a Brit! :)
    Anya certainly doesn't speak with an American accent (if not an accurate Russian one), so it's not really the same thing.

    There are plenty of occasions when Bach's Queen's/Long Island accent comes out. It's definitely not a typical American accent, and her accent is distantly evolved from a Yiddish accent, but in a very New York kind of way.

    Such as when?

    Does Green genuinely convince as an Englishwoman to you? I am actually curious, I didn't know people thought she did.

    Barbara Bach speaks in her natural accent in the scene when Jaws is tearing apart the van. She’s not trying at all in that scene.

    Eva Green goes in an out of a British accent. There are so many different British accents that as an American I wouldn’t know how exactly she is supposed to sound. To me, she sounds very British with certain words and has the French mumble with other words.
    Visit my blog, Bond Suits
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,055MI6 Agent
    I can't really hear that in the van scene: she seems the same as in the rest of the film to me, and she only has a couple of lines there. I did look up an interview with her and it was quite surprising! I had no idea she had that heavy an accent :D

    I can certainly see that Green is trying the occasional word with British pronunciation (and she also seems to think that British people exhale completely before speaking for some reason! :) ) but I think most people, in Britain especially, would be surprised if you told them she was supposed to be a Brit in it. I don't know why they didn't add a mention to her character having one French parent or something (the 'orphan' scene would seem a natural place for this: Bond is supposed to deducing things about her but never notices her heavy French accent!)- it would actually have been quite a Fleming touch.
    Mind you, I guess Mathis is extremely Italian for no particular reason! :) I guess you can take a direct boat..!
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent
    edited February 16
    Matt S wrote:
    There are plenty of occasions when Bach's Queen's/Long Island accent comes out. It's definitely not a typical American accent, and her accent is distantly evolved from a Yiddish accent, but in a very New York kind of way.
    wait, are you saying Barbara Bach normally talks like Edith Bunker? she's a better actor than I thought!
    but if she is an American should she be added to the list of alltime worst BondGirls? is it a subset of actors or characters?
    I don't seriously think she is that competent an actor. Jill St John was better. But the character is one of the alltime great Bondgirls, as fars I'm concerned.


    I dont think I've ever seen Eva Green in anything else, is one reason it never occurred to me Vesper was anything but British. preconceptions from other appearances can influence us.


    I never used to think Pussy Galore was anything but American, assuming whatever Fleming wrote to be canon unless explicitly contradicted. but because I recently watched seasons 2 and 3 of the Avengers, I now see the character as being Cathy Gale working undercover. Hard not to, she's not playing the part as a typical gangster dame, definitely more Cathy Gale than the character Fleming wrote. But Blackman has a steely sort of Katherine Hepburn type voice, no discernable accent, I'd never have guessed she was British if I hadn't done further research.
    Do we count her Pussy Galore as one of these American BondGirls?
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,055MI6 Agent
    Steed does mention Cathy Gale leaving and going to a job at Fort Knox in an episode of The Avengers! :)
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,186MI6 Agent
    yup, and theres an episode called The Gilded Cage (season 3 episode 7 broadcast November 9th 1963), where she...
    1) goes undercover in a gang, 2) plans a heist for them in which they rob a gold vault, 3) plans the use of a gas to knock out everybody in the vault, and 4) has to figure out how to pass a message to Steed while effectively held prisoner (she sends a postcard!).
    It's like the audition that got her the job one year later with Auric Goldfinger!
    gilded1.jpg gilded4.jpg


    but serious question to Number24 since its his hypothesis:
    do we count either Barbara Bach or Honour Blackman as American BondGirls? is it the actress or the character?
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,546MI6 Agent
    Good question (meaning I'm not 100% sure). I guess it's the character.
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