In a move that has left Bond fans shaken and stirred, the treasured 007 code name will pass to a woman when the secret agent leaves MI6 in the next film – although his replacement will not also take on the iconic moniker.
But while British actress Lashana Lynch will instead play a new character assigned Bond’s agent code, there is one woman who disagrees with the twist.
Trina Parks – the first black Bond girl, who played alongside Sean Connery as assassin Thumper in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever – says Bond should definitely be a man.
“Lashana is a great actress, but I don’t really agree with her becoming 007,” Trina says. “It’s not about her colour – a black James Bond, sure. But as a man.
“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.”
Trina, 71, says women taking centre stage, defeating a male adversary, is a welcome plot move – and one which Hollywood has already embraced. She says: “I like that. But I don’t feel James Bond has to go there.
“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.”
Trina praises the Bond films for helping to pave the way for more powerful ethnic roles in movies dominated for decades by white stars.
She says Bond boss Albert “Cubby” Broccoli never once mentioned her being black – and even after the movie’s release, no one made a big deal about it.
Trina insists: “The Bond franchise has gone out of the box with black actors and women of colour more than any other.
“In Hollywood, production executives were looking at women who were sexually attractive to their societal circles.
But Bond has been ahead of the times to present a black actress in a major role.
“It’s commonplace to see ethnicity in all the Bonds – and of course Naomie Harris is Miss Moneypenny and Jeffrey Wright is Felix Leiter.”
Current Bond Daniel Craig insisted earlier this year that “everybody should be considered” in casting.
He said: “For women and for African Americans, there should be great parts anyway, across the board.”
Craig’s final outing as Bond will feature the most diverse cast ever, with Captain Marvel’s Lynch, Blade Runner 2049’s Ana de Armas and Jeffrey Wright reprising his CIA role.
But Trina admits when she landed her breakthrough part she knew little about the 007 franchise – or Connery.
She laughs as she recalls her journey from the New York stage, where she thrived as a modern dancer, to a movie set, throwing martial arts moves at Sean Connery.
She admits: “I knew the Bond movies were successful, but I didn’t know who Sean Connery was. My world was Broadway – I’d never seen a Bond film.
“It never crossed my mind that I was about to make history. I was happy to get a job. I was happy that right after I did the film I was doing a play in New York.”
After being flown to California’s Palm Springs, Trina did not have to wait long before meeting Connery.
She recalls: “When I got to the hotel Sean sent a note to meet.
"I remember him being groovy, warm and kind. Not once was my race brought into the conversation as he sipped coffee.
“He told me, ‘I want to meet the person who’s going to beat me up’.”
That famous fight scene, where Bond is battered by two martial arts-loving female Spectre assassins, took two weeks to film. Trina explains: “We had to meticulously build each section, perfecting moves and placements. There was no digital re-edit or CGI, and the camera angles had to be perfect. And our acrobatics were real.
“Sean told us not to hold back and to make it look as real as possible.
“Sure he was wearing pads, but I kicked him pretty hard in the balls.”
Revealing they did not use a body double because Connery wanted it as real as possible, Trina adds: “On screen it was the first time Bond had looked so vulnerable with a woman.
“People still tell me they root for us in the fight – and I cannot think that’s ever happened since with Bond.”
Trina tells how Connery hugged her when she bumped into him in New York 20 years after filming together.
She says: “I was at the bus stop at Madison Avenue when a crowd gathered. I strolled in, tapped him on the shoulder and he smiled, ‘Oh Thumper… Trina’.”
While many other female actresses have suffered “the curse of the Bond girl”, she reveals playing Thumper gave her great global opportunities. She says: “Some people see me as a Bond woman, who can’t play anything else. My career tells a different story.
“It brought me so many more positives than negatives. My life has been full as a working actress, model and dance teacher.”
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