​léa seydoux and monica bellucci are the feminist bond girls fighting hollywood’s sexism

We speak to the stars of Spectre, who say things are changing for women in film.

by i-D Staff and Felicity Kinsella
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29 October 2015, 12:00am

There's a long line of actresses who have called out Hollywood's sexist, ageist casting practices, and the Bond films have always topped the list, with the biggest age gap so far between James Bond and his female love interest being 30 years (Roger Moore and Carole Bouquet in For Your Eyes Only). But the 26th Bond film Spectre, directed by Sam Mendes, sees "the oldest Bond girl ever!!!" take to our screens. Monica Bellucci at 51 seducing a 47-year-old Daniel Craig as Bond shouldn't be a revelation, but it is. Perhaps change is brewing in Hollywood… The previous oldest Bond girl was Honour Blackman, who played Pussy Galore at 39. The other Bond girl in Spectre is 30-year-old French actress Léa Seydoux, who had us feeling feelings we'd never felt before as the blue-haired, lesbian artist in Blue is the Warmest Colour. Claiming that Spectre is more feminist than previous films, Seydoux describes her character, Madeleine Swann, as Bond's equal, and true to her word, it's Swann that saves Bond from more than a few sticky situations this time around.

How did you both feel when you found out you were going to be the new Bond girls?
Léa: I couldn't believe it. I was so excited to be in a Bond film and be with all these extremely talented actors, and Sam Mendes as a director was just a dream.
Monica: Me too, I was very excited to work with Sam and Daniel. I never did any scenes with Léa, but she's so great in the movie. There are two different women in the film; Lucia [Monica's character] comes from the past, she's a widow, and she needs to escape from her situation, so Sam was looking for a 50-year-old woman, and in the film she really has to look 50, because we need to feel a sadness. She needs Bond to come out from this world where men have all the power. Madeleine represents a woman of action - completely different.

How has the concept of the "Bond Girl" developed over the course of the movies?
Léa: The Bond movies are always a reflection of society, so I think that now, for my character, she's modern, she's independent, she's strong. She doesn't need Bond to survive, to exist. That way I think she's very modern.
Monica: I think the Bond Girls have always had this very strong femininity, even when they're playing bad roles, like Famke Janssen in Goldeneye - I always say her because I think she was great. And I'm thinking about Eva Green, or Sophie Marceau or Rosamund Pike. There are iconic moments that we all remember.

There's been a lot of controversy surrounding ageism and sexism in Hollywood at the moment. James Bond is often brought into these conversations for featuring Bond Girls a lot younger than Bond…
Monica: James Bond likes everything.
Léa: Not only women!

Really?!
Léa: [laughs] you'll find out… In the next movie!

I can't wait, the big reveal!
Monica: I mean James Bond is incredible because it's unpredictable, mysterious, and now it's the first time we see him being romantic.

There are two Bond Girls in Spectre, Léa, you're younger by 17 years, but Monica you're more of a similar age to Daniel Craig, do you think things are changing?
Monica: I'm older! I think it is revolutionary to represent an adult woman who doesn't make an effort to look younger. It's also may be a new way to look at actresses and women.

Who are your favourite Bond Girls?

Léa: I am! No [laughs], I love Eva Green, and I have to say Monica, I really love you in the film!
Monica: Amore! There are iconic moments, like Ursula Andress coming out of the water, and Halle Berry, she was great

Léa, this is your first big blockbuster movie, how have things changed for you
Léa: Things haven't really changed. In France, it's not like here or America. People are not crazy about "stars". The system is different. You can have your own privacy.

Are you prepared for the publicity after the film comes out?
Léa: We'll see. Nobody really recognises me. I take the tube and everything!

Tagged:
feminism
Culture
daniel craig
james bond
bond
Spectre
bond girls
Léa Seydoux
monica belluci