What makes a great double-0 agent? Despite its nearly 60-year run, the 007 franchise has shown us very little of James Bond’s MI6 colleagues in the field. Those that we do meet usually go unnamed and wind up dead—or later reveal they faked their own death so that they could defect to a Russian crime syndicate and plot to incite a global economic crisis via satellite.
That makes Nomi’s introduction in No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s latest and last outing as Bond, especially significant. Played by Captain Marvel’s Lashana Lynch, Nomi is the first double-0 agent with any real screen time in the series to not turn homicidal (at least, we hope).
In other words, most of our understanding of what makes a successful MI6 operative with a license to kill has been shaped by Bond himself: The ruthlessness, style, the wry humor, the insatiable thirst for a martini—shaken, not stirred. That gave Lynch the space to define Nomi on her own terms, to explore how a Black woman might navigate a male-dominated field, and showcase how other double-0s get the job done.
Not unlike Craig’s tough but wounded take on Bond, Lynch’s Nomi is almost impossibly cool—though she’s not impossible. In conversation with The A.V. Club, the actor shares how she collaborated with artists in just about every film department to get the details just right for Nomi, to portray a female super-spy who never felt unattainable:
“It was important for me to, straight off, have conversations with all of the departments about representing women in the most natural form ever. I wanted hair and makeup to be, of course, lovely and beautiful—we are in a movie world, after all—but also not unattainable. I wanted people to think, “Oh, I can achieve that look at home!” I wanted the costume designer Suttirat [Anne Larlarb]—who’s wonderful—to really make all of my costumes shapely, and really show off figure and be proud of body image. You know, [for] everything to be usable, functional. I didn’t want there to be any pockets that didn’t need to be there.”
Lynch also spoke to Nomi’s symbolic importance as a woman in a position previously only occupied by men, and how she worked with co-writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge to define her voice:
“I also didn’t want her to be one of the dudes. I wanted her to be a woman at work, you know? In a position that a man maybe usually would be in, but also showing women that there’s the possibility—even more so now—that you can be in roles like this, in industries like this. And the writers just got it! Phoebe Waller-Bridge, especially, when I had a conversation with her, I just kind of vomited everything that I really wanted for the role. And she was like, “Sure! That’s exactly what I was thinking. I’m ready to write that, yeah, I’m going to get on it.” And then it turned into the Nomi that we see now.”
You can watch more of our conversation with Lashana Lynch in the video above, including how preparing for No Time To Die’s stunt work has given her “skills for life.” (In other words, don’t cross Lashana because she can take you out)
No Time To Die finally opens in U.S. theaters on Friday, October 8. For our review on the 25th official 007 movie, you can read A.A. Dowd’s review here. For a broader look at the James Bond franchise, check out our Inventory on 10 instances where the blockbuster series chased other action movie trends.