Not she James Bond girl Maryam d’Abo shuts down call for female 007

James Bond: Dalton stars in The Living Daylights 1987 trailer

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On Wednesday, James Bond fans around the world will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the cinematic debut of Sean Connery’s Dr No and the 007 film franchise as a whole. Over the course of six decades, we’ve had six white male actors officially play Ian Fleming’s spy, but is that all about to change with the reboot?

There have been calls in recent years for Bond to reflect the diversity of modern Britain with an actor of a different ethnicity playing him or even gender swapping the character entirely to female. The latter is certainly a much more controversial view given the brooding masculinity that Fleming’s character embodies. 

What’s particularly revealing and tends to shut down the conversation is when Bond girls from the last 60 years argue against such a radical change. The likes of M star Judi Dench and Die Another Day’s Rosamund Pike believe 007 should remain male, while The Man With The Golden Gun’s Britt Ekland has argued for a more classic approach to the character.

Ekland, who played Holly Goodhead opposite Sir Roger Moore in the 1974 Bond movie told GMB previously: “It would be wonderful if [after Daniel Craig] they turned back in time and turned to the traditional, old-fashioned, bachelor, pipe-smoking [spy].”

Joining her and the others in fighting the introduction of the first female incarnation of Fleming’s spy on the big screen is Maryam d’Abo.

The 61-year-old beauty played Bond girl Kara Milovy in 1987’s The Living Daylights opposite Timothy Dalton in his 007 debut.

Last night, she was interviewed before a screening of the film at the BFI’s 60th anniversary James Bond weekend by mega fan of the franchise David Walliams. was in the audience as Maryam was joined on stage by her Kamran Shah Living Daylights co-star Art Malik, who is also known for The Jewel in the Crown and True Lies.

Rounding up the conversation, Walliams asked the Bond girl who she thinks should replace Daniel Craig. After joking that the Little Britain star should, she said: “There’s loads of wonderful talented actors and it’s going to be when the time is ready isn’t it?”

Art chimed in: “I don’t know, do they go younger, do they go older, do they think outside of Great Britain, do they go within Britain, do they go into a different ethnicity?”

Art then shared a story of when they screened The Living Daylights in Frankfurt around its release. The 69-year-old remembered: “We did the Q&A and at the end of it this lady puts up her hand right at the back and goes, ‘Question for Mr Malik, why were you not James Bond?’ And I just said, ‘Skin tone’. That’s all I could think of. We weren’t ready for that yet and I think we are ready [now]. Whoever he is, or she is or…”

Suddenly Maryam jumped in to shut down her co-star exclaiming, “Not she!”, which was met with thunderous applause of approval from the audience.

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Maryam added: “Not as long as Barbara Broccoli is around will it be a she!”

The Bond girl was referring to how the 007 producer has said time and again in recent interviews that the next actor to play Fleming’s spy can and will only be played by a man. However, she rightly is open to what Art was saying, in that audiences are now ready for a Bond played by a star of different ethnicity. Though here’s hoping that whichever man is cast bags the part because he is best for the role, regardless of whether he’s white or not.

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