An all new Bond film needs an all new Bond girl and Skyfall didn’t shirk on the acting talents when they employed Naomie Harris to verbally spar, and even inflict a little collateral damage on Bond, James Bond, but who is the this latest Bond girl.
Harris was born and raised by her Jamaican single mother (sitcom writer Lisselle Kayla (who came to England from Jamaica at the age of five), in London’s Finsbury Park.
For a university Harriet Conrad went to Pembroke College Cambridge and was smart enough to get a degree in social and political sciences, but her acting education was undertaken at the Bristol old Vic Theatre School.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d seen Naomie Harris before as Skyfall isn’t Harriet’s first outing in front of the cameras. Harris has appeared in television and film since she was nine, she got her big break in the TV series White Teeth in 2002 and then played the lead (or ‘co-lead’, as she is keen to point out) in Danny Boyle’s zombie apocalypse 28 days later the same year. Having wrapped 28 Days, Harris succumbed to the typical actors’ malaise of anxiety and uncertainty. She went on the record saying ‘I haven’t worked in two months. And I don’t know what I’m going to do next,’ However she shouldn’t have worried.
Hollywood beckoned and Harris did the rounds in some marquee films although she was overshadowed by pretty much everything around her in the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean films as Tia Dalma / Calypso and as a police wife in Michael Mann’s misguided 2006 Miami Vice reimagining.
Since those very big screen outings Harriet has had a mixed bag of fortunes appearing in smaller budgeted and better received films like the Ian Drury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, but also DVD bargain bin fare like 2009’s Ninja Assassin.
It was somewhat out of the blue that Naomie Harris landed the role of Eve in Skyfall (the 23rd bond film) but it was an opportunity that she didn’t hesitate to grab hold of with both hands.
Naomie Harris Eve is certainly a Bond girl who has more to say than some of the scenery fillers, and dolly birds of the Roger Moore era. Her character doesn’t just lounge by a swimming pool in a bikini or float around in a cocktail dress watching James Bond drink his martinis, shaken and not stirred (there’s always the terribly sexy Bérénice Marlohe for that, and as Bond says, “it takes a certain type of woman to wear a backless dress with a Beretta 70 strapped to her thigh.”)
Eve gets to out-quip the man from MI6 and play with a small arsenal of weapons in her role as a British Intelligence field agent. This is a thoroughly modern Bond girl to mark the half century of the James Bond franchise.
Next up for Naomie Harris is another role as love interest to a significant man, however playing Winnie Mandela in the biopic of Nelson Mandela will require Harriet to use her acting chops rather than shooting skills.
As to whether Naomie Harris will return as Eve in future Bonds, you’ll just had to wait until the end of Skyfall to find out.