Britt Ekland Says Bond Girls Were "More Fun" Before "Political Correctness"
The 80-year-old actor starred in 1974's The Man with the Golden Gun.
The James Bond movie franchise has been around for over 60 years, so it's seen times change—and its Bond girls have, too. From Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder, the first Bond girl in 1962's Dr. No, to Lashana Lynch taking over as a new 007 named Nomi in the latest Bond movie, No Time to Die, women in the Bond universe have come a long way. One classic Bond girl, Britt Ekland, doesn't think that changing attitudes have done much to improve those characters, however. She claimed in a new interview that Bond girls of the early days had more fun, even though modern Bond girls enjoy some benefits she didn't have when starring in 1974's The Man with the Golden Gun.
Read on to see what else Ekland had to say about how "political correctness" has transformed Bond girls.
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Ekland was a Bond girl nearly 50 years ago.
Ekland starred as Mary Goodnight in 1974's The Man with the Golden Gun opposite Roger Moore. In 2012, she spoke to HuffPost about being proud of her Bond girl title.
"At the time it was not important because I had done plenty of films before, Bond was just something I wanted to do, I liked the idea of coming out of the sea like Ursula Andress, and being an action woman—in the '60s we just played sex kittens," she said. "
Ekland continued, "I had no idea it would be this big, but in the past 10 to 15 years, it's been super-important, because I do [theater], and it's 'Britt Ekland—Bond girl' and it's just a tag that is great today."
She thinks Bond girls had more fun in the past.
In a new interview with PA Media (via Metro), Ekland said that while women in more recent Bond films were in a better position, she believes that the Bond girls of the past had more fun.
"There are no more Bond girls, they are Bond women today. They have it with the political correctness and the #MeToo, they have a much better time than we had," the 80-year-old said. "But I don't think that the end product is as fun as ours were, because we were pretty and we had good bodies and we didn't try to look sexy, we just were."
She continued, "Today, everything is so, 'Don't do that because that will upset that side.' We didn't have any of that. We just went out there, we were always in a bikini and all these people are fully dressed, very typical, but it was a job and we did it. So, I think today the Bond women have it—from a political correctness point of view—in a much better position. But I think we had more fun."
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There was a focus on her looks.
No one would claim that beauty is not longer a factor in the movie business, but Bond girls were more scantily clad in the past than they are in the franchise's more recent films. Ekland reflected on this in the same interview and said that she felt she was hired, in part, because of her breasts.
"All of us got along really well," Ekland said of the cast and crew on The Man with the Golden Gun. [Producer] Cubby Broccoli was very friendly and funny and insisted that we all had to have a meal together—spaghetti, Italian meal every weekend." But she added, "He invited the cast and the crew and he wanted me to eat a lot because he felt that I was a little bit too thin. Of course, he had seen The Wicker Man and he'd say, 'Oh, nice boobies, we'll take her,' and then I arrive on set with the baby [her son, Nic Adler, with Lou Adler] and no boobies so he said, 'You've got to eat more.' I'm trying to not eat because I had to be in a bikini all the time so we were two forces."
Ekland has said in the past that being judged by her appearance led her to get plastic surgery later in life, which she regrets.
She gave her opinion of intimacy coordinators.
Ekland was being interviewed for the 50th anniversary of The Wicker Man, in which she starred. While speaking about the horror movie, the Swedish actor gave her thoughts on intimacy coordinators, which are a relatively new presence on sets. These people assist actors during sexual scenes, make sure that they are comfortable, and collaborate with the director and other crew.
"We certainly didn't have what they have today, at least in America, an intimacy coach, and that is someone who I think is in the room when you do scenes of a sexual nature," she said. "We had nothing, we just had to make do and it was not filmed in a studio, it was filmed in actual rooms and buildings. There were no regulations in those days. That's why the #MeToo movement took everyone by such a surprise… this has been going on since a long time."
She respects the Bond girl evolution but doesn't want to see a female Bond.
During a 2021 appearance on the UK talk show Loose Women, Ekland said that No Time to Die changed her mind about what a Bond girl should be.
"I have always maintained that it has to be a 'Bond girl.' But I've changed my mind," she said. "Last night [at the premiere], the Bond women were just that. And they were all so incredible. They were quick, fast. They were great actresses. They were very physical. They never showed their bodies. And it didn't matter. They were just great Bond women."
But, when Ekland was asked if the lead character of Bond could be played by a woman, she shook her head and said, "Absolutely not."
"It's written as a man," she explained. "It's a British institution, a British male institution. You can't change that. There's no need to change it. There are plenty of roles for a woman to be physical, but Bond has to be Bond."