Being a Bond girl has carried with it an interesting legacy over the years. The archetype has often been used for little more than on-screen titillation and to showcase the extravagant lifestyle of the series’ secret agent. Things have changed in regards to how women are portrayed in the series – they’ve changed a lot actually – and Quantum of Solace actress Gemma Arterton has actually decided to speak up about her feelings about portraying a Bond girl.
“I still get criticism for accepting Quantum of Solace, but I was 21, I had a student loan, and, you know, it was a Bond film,” said Arterton in an interview with The Sun. Arterton played the character Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace. “But as I got older I realized there was so much wrong with Bond women. Strawberry should have just said no, really, and worn flat shoes.” Arterton is referring to Strawberry rebuking James bond’s sexual advances. It certainly sounds like the actress has strong regrets about taking the Bond girl role and what she was asked to do with it.
There is no question that the Bond girl archetype has undergone some heavy reappraisal in the last few years. Even recent movies like Skyfall have seen characters be criticized for how they are treated by the lead character and the plot. It is pretty telling that No Time to Die is pretty much eschewing that usual setup and instead is making its main female character a fellow agent. In fact, it could be possible that the entire classical idea of the Bond girl could go away forever.
It is going to be interesting to see if the Bond girl archetype does end up finally getting retired for good. Daniel Craig is assuredly done with the role after No Time to Die and whatever happens with the franchise is likely going to be a big change. Whether that will extend to the Bond girl archetype remains to be seen, but it is likely that the series will continue to come under serious scrutiny if it decides to maintain the usual depiction of women in these movies.
It is a shame that Gemma Arterton feels so bad about her time in Quantum of Solace, but it should be said that it is one of the weaker entries in the series overall. The critical reaction to it is decidedly mixed and it is easily the least liked installment in Daniel Craig’s run. Gemma Arterton’s involvement in it was definitely one of the elements that received criticism. Her character’s name even managed to be a source of dislike. Strawberry Fields tried to hearken back to classic Bond girl names but came across as weirdly silly in such a serious and grounded approach to James Bond.
We will have to see if the Bond girl archetype ever makes a comeback or if it has been put out to pasture. Thankfully, Gemma Arterton has gone on to a successful career beyond her turn as Strawberry Fields. She even shows up in the best Ryan Reynolds movie. Why not give that a watch instead of Quantum of Solace?