Saturday, 1 May 2010

Bond Girls: Curse or Blessing?

The Curse of the Bond Girl crops up in newspaper articles and columns from time to time. It seems bizarre: a high profile, glamorous role in a massive blockbuster movie that puts the actress in question right in the centre of media attention, often showing off both talent and beauty - yet her film career seems to slide instantly into oblivion afterwards.

It's not quite a universal rule: stars who already have a strong international following such as Sophie Marceau and Michelle Yeoh will have had no difficulty shrugging off their chains. Hollywood is too small for these wonderful characters anyway and there are plenty of stages and screens in the world. And - irrepressible and incorrigible - I'm sure Halle Berry will be earning both Oscars and Raspberries for years to come.

However it seems there is a way out for the others: while other Hollywood doors close, the science fiction door stays open! Izabella Scorupco from Goldeneye makes an appearance in Reign Of Fire as a dragon-fighting paratrooper, for instance, or there's the wonderful indie film Franklyn, starring Casino Royale's Eva Green. Goldeneye also gave the world it's Dr. Jean Gray, Famke Janssen who also appeared in The Faculty, and in general had no difficulty finding work after her Bond Girl role. Meanwhile Michelle Yeoh has appeared in sci-films ranging from the wonderful Sunshine to the less wonderful Babylon A.D.

One possible theory for the Curse is the essentially submissive role of the Bond girl - successive films have tried to create stronger female characters, but however assertive or action-orientated the part, the film format generally requires that Bond eventually "gets the girl." It's not a great explanation but it's a start. An exception is Olga Kurylenko in Quantum of Solace, whose character Camille does not end up in bed with Bond: it's too early to say whether this will lead to a different outcome for Kurylenko's career.


Maurice Mitchell said...

I never knew about this curse, but it makes sense. Bond girls are usually vacuous empty vehicles for Bond to save and make love to. Attempts are sometimes made to make them more interesting (Tiffany Case) or more intelligent (Dr. Christmas Jones), but it usually ends up being irrelevant. It makes me wonder if there's a comparable curse for men...?

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Not sure. The only one I can think of is that none of the Doctor Who actors have gone on to make huge splashes but they didn't quite disappear without trace either.