How Ana de Armas redefined ‘Bond Girl’ in ‘No Time to Die’

Think about it – when did ‘No Time to Die’ star Ana de Armas first come on your radar?

If you’re a horror fan, you might have caught the Cuban actress playing a revenge seducer opposite Keanu Reeves in Eli Roth’s naughty thriller “Knock Knock” in 2015. Science-fiction lovers will remember her as Ryan Gosling’s ethereal hologram-loving girlfriend, Joey, in “Blade Runner 2049.”

You may also know him from his famous outings with Ben Affleck during the pandemic; The two actors, who met during the shooting of the yet-to-be-released thriller “Deep Water”, publicly dated for almost a year. The quarantine-era relationship ended with an absurd flourish, a cardboard cutout of De Armas being dumped in the trash outside Affleck’s building after he allegedly dumped it.

But it’s safe to say de Armas’ role as a CIA agent named Paloma in the new James Bond film — Finally Coming out on Friday – will raise his profile significantly. The character of D’Armas is one of three important female characters in the film, along with Lashana Lynch’s Agent Nomi and Lee Seydoux as Bond’s girlfriend Madeleine Swann; Paloma accompanies Bond on a mission to Havana, where the two suggest fighting off the bad guys. The actress brings a light, comedic touch to her scenes with Craig – her character claims she only has three weeks of training, despite her expert combat skills.

Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas "no time to die"
As Paloma, Ana de Armas can hold her own against Daniel Craig’s Bond.
AP

Although the term “Bond girl” is still kicking around — and her character sees a lot of fighting action while wearing a very low-cut gown — the 33-year-old actress has made it clear that her character is one of the franchise’s retro. There’s a modern update on the trope. “I think this movie is ‘Bond Women,’ not so much ‘Bond Girls.’ They’re highly skilled, they’re powerful [and] They all show it in their own way. They are the Bond equivalent,” de Armas told CNN.

Ana de Armas on the red carpet.
De Armas has slowly built up mega-stardom.
Simone Comey / IPA / Shutterstock

De Armas attended the national art schools of his native Cuba before using dual Spanish citizenship through his grandparents to move to Madrid at the age of 18 to pursue acting. After making a splash in the Spanish series “El Internado” (“The Boarding School”), she jumped into Hollywood and paid her dues with a series of obligatory girlfriend parts (see “Blade Runner 2049” among others). Initially, because she did not speak English, she learned her lines phonetically.

However, even in small roles, he delivered nuanced performances that caught the attention of the audience – and his A-list co-stars. Reeves went on to re-team with his “Knock Knock” colleague in the 2016 thriller “Exposed”, reportedly saying: “I only have one scene with him at the end of the picture, which is great. Was, but wish we had more. She is bringing such emotion, depth, comedy, warmth, love, energy and tragedy to the story. It’s such a great role and Ana is the actress for it, because she creates all those shades. and bring it to the screen.”

De Armas finally landed a breakout lead role in 2019’s “Knives Out,” the star-studded whodunit comedy (whose cast included Bond himself, Daniel Craig). Her role as Marta Cabrera led to a Best Actress Golden Globe nomination, but she initially balked at the part, which was described in the script as “a pretty Latina caretaker.”

still from movie "knock Knock," starring Keanu Reeves
Even Keanu Reeves thought De Armas (right) stood out in 2015’s “Knock Knock.”
© Lions Gate / Courtesy Everett CO

She told The Hollywood Reporter that the brief “just didn’t really talk to me.” “Latins are rarely present at the center of a film, especially not in the context that we have in this film. So, because of the character description, my imagination immediately shifted to a depiction that was necessary in relation to Latin culture. Not that too positive or exciting.” However, when she finished the script, she realized how far her character had gone beyond those stereotypes, and signed on.

Because of that sensible choice of roles, and the attention span of the awards, he has done anything to make such star directors in their films. Most recently, a promotional video for “No Time to Die” included De Armas’ revelation that director Cary Joji Fukunaga had essentially created the role of Paloma to get De Armas in the film: “This character, I guess. that it was not present in the movie.. it was settled [through] Talking to Carey that he really wanted me in the film. And he just did it. So I was there long before the conversation got real,” she says in a video, as reported by CinemaBlend.

Next year could be even better for de Armas fans. “Deep Water,” the psychological thriller in which she co-stars with Affleck, is set for release in January; She also stars alongside Chris Evans, Gosling, and Reggae-Jean Page in “The Gray Man,” a spy film by “Avengers: Endgame” directors Anthony and Joe Russo.

Ana de Armas with Ben Affleck
De Armas had a high-profile romance with “Deep Water” co-star Ben Affleck in 2020.
gc images

But next year her defining film could be “Blonde,” the Netflix film in which she plays Marilyn Monroe in the Joyce adaptation of the Carol Oates novel. When she first saw herself as Monroe, “I cried,” she told Allure. “It was a big, big thing for me. It was a very important role for me, a big challenge, something I’d been preparing for for a very long time – and finally sitting in the chair and putting on wigs and makeup. .. it was very special. I completely transformed.”

She is also, notably, the first Latina actress to play Marilyn. As she told The Hollywood Reporter: “It’s all about time and effort, holding my ground and living up to the belief that I’m getting more positive roles.”

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