What can we expect from Moneypenny in Spectre?
Bond is on this rogue mission and everybody wonders whether he’s lost his mind over the death of M, but then he chooses to reveal to Moneypenny that, actually, he’s on a secret mission. She’s the only person that he asks for help from in the beginning. It shows that their relationship has really deepened, and that there’s a great deal of trust between them.
What was it like to reinvent such an iconic role?
In Skyfall it felt like a lot of pressure. I’m taking on this role that people love and have such high expectations for, and have seen through the generations, so I felt a lot of pressure about getting it right and making sure everyone was excited, but then actually in Spectre I feel like I’ve already established her, and I was able to have a lot more fun with her.
What’s different about Spectre?
We had the re-introduction of Q in Skyfall, so we’ve had a lot more focus on technology, and that continues in Spectre with a lot of gadgets, exciting gadgets, particularly cars actually, and the Jaguar C-X75.
What one thing are we going to wish we had?
It’s going to be the Jaguar. It actually ejects you from the car with a little parachute.
And what gadgets does Moneypenny get her hands on?
She’s not really using gadgets in the movie, but in the ‘Made for Bond’ campaign I’m using the Xperia Z5 and this incredible new camera, the Sony RX100 IV, which has incredible slow motion. You see her in the campaign actually doing surveillance, on the Millennium Bridge. Two seconds becomes like 80 seconds motion capture, which is incredible.
Why do you think Daniel Craig makes such a brilliant Bond?
He has everything that previous Bonds have had, but he adds this kind of sensitivity, which is really extraordinary. When I watched Casino Royale, it was the first Bond I ever actually cried at because it really felt like he fell in love and he was really attached to the woman, which we’ve never seen before. I love this kind of tough exterior, but then this soft centre that he has to offer, and I think people really love that.
Who could possibly take over as Bond?
I can’t even imagine anybody else playing the role, I really can’t. I think anybody who takes on that role is going to have to be incredibly brave because the weight of expectation on their shoulders is going to be ginormous.
Could there ever be a female Bond?
Ermm… ooh… I don’t know, I don’t know about that. I don’t know whether we’re quite ready for that. Maybe another decade, but I’m not sure about right now…
Who’s been your role model growing up?
Definitely my mum, she is a huge role model for me and she instilled in me the belief that anything is possible. If you put your mind to anything you can achieve it. I’m so grateful to her for that, because with that belief anything becomes possible. It changes the way you see the landscape of the world, and I feel as though children’s minds are so fertile, so if you plant a seed like that in your mind it just grows.
What other women have inspired you?
Without a doubt Oprah Winfrey. I sat next to her at dinner, can you actually believe it? She talked to me and gave me advice, and I was just like, ‘I can actually die now, because my life is complete.’ She was just so strong and powerful and everything you’d want a woman to be and then having the opportunity to actually ask her questions and for her to give me advice, it just felt such an honour.
So what do you talk to her about?
She was talking about how everyone said to her, when she wanted to set up her own network, that it was going to be a huge challenge, and how she thought well I’ve had challenges in the past and I’ll overcome this. She was saying it’s the greatest challenge she’s ever had, and it’s been so hard, and she’s really had to dig deep and to find strength to get through it. She was advising me about meditation and the importance of finding space to centre yourself and hear your own voice, which is the best guidance you can have. Advice you’d pay thousands to receive.
How do you relax?
I like cooking, and I love having a lot people over, family and friends, and cooking for them. For me it’s all about food – I’m a real foodie.
What’s your signature dish?
A vegetarian lasagne, which everybody says is the best lasagne they’ve ever taste. I’m really honest about it as well. It has special jerk seasoning which people say is really amazing…
What will we find you watching?
My guilty pleasure is Gogglebox – I love it. I also love documentaries, I watched Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush recently and I got all fired up, and I wrote to my MP and signed the petition, and then I was so annoyed because they got 100,000 signatures and I thought great, it’s going to be debated in parliament, and then they said actually we’re not going to do it because we already have ways of dealing with sugar and obesity. It was very frustrating. It was my first foray into politics and I was like, this is illegal isn’t it?! You’re supposed to do what we said, people have asked for this!
You have The Jungle Book coming out next year. How did you prepare for that?
I just had so much fun doing it. I was working with Andy Serkis who I’d worked with before and who was directing for the first time. He’s so down to earth and so incredibly caring and considerate and fun, that he made it really fun for all of us. In the beginning we were all a bit nervous. I was playing a wolf, down on my hands and knees, howling. At the beginning you feel really self-conscious about it, but then after a while you just get into it, and you’re just a big kid and you’re like, ‘yay I get to play a wolf’. How often does anyone get to play a wolf?
Are there any other roles you wish you could play?
I’d love to play Mary Seacole, she is such an incredible woman. I was reading a book about her life and it just feels like it’s something from a movie, it doesn’t feel like it’s real. Her with these incredible plumes and colourful costumes that she used to wear, riding onto the battlefields and saving people’s lives.
What’s been your career highlight so far?
Bond. I feel as though this is such an incredible journey to be part of, and it just keeps on getting better and better. The experience of travelling around the world, with the level of interest, the level of enthusiasm, people absolutely adore Bond, and it’s just a privilege to be part of something that people love so much. It feels like a lot of responsibility but it also feels like such a luxury to be at the very centre of something that there’s so much anticipation and excitement about.
You seem very calm about it…
You’ve just got to enjoy it. On Skyfall I spent a lot of time kind of feeling like ‘am I doing this right?’, worrying about it because it was the first time I’d done it. On this one I just feel like, ok, I’ve done this journey before, I know what it entails, and I’m just going to make sure that I really really enjoy it.