Sigh. Now it’s another turn in an embarrassing James Bond film

Naomie Harris knows how it feels to get noticed. She was cast as Moneypenny in the last Bond film, Skyfall, because of her reputation as a geeky child. But she admits that, when she…

Sigh. Now it’s another turn in an embarrassing James Bond film

Naomie Harris knows how it feels to get noticed. She was cast as Moneypenny in the last Bond film, Skyfall, because of her reputation as a geeky child. But she admits that, when she was a fledgling actor in her late teens, she did all the dirty things a lot of people do in audition rooms. “Huge amounts of spit, a lot of leg-crossing and walking in circles under tables, and people putting their hands up my skirt, because they think it’s funny,” she told the Guardian this week. “I remember putting my hand down my dressing gown and saying, ‘Is that how you show your kindness? By making someone feel uncomfortable?’ And they said, ‘That’s how you work,’ which I was quite understanding of. And we went into the room and we auditioned.”

Harris is in London for a black tie gala dinner hosted by the Bafta film committee and Channel 4, which includes performances by members of the new Bond 25 cast – Ralph Fiennes, Olivia Colman, Ben Whishaw and Harris. Another of the party guests is the film’s director, Danny Boyle, who wrote the script, and who has previously recounted how he and director Sam Mendes had to be restrained when one “knighted” stuntwoman collided with another, breaking her leg. “I remember her saying, ‘Will you break my leg?’ and he said, ‘You’re the reason I’m not a knight. I should’ve broken your leg by now.’ They were kind of too gentlemanly for their own good,” said Harris.

Alessandro Nivola and Naomie Harris in The Big Sick. Photograph: Allstar/20th Century Fox

Harris spent five years working as a ballerina, which she found to be “instant obedience”, where “you have to stay within your technique and you have to be on point,” she says. So she took the part of Raoul Silva in Skyfall and the part of Rosalind in the Quentin Tarantino film, Django Unchained. Both roles involved wild costumes and raunchy performances. “I said, ‘Let’s try that stuff a bit more.’ So the next movie I did [in 2014], Mortdecai, we did all of that. And that was fun.”

This is perhaps the most mature attitude the star has shown yet. She married the film-maker David Oyelowo in 2014 and they have a daughter, who has inherited her mother’s similar sense of cheekiness. “We know what we’re doing. We know how the patter goes. It’s easier. We’re well seasoned,” she says. She also seems to have plenty of fun with her career, as she discovered this summer when she revealed that she turned down a role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in order to film a mother-daughter role in Mike Newell’s adaptation of the bestseller The Sense of an Ending. But the film might be nearing its finish line, and Harris says she won’t be taking any more post-Christmas rest.

Leave a Comment