The Women of ‘No Time to Die’: Lashana Lynch, Léa Seydoux, and Ana de Armas Soar into Bond History

Lashana Lynch has “flown” planes before, with her film career taking off as Air Force pilot Maria “Photon” Rambeau in 2019’s “Captain Marvel.”

No Time To Die red carpet: Pictures of celebrities including Daniel Craig  arrive for premiere of new James Bond movie

So when the British actress received the script for the 25th James Bond film “No Time to Die,” she zeroed in on how her MI6 agent Nomi pilots a glider.

“I thought, do they actually think I can ‘fly’ planes, because I can’t,” Lynch recalls with a laugh. “But I’m humbled they think I can.”

Nomi not only flies the spy craft, but in the film, fellow agent James Bond (Daniel Craig, in his final turn) is the passenger in the back seat. Nomi, the first Black woman to achieve 007 agent status in the 58-year-old franchise, is a powerful example of the strong female characters pushing the fusty franchise forward.

“There are so many moments with all the female characters that make you really cheer,” says Lynch, 33.

Here’s how Lynch, along with co-stars Léa Seydoux and Ana de Armas, push the needle in “No Time to Die.” (in theaters Friday).

(L-R) Lashana Lynch, Léa Seydoux and Ana de Armas push the envelope in "No Time to Die."

Lashana Lynch is the first Black 007 

Lynch,,a London-born actress of Jamaican descent, was initially trolled by a vocal minority of Bond fans when word leaked out in November that her character would reach the vaunted 007 (“license to kill”) status in the franchise.

Lynch says she blocks the naysayers out.

“Comments can be quite divisive,” she says. “I stay as focused as possible. I appreciate the good ones. The other ones don’t reach my sphere.”

Lynch, who had never used a gun before, concentrated so intently on her munitions training and her martial arts work that she didn’t initially comprehend the full meaning of the “00” status.

Lashana Lynch as Nomi is ready for action in Cuba, as the first black woman 007 agent in "No Time to Die."

“During the stunt training, it came in increments. I would have a moment sitting on the couch, like, ‘Wow, hold on, she’s a what? OK. Get back to work,'” Lynch says.

“I’m still processing what that means and what she represents. My kids and my grandkids are probably gonna put it into perspective for me.”

On-screen Lynch executed her physical moves like a veteran super spy, and Nomi asserts herself to earn immediate respect from Bond.

“She’s so relaxed with her challenges to (Bond) that the audience buys into her power straight away,” Lynch says. “She demands her space to be respected.

And then you add it being a white man and a Black woman able to share the same space and respect each other eventually. That’s a really powerful message that this franchise didn’t have to do.”

Following her turn in "Spectre," Léa Seydoux returns as Dr. Madeleine Swann in "No Time to Die."

Léa Seydoux’s Madeleine breaks Bond heart barriers

French actress Seydoux, 36, wasn’t counting on returning to the franchise, even after her psychologist Dr. Madeleine Swann ended up with Bond at the end of 2015’s “Spectre.” Seydoux was shocked to be asked back, the rare second appearance of a love interest for the infamous bachelor spy.

“I feel very lucky,” she says.

The appreciation only grew seeing the historically unchartered depths of the relationship between Bond and Madeleine.

“In ‘Spectre,’ the relationship was not totally incarnated. I wanted to make the relationship between Bond and Madeleine work and make it real,” Seydoux says. “Sometimes the pressure could be paralyzing. Because the love story between the two is really the center of the film.”

The years between the two films only helped Seydoux play the deeper character.

“The fact that’s she more of a mature woman gave Madeleine more depth,” Seydoux says.

So does the unprecedented deep dive into Madeleine’s tragic backstory, which opens the film and only deepens her ties with the orphan Bond.

“It’s the first time that we have had a female character in a Bond film where we have that real insight into her past,” Seydoux says. “She’s wounded like Bond, that’s why they understand each other. That’s why they connect.”

Paloma (Ana de Armas) meets up with Bond in Cuba and steals the movie.

Ana de Armas wows as an agent with kicks

USA TODAY’s Brian Truitt calls de Armas “a breath of fresh franchise air” with her movie-stealing role as Paloma, a rookie CIA agent who revels in her “three weeks of training.” Paloma reveals wit, kicks and moxie after meeting Bond in Cuba.

Director Cary Joji Fukunaga wrote the part specifically for the Cuban actress, 33, when she was preparing for the coming Marilyn Monroe biopic, “Blonde.”

“I wasn’t consciously making a Marilyn Monroe character with Paloma,” Fukunaga says. “But there was a devil-may-care attitude thrown in there.”

After chugging a martini, Paloma’s skills surprise Bond at a formal party. That’s before she shows impossible high kicks when the party goes south – naturally executed in heels and a diaphanous dress.

“She did most of those kicks,” says Fukunaga, who subbed in a stunt double when Paloma ends a spinning kick on the ground. That was simply because her gown wouldn’t hide any bruises.

“Ana didn’t have any armor,” the director says. “I was really impressed with her kicks and turns and her physicality. She committed 115%”

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