ENTERTAINMENT

Gemma Arterton Says She Took Role In Bond Film To Pay Off Student Loans

The British actor, who appeared in "Quantum of Solace," said there's "so much wrong with Bond women."

Bond girls need student debt relief, too. 

British actor Gemma Arterton, who appeared as agent Strawberry Fields in “Quantum of Solace” early on in her career, is addressing the criticism she’s received for her role in the 2008 film. 

In case you forgot, Arterton’s character ― like many Bond girls before her ― is promptly murdered (death by drowning in crude oil) after carrying on a brief love affair with James Bond in a send-up of Shirley Eaton’s gold-plated demise in 1964′s “Goldfinger.” 

Arterton, who stars in the FX miniseries “Black Narcissus,” explained that while the allure of appearing in a Bond film was powerful, a paycheck was ultimately her main motivator for accepting the role.

“At the beginning of my career, I was poor as a church mouse and I was happy just to be able to work and earn a living,” she told The Sun in a recent interview, per People. “I still get criticism for accepting ‘Quantum of Solace,’ but I was 21, I had a student loan, and you, know, it was a Bond film.”

Olga Kurylenko (left), Daniel Craig and Gemma Arterton pictured together promoting "Quantum of Solace" in 2008.
Olga Kurylenko (left), Daniel Craig and Gemma Arterton pictured together promoting "Quantum of Solace" in 2008.

“But as I got older, I realized there was so much wrong with Bond women,” she continued.

Arterton said she took issue in particular with her character accepting Bond’s sexual advances despite their professional relationship, when he convinces her to check them into a luxury hotel. 

“Strawberry should have just said no, really, and worn flat shoes,” the actor added.

Arterton clearly found the experience less than empowering, telling The Telegraph in an interview earlier this year that she would likely turn down the part now. 

“I can’t really remember what’s in it or what I did, but I know I wouldn’t choose a role like that,” she said. “Because she was funny and she was sweet, but she didn’t really have anything to do ― or a backstory.”

The legacy of the women known as Bond girls is certainly complicated, with recent films taking small steps to give female characters more agency than their relatively helpless past counterparts.

The forthcoming and much-delayed “No Time To Die” is seemingly attempting to redefine what it means to be a woman in a Bond film, with actors Lashana Lynch and Ana De Armas putting a new spin on the archetype.

“What matters most to me is representing women and female characters in an empowered, realistic way and outside of the stereotype,” De Armas told Vogue Mexico about her role. “In this 007 movie, I have been aware of paying the greatest attention and being careful with the subject. That was the main thing I addressed when I spoke with the director.”

“Everyone was really responsive to having her be what I wanted,” Lynch added in a Hollywood Reporter profile. “You’re given a fresh perspective on a brand-new black woman in the Bond world.”

“No Time To Die,” which stars Daniel Crag in his fifth and final Bond outing, is scheduled to hit theaters on April 2, 2021.