In No Time to Die, Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) will make James Bond history as the first woman of color to play a 00-agent. It has even been implied that her character, Nomi, assumes the 007 designation after James (Daniel Craig in his final super-spy adventure) retires to a quiet life in Jamiaca. While this seems like a natural development in 2020, it was pretty much unthinkable in the early 2000s when MGM considered making a spinoff for Jinx, Halle Berry‘s NSA agent in Die Another Day (Pierce Brosnan’s Bond swan song). Sadly, the movie never got made and Berry moved on to other projects.
“It was ahead of its time,” the actress/filmmaker said in a recent interview with Variety. “Nobody was ready to sink that kind of money into a Black female action star. They just weren’t sure of its value. That’s where we were then.”
Instead, Berry went on to play the titular character in 2004’s DC-inspired Catwoman. “People said to me, ‘You can’t do that. You’ve just won the Oscar,’” she recalled. “Because I didn’t do Jinx, I thought, ‘This is a great chance for a woman of color to be a superhero. Why wouldn’t I try this?’”
The film, directed by French VFX veteran Pitof, turned out to be a massive misfire that was panned by critics and mainly ignored at the box office, bringing in a little over $82 million against a $100 million budget. Written by John Brancato, Michael Ferris, and John Rogers, Catwoman centered around Patience Phillips (played by Berry), a woman who becomes privy to an evil scheme at a cosmetics company before gaining feline abilities.
“The story didn’t feel quite right,” Berry said. “I remember having that argument: ‘Why can’t Catwoman save the world like Batman and Superman do? Why is she just saving women from a face cream that cracks their face off?’ But I was just the actor for hire. I wasn’t the director. I had very little say over that.”
Berry will next appear in director Roland Emmerich’s star-studded disaster flick, Moonfall.