Bond Girl at 50:Monica Bellucci

The world’s media lined up eagerly at Pinewood Studios just outside London last week as details of the latest Bond movie, following the hugely successful Skyfall, were finally revealed. The good news is that midlifers have something to celebrate with the announcement of the final cast for SPECTRE.

The 24th Bond outing faces tough competition at the box office from audience-pleasers such as the latest Star Wars movie but as much as the return of Daniel Craig as 007 will pull in movie-goers, what’s adding an extra note of curiosity is the choice of one new Bond Girl in particular.

Predictably there’s twentysomething Lea Seydoux to help Bond shake his Martini and probably run about a bit with a gun, looking in need of rescue but alongside her (and striking a slight blow for feminism – especially in a franchise not generally known for advancing that cause) is the casting of Italian bombshell Monica Bellucci as Lucia Sciarra, one of Bond’s love interests.

At 50, Bellucci takes the crown for the oldest Bond Girl (Bond midlifer?) yet – a title previously held by actress Honor Blackman who was 39 when she played Pussy Galore in 1964’s Goldfinger.

Bellucci isn’t very well known beyond Europe but on her own ground in Italy and France is a well-respected superstar. She began her career wanting to be a lawyer but got sidetracked into a successful modelling career with the likes of Dolce and Gabbana before making the leap into movies where she won a Cesar nomination (the French equivalent of an Oscar nomination) for L’Appartement. She is also fluent in four languages so is unlikely to agree to a part without some kind of significant presence. This is good news for actresses of forty and over because it admits that older actresses can indeed be just as mysterious, sexy and alluring as their younger counterparts. Even James Bond thinks so.

Bellucci has been quite frank in interviews as to why she has based most of her career in Europe, saying of Hollywood…..,

“I could never live there. They are obsessed with youth and beauty even more than us. There is this thing in America where actresses reach 40 and go mad. The film industry wants all these young people. They also like a different sort of woman (to me). I will never be skinny. I also had a child a year ago, and I have been lazy. I love to eat. Who cares? I am natural.”

 Asked at the launch what makes a good Bond Girl she quipped, “a good director” so this beauty has brains and wit to boot, as well as a clear opinion on how to live life.

Well that’s enough to leave Bond shaken AND stirred.