British actor Lashana Lynch says she deleted her social media accounts for a week and spent time only with family after a torrent of online abuse followed the news that she would play the first Black 007 in the latest James Bond movie.
Lynch, 32, spoke with Harper's Bazaar for its December issue about enduring the backlash last year concerning her role in "No Time to Die," the 25th film in the Bond franchise. She plays a secret agent named Nomi who has inherited the mantle of 007 because Bond (Daniel Craig) has been retired for five years.
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"I am one Black woman — if it were another Black woman cast in the role, it would have been the same conversation, she would have got the same attacks, the same abuse," Lynch said. "I just have to remind myself that the conversation is happening and that I’m a part of something that will be very, very revolutionary."
The daughter of Jamaican immigrants has not shied away from the significance of becoming the first Black 007 character on the big screen.
"I didn’t want to waste an opportunity when it came to what Nomi might represent," she said. "I searched for at least one moment in the script where Black audience members would nod their heads, tutting at the reality but glad to see their real life represented. In every project I am part of, no matter the budget or genre, the Black experience that I’m presenting needs to be 100% authentic."
The movie, which clocks in at nearly three hours, was originally scheduled to be released this year but had its release bumped multiple times due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is now scheduled to come out in April of 2021.
The "Captain Marvel" star is hoping her performance can combat stereotypes with a woman playing a role that has been played by men throughout the entire series, which began with late acting legend Sean Connery in "Dr. No" in 1962.
"I feel very grateful that I get to challenge those narratives," Lynch said. "We’re moving away from toxic masculinity, and that’s happening because women are being open, demanding and vocal, and calling out misbehavior as soon as we see it."