Across over 20 films, being a ‘Bond girl’ has been and will continue to be a role of certain regard. It means an actress can portray sexy and mysterious, cunning and tough. The role can be one of good or evil, of bravery or despair. She may find brief excitement and happiness with the legendary spy, or she may meet a tragic fate. After all, once you have the lead role cast, the female lead, or leads as the case may be, is just as important as the bad guy, the title song and the car. They are James Bond staples.
Over the years we've had some impressive and iconic leading ladies: Ursula Andress, Shirley Eaton, Jane Seymour, Britt Ekland and Barbara Bach. Then again, sometimes there is also a Denise Richards or Teri Hatcher, who don’t really fit in at all. With the rejuvenation of Bond that came with Daniel Craig, the series looked to reboot, going for action and adventure that is more grounded in reality and with greater consequences. It’s no longer the campy adventure of the 90s, but instead the thrillers heralded into a different era by the Bourne trilogies. With the new Bond, one that looked to return to its roots, we’ve done away with actresses who are merely cast for looks, and who are not simply riding a wave of popularity.
Instead, the move over the last three films has returned to what the best Bond women have been: international actresses who are more than beauty, but talented and poised enough to step in the spotlight. They should and are more often better known in their home country than internationally. They have worthy performances to their credit, but perhaps not a ton to their resume. Gemma Arterton, Olga Kurylenko and Eva Green have perfectly fit of the mold of Bond woman for our time, and here are some sexy and talented international actresses that should find their way into the iconic franchise as well.
12 Alex McGregor
Hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, Alex McGregor at 21 is still only making her way into the film and television industry, but her future is bright. Most recently she took a turn in Young Ones, a sci-fi western starring Michael Shannon that showcased McGregor’s toughness in a desolate, dangerous futuristic world. We know she can endure and shine in harsh environments, but she has also shown she can be mysterious and enticing, as well. While she may not be there just yet, McGregor looks to blossom into a diverse and talented actress capable of sharing the screen with the iconic agent.
11 Adele Exarchopoulos
At only 21 years of age, this young French actress may not be suited just yet for such a role – but she will be. Exarchopoulos rose to fame and regard last year starring in Blue is the Warmest Colour, the epic coming-of-age love story by Abdellatif Kechiche. Her performance as well as that of Lea Seydoux, were so remarkable that they were the first actors in history to receive the Palm D’or at Cannes alongside the director. Vulnerable while also resilient and fierce, Exarchopoulos looks to have a bright career ahead of her, which should include a Bond film. More reason: Seydoux is getting her shot in the forthcoming Spectre.
10 Rose Leslie
This Scottish actress is not to be trifled with. At least that’s the sense you get if you know the talented Rose Leslie from her arc as Ygritte on HBO’s Game of Thrones. The 28-year-old from Aberdeen has risen to global regard for her turn as the wilding woman who faces off against and eventually falls in love with Jon Snow. She’s proven both a romantic lead as well as a fierce warrior, and would be a worthy accomplice to Mr. Bond. Of course, her fiery red head make her rather unforgettable too.
9 Izabella Miko
The starlet from Poland is earning her keep in Hollywood, navigating the television landscape making guest appearances on various shows while enlisting in feature films as well. The 34-year-old native of Lodz was granted a very brief role as the goddess Athena in Clash of the Titans, but it seems so very fitting. She carries with her an ethereal quality while also being knowing and aware despite a demure look. She can fit into any role in Bond too; perhaps she is the deadly assassin, perhaps she is a helpless victim, or perhaps she has the secret agent in over his head.
8 Dichen Lachman
She may not have a household name, though it is indeed unique, but Dichen Lachman is unforgettable once you see and watch her. Born in Kathmandu, Nepal, Lachman is the offspring of a Tibetan mother and Australian father, and she looks every bit a distinguished beauty. Of course, she has the physical chops too: Lachman starred in the short-lived though acclaimed sci-fi thriller series Dollhouse, while also appearing in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and The 100 over the last two years. She’s done action thrillers on the big screen too, and she is another perfect fit for Bond.
7 Leticia Dolera
Known in her native Spain for involving herself with more delicate roles and period pieces, Leticia Dolera took a turn in 2012 assuming a most iconic role as a zombie-killing bride in [REC] 3: Genesis. She is both beautiful and captivating, and she has a quiet mystery to her much of the time. In REC, she was the unassuming bride, but her bright day soon turned to nightmare, and Dolera showed off her defiance, athleticism and tough attitude. She doesn’t have to be rescued by Bond – she can clearly save the day too. And she can clearly wield a chainsaw.
6 Grace Huang
Born in Taiwan and fluent in three languages, Grace Huang has already proven herself adept at both action and attraction. While she has only eight feature films to her credit, she has dabbled in both romantic drama and action adventure, with a turn towards the sci-fi in her queue. She is starting to emerge as a name in the western entertainment world, and could easily appear in a globe-spanning Bond film. She is both elegant and adaptable, savvy and fierce – all the qualities a Bond woman needs to navigate formal nightlife and fierce combat.
5 Marine Vacth
Another young French actress makes the list, as Vacth has shown her allure and acumen most recently in Young & Beautiful. In this lyrical exploration of youth and sex by Francois Ozon, Vacth plays a teenager on the verge of adulthood who realizes the power of her body. The 23-year-old received regard for her performance, and has shown poise beyond her years. She seems perfect for playing an enigmatic Bond associate, someone who’s allegiances we are never quite sure of, but someone who has our full, undivided attention.
4 Eve Hewson
At 23-years-old, Eve Hewson is set to break out. The Irish actress has only a handful of credits to her name, but they include working alongside Sean Penn in, This Must Be the Place and Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini in Enough Said. Most notably though is that she is currently a regular star of HBO’s newest drama, The Knick, starring Clive Owen. While her inclination towards action has yet to be uncovered, Hewson has shown her acting range and talent, and can easily slip into roles either innocent or nefarious, strong yet vulnerable. Pretty soon, however, she may be too big for Bond.
3 Melanie Laurent
The acclaimed, multi-faceted and multilingual French talent is perhaps most well known for her incredible turn in Inglourious Basterds, the Quentin Tarantino drama that saw her face off against the award-winning Christoph Waltz. Laurent recently wrote and directed the coming-of-age drama Breathe, and has found herself starring in American blockbusters as well as French cinema. Laurent has a fierceness and confidence to her that would make her more than just a damsel in distress. She could assume the role of love interest easily, but also as a colleague, or just as exciting, a formidable opponent.
2 Sibel Kekilli
We have here another alum from one of the finest shows on television. The German actress has made an impressive and laudable transition from adult cinema to mainstream fare, portraying the sensual and sage love interest of Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister on HBO’s Game of Thrones. Sebil Kekilli's beauty is well established, but beyond that she has an alluring and mysterious aura. That intangible quality translates perfectly as the ideal Bond woman: someone exotic and strong, while also sexual and proud.
1 Jasmine Trinca
The sultry Italian actress is quickly going to be a known quantity in North America. She can now be seen alongside Sean Penn and Javier Bardem in The Gunman, an action adventure flick of modest entertainment. In it, she shows off her looks in various stages of almost undress, but also that she is more than simply beautiful (although this film lets the men do the fighting). She’s been starring in films in Italy for over a decade, and she is ripe for being picked to star in a major, worldwide spectacle. Indeed, the sultry siren should be the next Bond woman.