Thanks to Naomie Harris, Moneypenny is more than just a Bond Girl.

Ever since "Skyfall," when she took on the role of MI6's most famous executive assistant, Harris has helped define the character's personality in ways that the Bond series never has -- mostly because Moneypenny didn't have one before.

With her origin story firmly established in the previous film, the character moves forward in "Spectre" -- finding herself caught between a "changing of the guard" within London's espionage community and the old guard represented by Bond's unique brand of kill-them-or-kiss-them tradecraft. Moviefone recently sat down with Harris to talk about Moneypenny's new role in this brave (and violent) new world, and how she keeps the character progressive while remaining true to the 007 legacy.

Moviefone: What do you think distinguishes your Moneypenny from the past ones? What's essential quality that all Moneypenny's need to have?

Naomie Harris: The ability to hold her own in the field distinguishes her from the past. And the essential quality needed to be Moneypenny are intelligence, wit and flirting skills!

What latitude did having an origin story give you when playing an iconic character -- since she never had one before?

Having an origin story gave me less rather than more latitude as it meant that I wasn't free to create a backstory of my own for the character. But, I was grateful for that as it meant there were very clear guidelines within which to work in reinventing a modern Moneypenny. I knew she had initially chosen field work which gave me huge insights into who she must be as a person, and that also lead on to me understanding the bravery of her decision to take a desk job ultimately.

"Skyfall" and "Spectre" seem very aware of the need for a more progressive Bond universe. Did your characterization feel that way at all in this movie or the last?

Absolutely. When I was cast, one of the first things Sam and Barbara made clear was that they wanted a thoroughly modern Moneypenny, one who was kickass and who women would identify with and respect.

So, what excited you the most about what your character gets to do in "Spectre"?

I was most excited to see how my character takes to her new position and role within M16, and explore what that transition felt like for her. It's rare for a Bond movie to take the time to have just two people in a room, talking -- which is what "Spectre" does in a key scene between Moneypenny and Bond in his flat. Can you talk about the mood on set that day -- did you have any input in the script in terms of what your character said?

No, I don't really ever ask for input on the script. My mum is a writer, so I really respect writers and try to work within the parameters and lines written by the writers. If something feels totally unnatural to my character, I will of course speak up -- but not otherwise.

With respect to the atmosphere on set, it was our very first day of filming when we shot that scene, so I think everyone was energized, focused, excited to have got started -- but also nervous about setting sail on a new Bond adventure.

In terms of realizing your character, how tied do you feel in these movies to classic Bond iconography?

Not at all! I've never even thought of my character in those terms at all.

But since these films are reintroducing classic Bond mythology, are there any aspects you would like to see updated?

No, I think the producers, writers and Sam have done a brilliant job of ensuring that the classic elements of Bond are kept while also ensuring that it's moved with the times and reflects modern life.
categories Interviews, Movies