Whether you find "age-appropriateness" all-important or just another politically correct inanity, it's both surprising and good news that 39-year-old Academy Award winner Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) has been reportedly tapped as the next Bond Girl -- ahem, Bond Woman. If all goes well, according to Yahoo, Cruz, who turns 40 next April, should start filming the next James Bond movie opposite Daniel Craig in summer 2014. (Photo: Penélope Cruz.)
Regarding Penélope Cruz's casting, Yahoo cites an unnamed source "close to the production." According to the source, "the producers have tried to get Penélope before, but she has never been available because of other commitments. The discussions have been going on for some time and they are working out the contract details now."
Other details that need to be worked out is the name of the director to handle the Skyfall sequel. The most likely candidate -- contract negotiations were reportedly taking place a couple of weeks ago -- seems to be Academy Award winner Sam Mendes (American Beauty), whose Skyfall brought the cheesy James Bond franchise to new critical and box office heights. (When it comes to the latter, ignoring inflation is a must.) At one point, there was even talk that Skyfall might become the first Bond movie to receive a Best Picture Academy Award nomination. That didn't happen, of course, but at least there was talk.
For Mendes to return, the James Bond franchise will have to accommodate the director's other commitments, including a stage version of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Skyfall, by the way, featured Javier Bardem as a villain. Bardem, of course, is Penélope Cruz's husband. One casting coup has apparently led to another.
Penélope Cruz: Oldest Bond Girl ever
According to reports, the 40-year-old Penélope Cruz would be the oldest Bond Girl ever, beating 39-year-old Honor Blackman at the time of Goldfinger (1964) and Michelle Yeoh, 35 when Tomorrow Never Dies came out (1997). Other Bond Girls have generally been in their 20s, e.g., Ursula Andress, Jane Seymour, Barbara Bach, Kim Basinger, Claudine Auger, Eva Green. But then again, if you include Casino Royale's Deborah Kerr as a Bond Girl of sorts, the six-time Best Actress nominee was 46 when that Bond spoof came out.
As for people perennially complaining that James Bond's Girls are always much younger than he is, that's nothing unusual in movies. Just ask Audrey Hepburn, for one.
Bond and N: A Match Made in Spy Heaven
Now, if the James Bond franchise were to become truly groundbreaking in terms of sexual politics, they'd have Daniel Craig's Bond torn between two women: Penélope Cruz, sure, but also Judi Dench. Dench's M, ever loyal to Agent 007, turns 79 next December. True, due to a, huh, mishap in Skyfall, M might be unable to pop up in the next Bond movie. But what about her twin sister N?
Oh, but wait. Daniel Craig turns 46 next March. More than three decades separate him from Judi Dench. That wouldn't be age appropriate, would it? Well, why not then leave age-appropriateness in the trash dumpster? Bond and N would make a great screen couple, especially considering that the next Bond movie will likely be Daniel Craig's last.
Penélope Cruz movies
Pedro Almodóvar's muse in the last 15 years, Penélope Cruz has been featured in several Almodóvar movies, including Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner All About My Mother; the comedy-drama Volver, for which she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination; and the stylish melodrama Broken Embraces; in addition to a guest role in the upcoming (in the U.S.) I'm So Excited.
Besides, Penélope Cruz was Johnny Depp's leading lady in Rob Marshall's international blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; she was one of Woody Allen's stars in To Rome with Love; and one of Daniel Day-Lewis' women in Rob Marshall's Nine, a role that earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nod.