Culture

The Scandinavian Bond Girls and Villains that have starred in the 007 universe

By Yasmine Nyström Mubarak

September 30, 2021

Photo: Getty

In time for the premiere of the 25th Bond film, No Time To Die, we look back at the Scandinavian stars who’ve played pivotal roles in the spy franchise

Though the latest Bond girls have been mainly French and British, there was a time when Scandinavians thrived next to 007. With over five Bond girls being Swedish, and a handful of Bond villains (from the remarkable Maud Adams in Octopussy to the most frightening villain played by Mads Mikkelsen in Casino Royale) hailing from the Nordics, it’s hard not to discount the impact Scandinavia has had on the franchise.

Today as society becomes hyper conscious of women being portrayed through the male gaze, there is an understanding that the role of Bond girls in the past have been problematic. But it’s also important to acknowledge the actresses who often outshone Bond, James Bond, himself. Looking through the previous 24 films we can follow the change of what characterises a 'Bond girl.' From the earlier films, that today would be highly debated, to the greater variation of women in diverse roles - No Time to Die sees actress Lashana Lynch, make history as the first female 007.

Lashana Lynch, who stars in 'No Time to Die', made history as the first Black female 007. Photo: Getty

As No Time To Die (2021), is confirmed to be the last time we hear Daniel Craig stating that he likes his martini shaken not stirred - we are excited to see what the future holds. But before that, let’s go back in history to see the Scandinavians that have been a part of the Bond universe:

Scandinavian Bond Girls:

Britt Ekland (The Man With The Golden Gun)

Britt Ekland as Mary Goodnight. Photo: MGM Pictures and United Artists Corporation

In The Man With The Golden Gun (1974), Sweden's Britt Ekland makes her celebrated portray of Mary Goodnight, a Hong Kong-based field agent who hinders Bond (Roger Moore) as much as she helps him in his mission to kill assassin Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee). For many, Ekland is the classic characteristic of a Bond girl, wholehearted, stunning and courageous. She became a 1960s style icon – modelling on the cover of Vogue in June 1966 and starring frequently in films during the 1960s and 1970s.

Maud Adams (The Man With The Golden Gun and Octopussy)

Maud Adams as Octopussy. Photo: MGM Pictures and United Artists Corporation

Another Swedish actress in the film The Man With The Golden Gun is Maud Adams. The Luleå born-starlet, was one of the highest paid models in Paris and New York before grabbing the attention of the Bond producers and receiving the role as a Bond girl not only once, but twice.

First as Andrea Anders, a woman under the control of international villain Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) and held captive on his private island. While Anders has created a façade of happiness, below the surface she is plotting to escape, hopefully with the help of 007 (Roger Moore). And for a brief moment we proudly have two Swedish actors - Maud Adams and Britt Ekland sharing the same scene.

Maud Adams made history when she once again stood opposite 007 in Octopussy in 1983. This time as the main villain, Octopussy, a jewel businesswoman that wowed a whole generation when she stepped out of the room in the famous blue sari, revealing who she really was.

A clear producer favourite, Adams also did a cameo in A View to a Kill (1985).

Kristina Wayborn (Octopussy)

Kristina Wayborn as Magda in Octopussy in 1983. Photo: MGM Pictures and United Artists Corporation

Swedish-born Kristina Wayborn, also known as Britt-Inger Johansson, actually started her career portraying yet another Swedish actor, Greta Garbo in The Silent Lovers. From there she landed her the role as mysterious Magda, the right hand of villain Prince Kamal Khan in Octopussy. Wayborn had many memorable moments in the film; From her picturesque dinner with 007 to the creative escape from his balcony, involving a dress. Last but not least, the impressive fighting scene that not only showed her acrobatic talent but showed Hollywood and its audience that women can be in fight scenes too.

Izabella Scorupco (GoldenEye)

Izabella Scorupco in GoldenEye. Photo: MGM Pictures and United Artists Corporation

Playing opposite Pierce Brosnan in 1995's GoldenEye is Polish-Swedish actor Izabella Scorupco. Originally a model, Bond was her major breakthrough role which saw her play Natalya Simonova, a computer programmer for the Russian military in Siberia, hacking into the world’s securest computer systems. GoldenEye became immensely popular, validating not only Pierce Brosnan as the new 007, but it also portrayed something new: A female co-star, that was independent. Natalya didn't need saving, instead she saved James Bond.

Mary Stävin (A View To Kill and Octopussy)

Mary Stävin in A View To Kill. Photo: MGM Pictures and United Artists Corporation

Swedish-native Mary Stävin was crowned Miss World 1977, what followed was a career in a few television shows such as Twin Peaks. Her main breakout, however, came when she appeared in two Bond films during the 1980s. The main one as Kimberly Jones, 007’s co-pilot in the submarine scene in the beginning of A View To Kill in 1985. And later next to Maud Adams as one of the Octopussy Girls in Octopussy.

Cecilie Thomsen (Tomorrow Never Dies)

Cecilie Thomsen heated up screens in the 1997 Bond film. Photo: MGM Pictures and United Artists Corporation

The Danish actress is best known for playing the Bond girl role of Professor Inga Bergstrøm opposite Pierce Brosnan in the 1997 Tomorrow Never Dies. Cecilie's character is an Oxford professor teaching Bond to speak Danish. In true Bond style, the pair soon share a steamy affair before he leaves her to go save the day.

Eva Green (Casino Royale)

Eva Green's character was the first one to break James Bond's heart. Photo: MGM Pictures and United Artists Corporation

While Eva Green may only be a “third Swedish’’ (her father is from Swedish descent), she had to be on the list. Why? She represents the start of a new era and definition of a Bond girl. Green, who plays the mysterious British government officer Vesper Lynd in the 2006 Casino Royale, is the woman who breaks James Bond’s heart.

Minna Aaltonen (Tomorrow Never Dies)

In a small but impactful role, the late Finnish actress played a newsreader in the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies. She sadly passed away recently at the age of 54.

Scandinavian Bond villains:

Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale)

Photo: MGM Pictures and United Artists Corporation

Of course, we can’t mention the Scandinavian Bond girls, without mentioning the great villains. In our first introduction to Daniel Craig as 007 in Casino Royale, his mission is to defeat the poker playing villain Le Chiffre, played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen. Le Chiffre, is a classic Bond villain, with a facial scar through his eye and an imbalance of the tear duct that causes him to weep blood – all while wearing a tailored suit.

Jesper Christensen (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Spectre)

Photo: MGM Pictures and United Artists Corporation

Mads Mikkelsen wasn’t the only Scandinavian in Casino Royale, with him was fellow Danish actor Jesper Christensen as the multifaceted Mr. White. A key character in Quantum, an organisation connected to the inner circles of politics and financial power around the world. Christensen’s portrayal was seen in three films - from Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Spectre. Spoiler alert: In the last scene of Spectre, Mr. White admits to Bond that he has a daughter, Madeleine (Lèa Seydoux), and agrees to give Bond the information he needs in return for her safety. Madeleine plays a key role in Skyfall and the new No Time to Die.

Ola Rapace (Skyfall)

Photo: MGM Pictures and United Artists Corporation

The latest Scandinavian to star in a Bond film was Ola Rapace in 2012’s Skyfall. In it Rapace plays Patrice, a ghost mercenary hired to steal a top-secret MI6 hard drive containing the names of almost every undercover-agent around the world. We first encounter Patrice in the beginning of the film being chased by 007 through the streets of Istanbul, setting the tone for the rest of the film. The action sequences starring Rapace have become some of the most praised and thrilling fight sequences in Bond history. Not to mention, the timeless interference with Daniel Craig on the 67th floor in a Shanghai skyscraper.


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