GQ Men of the Year 2020: Breakthrough actress winner Lashana Lynch on ‘ridiculous’ Bond backlash

Lizzie Edmonds
·3-min read
<p>Lashana Lynch</p> (Danny Kasirye)

Lashana Lynch

(Danny Kasirye)

James Bond star Lashana Lynch has said the scale of backlash at her reported casting as the next 007 in No Time to Die was “ridiculous.”

The London actress, 32, who stars as a secret agent alongside Daniel Craig in the upcoming movie, which is due out next spring due to the pandemic.

Speculation about whether her character - Nomi - takes on the codename in the film had been rife for months. Reports suggest her character assumes the role when Craig’s Bond retires.

There was some backlash to the casting, with certain commentators claiming it was a sign of “political correctness.” The actor, who has starred in Captain Marvel and Powder Room, was forced to delete her social media accounts due to the amount of online abuse.

But for Lynch- who last night was awarded the breakthrough actress award at the first ever virtual GQ Men of the Year Awards in association with Hugo Boss - the backlash wasn’t a surprise.

“White patriarchy will always have something to say when it comes to things like that,” she said. “But the magnitude of it was ridiculous."

She added: "I was imagining these weird-looking actual trolls with blue hair… For me none of it is real.

"As soon as my phone is off or I’m out of the app, it quite literally doesn’t exist any more.”

<p>Lynch in GQ</p>Danny Kasirye

Lynch in GQ

Danny Kasirye

Lynch, who is of Jamaican descent but grew up in Hammersmith, west London, said the fact her casting became so controversial was proof of racism in both the film industry and society.

Lynch said: “The fact that you have to celebrate it, like it’s this New Age thing, like black people have just arrived on the planet. That’s what annoys me about the idea of Idris Elba being ‘the black Bond’ … For my community, those are really big things, but for the world, I need you to not care about it.

“All of the titles need to go and just focus on the job in hand: are you proud of this movie and this character? Do you relate to them? Yes. Stop. Keep it moving.”

While working on the film, which also stars Rami Malek and Ana de Armas, Lynch did some of her own stunts, with the team suggesting she should be proud not to have injured herself in her most physical role to date. “I felt a bit geeky about that,” Lynch joked. “I felt like they should have given me a gold sticker.”

Lynch also said she was “scared” for the future of cinema and theatre following the pandemic, and hit back at suggestion those working in the arts may have to retrain or diversify due to the economic situation post Covid.

Lynch said she felt as though actors were “at the bottom of the food chain, [yet] somehow ended up being the industry that saved minds during lockdown.”

The star, who attended Arts Ed drama school in Chiswick, added: “If it wasn’t for streaming platforms and long series and old films and TV, I don’t think we would have been able to say we were OK. So that’s maddening.”

<p>Lynch in GQ</p>Danny Kasiyre/GQ Magazine

Lynch in GQ

Danny Kasiyre/GQ Magazine

“I’m scared for cinema and theatre,” she added. “It’s affecting actors. We’re being told to go and seek other avenues, which is probably the most disrespectful thing you can tell a creator.”

Last night saw the 23rd annual GQ Men of the Year Awards in Association with Hugo Boss take place virtually for the first time.

Among the winners were footballer Marcus Rashford, who took home the campaigner award for his work on lobbying the government for free school meals, and Star Wars actor John Boyega, who won the icon award.

Veteran fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore won the inspiration award, with racing driver Lewis Hamilton taking home the game changer award. Meanwhile, Paul Mescal, the star of Normal People, took home Breakthrough Actor. Lynch’s cover of GQ will be on newstands from December 4.