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Why Eve Moneypenny From No Time To Die Looks So Familiar

James Bond may be the star of the franchise, but he's not the only reason fans keep flocking to theaters all these years later. Whether its the scheming Bond girls, the deliciously over the top villains, or the ingenious staff at MI6, a case could be made that the supporting players of the Bond universe are almost as important as the super-spy himself. One Bond co-worker who has been with the series since the beginning is Miss Moneypenny, the dedicated and capable personal secretary of Bond's boss, M. The role has changed hands many times over the decades, with the modern incarnation — as seen in the latest trailer for the upcoming No Time to Die — first appearing in 2012's Skyfall

In the Daniel Craig-era films, Eve Moneypenny is a former field agent who realizes that her skills are of better use elsewhere. She's played by British actress Naomie Harris, and before you can even say, "Don't I know her from somewhere else?" — yes, you do. Harris has lent her talents to everything from action blockbusters to serious indie dramas over her decades-long career, with a few particular roles you'll recognize. 

Naomie Harris' indie breakthrough and Hollywood success

Harris has been acting since she was a child, but it wasn't until she was in her twenties that she got what she considers to be her big break. 

In a 2016 red carpet interview with Get Into Film, Harris was asked to name one moment she would celebrate from her career. The film that came to mind for her was 28 Days Later. The actress explained, "I always look back at 28 Days Later, which is the first really big film I ever did. Which was a British independent film. And I look back at that and I'm so proud that I actually finally got a job, because I spent nine months being unemployed after I left drama school, and it just felt like such an achievement for me." Fans of the pandemic-themed thriller will remember Harris as Selena, the determined survivalist who that main character Jim (Cillian Murphy) meets after waking up from his coma in post-apocalyptic London. The movie was both a critical and commercial success, as well a major cultural event. It is credited by some, including Richard Newbie at The Hollywood Reporter, for kick-starting the modern zombie craze that later resulted in The Walking Dead.

It didn't take long for Harris to make the leap to Hollywood. In the years following 28 Days Later, she co-starred with Pierce Brosnan and Woody Harrelson in After the Sunset, played the voodoo priestess Tia Dalma in two Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and appeared in Michael Mann's Miami Vice remake.

Moonlight made Naomie Harris an Oscar nominee

Harris' next big career moment came thanks to a role that she never thought she would take on in the first place. In Barry Jenkins' celebrated drama Moonlight, Harris plays Paula, the drug-addicted mother of main character Chiron (Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, and Alex Hibbert). The film received a massive critical reception, appearing on numerous "Best of the Year" lists and winning three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

As Harris explained to Indiewire, she was very skeptical of joining the cast: "I set out my career thinking that there were enough stereotypes about black women, so I wanted to make a difference in this arena. The only area where I have power is in the roles I choose, so I want to portray progressive images of women." The actress clarified that one type of part in particular was off-limits to her: "I drew the line at crack addiction. I'm not going to play a crack addict."

However, after meeting with Jenkins, Harris revealed that she had a change of heart: "He said to me, 'Look, Naomie, I don't want to ask you to play yet another crack addict. But the reality is that this is my mom's story. Do we ignore huge swathes of society that are suffering from addiction? We have to tell their story and to tell it compassionately and truthfully.'" Jenkins won Harris over, and she went on to receive her own Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actress. It's an even more impressive feat considering, according to the Indiewire interview, she only worked on the film for about three days.

Harris doesn't shy away from action blockbusters

Even after Harris became an Oscar nominee for Moonlight, she didn't shy away from taking on roles in big Hollywood blockbusters. Case in point: playing Dr. Kate Caldwell in the Dwayne Johnson starring Rampage. The movie is a live-action adaptation of the popular video game series, which featured animals that had been genetically mutated to Godzilla-sized monsters, fighting one another and destroying entire cities in the process. While Rampage is a pretty light slice of summer blockbuster fun, she then starred in Black and Blue, a 2019 crime thriller that mixed intense action with an attempt to touch on serious issues of racism and police corruption. In the film, Harris stars as Alicia West, an army veteran who gets recruited into the New Orleans Police Department. She soon finds herself on the run from her fellow officers, after witnessing a detective commit an extrajudicial killing. 

While the movie itself received mixed reviews, most critics agreed that Harris' performance was superb. Writing for RogerEbert.com, Christy Lemire said that Harris' performance "elevates" the rest of the film. Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post agreed, writing, "Much of what makes Black and Blue watchable is Harris's compassionate — and passionate — performance." Meanwhile, Lean Greenblat wrote in her Entertainment Weekly review, "Harris, eyes blazing, brings a humanity and an urgency that serve the story maybe more than it deserves: a performance above and beyond the call of duty."

Harris will keep that action streak going when No Time to Die hits theaters on November 12.