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The Halle Berry James Bond Spin-Off You Never Got To See

Over the course of a career that's spanned three decades, Halle Berry has made her mark on some of the most iconic film franchises in movie history. She blew everyone away as Storm in the live-action X-Men films, went totally ham with Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, and turned heads as Jinx, the spy who stood shoulder to shoulder with James Bond in Die Another Day. In the wake of that 007 outing (which would prove to be Pierce Brosnan's last), there was so much heat behind Berry — who had just won an Oscar for Monster's Ball — that she was even considered for her very own James Bond spin-off.

Reports of a Jinx-centric film go way back to Die Another Day's 2002 release, when news orgs like The Guardian were reporting on the possibility of such a follow-up. However, it's now 2020, and we are sadly living in a world without a Jinx Cinematic Universe. The spin-off obviously never made it into production, and the character was never heard from again. In a recent interview with Variety, Berry talked about exactly why the movie never came to fruition.

MGM was allegedly apprehensive about a big budget action film starring a Black woman

During the wide-ranging interview with Variety, Berry discussed the many successes and disappointments of her career, including her historic Oscar win for Best Actress for Monster's Ball. Berry was the first — and still only — Black woman to win the award. Although she recognized the moment as important, she also lamented the fact that it didn't change the industry as much as she first hoped it would. "Just because I won an award doesn't mean that, magically, the next day, there was a place for me," she said.

That disappointing lack of progress when it comes to representation for Black women in Hollywood seems to be what ultimately sank her potential James Bond spin-off. Apparently, James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were pushing for the project, but the studio was hung up on the idea of launching a big-budget action film with a Black woman at the top of the bill. The movie was said to have a proposed budget of $80 million, which MGM wasn't interested in laying on the line.

Berry explained, "It was very disappointing... It was ahead of its time. Nobody was ready to sink that kind of money into a Black female action star. They just weren't sure of its value. That's where we were then."

The Jinx spin-off had a script and director before it was killed

Adding to the frustration of Berry's canceled Jinx movie is the fact that, at the time that MGM pulled the plug, the movie was fairly far along in pre-production. According to an Entertainment Weekly report from 2003, there was already a script written by Neal Purvis and Rob Wade, co-writers of every James Bond movie since The World Is Not Enough. The spin-off had even attracted Oscar-nominated director Stephen Frears.

A recent profile of Broccoli and Wilson that appeared in Variety described Broccoli as being "incensed" by the studio's decision to abandon the project. According to the profile, Broccoli sought to distance the franchise from the many chauvinist underpinnings that had become synonymous with James Bond. It seems that having a female-centered spin-off was one way to do this. There have even been reports that Jinx wasn't the first Bond Girl being considered for the spotlight treatment — according to a Variety article on canceled James Bond films, Michelle Yeoh's character Wai Lin from Tomorrow Never Dies was also briefly considered for her own movie.

Even though the Jinx movie didn't pan out, Berry still had her heart set on headlining an action blockbuster. Another project soon came along, although it didn't quite work out the way she thought it would.

Berry made Catwoman following the disappointment of her Jinx spin-off

Anyone familiar with Berry's career knows that not long after the successes of Die Another Day and Monster's Ball came the failure that was Catwoman. Casting Berry as the iconic Batman anti-hero in a stand-alone film sounds like a surefire hit. However, the movie was a massive disaster. It failed to earn back its $100 million budget at the box office and was ripped to shreds by critics. Berry even won the Razzie Award for Worst Actress for the role, just a few years after winning her Oscar.

According to Berry's interview with Variety, she was aware the movie was a risky gamble from the beginning: "People said to me, 'You can't do that. You've just won the Oscar.'" However, her James Bond spin-off not going forward had her considering other ways to move the needle by bringing a Black action heroine to the big screen: "Because I didn't do Jinx, I thought, 'This is a great chance for a woman of color to be a superhero. Why wouldn't I try this?'"

In the end, Catwoman didn't end up being the best vehicle for that mission. As Berry said, despite being the star of her own movie, Catwoman's story wasn't treated seriously. "I remember having that argument: 'Why can't Catwoman save the world like Batman and Superman do? Why is she just saving women from a face cream that cracks their face off?'"

It's a shame that we never ended up seeing Halle Berry star in her own Jinx spin-off. However, now that there are rumors that Lashana Lynch will become the first Black woman to take over the mantle of 007, it seems that the progress in representation that Berry was striving for is in sight.