Why We Never Saw the James Bond Spinoff Halle Berry Deserved

Published on September 21, 2020

We’ve never seen an official spinoff from the James Bond franchise, but audiences once came close to seeing one. In 2002, following her Oscar-winning performance in Monster’s Ball, Halle Berry became a Bond girl in Die Another Day. It’s a lesser Bond picture, but Berry was her charismatic self as an American agent, named Jinx, who was meant to get her own franchise.

What Happened 

Longtime Bond producers, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, were champions of the spinoff. The studio behind the franchise, MGM, were not. The company wouldn’t sign off on an $80 million budget, which is chump change in terms of Bond money. Broccoli was left angered by MGM failing to make the film. In the 21st Century, she wanted to strip Bond of his over misogyny, take the franchise in a new and more modern direction, but MGM was stuck in the past. 

Ahead of the Times

While Die Another Day was seen as a disappointment among fans, it was a hit and Berry gave a performance far above the quality of the movie. In a recent interview, Berry explained why the Jinx movie never happened (Source: Variety). “It was ahead of its time,” Berry said. “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.”

Is it Too Late for a Jinx Movie?

Spin-offs and sequels are more common than ever these days, especially if they hit some nostalgia buttons. Berry is just as popular as she was almost 20 years ago, if not more so today. She was a towering figure in the third John Wick movie, making her action scenes in Die Another Day look like child’s play. 

The Bond franchise is constantly evolving, too, so it’s hard to imagine there’d be no room for the character’s return in her own Bond-like universe. It worked for Joker. In 2020, with a real budget and resources, a spy franchise starring Halle Berry sounds like a win, as well as a good time at the movies. We still don’t have a major female-led spy franchise, but it’s about time for it.

Why We Got Catwoman

What was not a good time at the movies, of course, was Catwoman. Instead of the Jinx spinoff, audiences got the Berry-led comic book movie, which was torched by audiences and critics. Due to the crumbling of the Bond spinoff, Berry chose to star in Catwoman and, in her own words, for good reason. “People said to me, ‘You can’t do that. You’ve just won the Oscar,'” she said. “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?’” 

Berry has always been honest about the less-than-stellar quality of the movie. To this day, she sees the movie’s many flaws. “The story didn’t feel quite right,” she added. “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?’ But I was just the actor for hire. I wasn’t the director. I had very little say over that.”

A Big Win for Berry

Berry hasn’t always gotten the roles she deserves. She’s said so herself that after the Oscars, the floodgates didn’t open for her the way it has for other Academy Award-winners, no question due to systematic racism in the Hollywood system. When given the right role and story, like Cloud Atlas or John Wick 3, Berry is tremendous, though. She’s a movie star, and yet, still isn’t always getting the star roles she deserves in high quality, big-budget pictures. Soon enough, we’ll see her in a starring role maybe we’ve all been waiting for, from the sound of it. Berry directed herself in an MMA movie,  Bruised, which sold to Netflix for $20 million. The sale was a great feat for a directorial debut. Hopefully, in the future, we’ll see Berry direct herself more and more in the roles and stories she deserves.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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