James Bond Producers Rejected A Barry Jenkins-Directed Moneypenny Movie, Says Naomie Harris

The quality of Daniel Craig's James Bond movies has varied dramatically since his stellar debut in Casino Royale, wavering with Quantum of Solace, recovering with Skyfall, and then dropping off the deep end with Spectre, probably the worst entry of his tenure. But one of the high points of the previous two movies has been Naomie Harris as Miss Eve Moneypenny, who's a capable field agent in these films instead of merely filling the character's traditional role as Bond's secretary.

Moneypenny has another fan in the form of Harris's Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, because according to recent interviews from Harris, Jenkins actually pitched a Moneypenny movie to Barbara Broccoli at Eon Productions – but Broccoli "wasn't so down for it." Read Harris's quotes below. 

Earlier this week, ComingSoon was speaking with Harris about her new cop film Black and Blue (read our review here) when they asked her why Moneypenny wasn't becoming the new 007. (A rumor earlier this summer indicated that Captain Marvel star Lashana Lynch may take over that designation in the new movie, since it begins with Bond in retirement.) Her response was surprising. "Actually, Barry Jenkins, the director of Moonlight, he always said that he wanted to do a Moneypenny spin-off, so maybe..." she teased, adding that Jenkins and longtime franchise producer Barbara Broccoli "had a little discussion, but nothing's happened so far, but you never know."

But in a new interview with Good Morning America, Harris revealed that the meeting seemed to have ended up as a bust, because Broccoli "wasn't so down for" the idea of a Jenkins-directed Moneypenny movie.

"He's wanted to do a badass, kick-ass action thing with Moneypenny, which I'm all for," Harris said on the talk show. "I got together with our producer, Barbara Broccoli, and was like 'Let's make this happen.' But she wasn't so down for it. But maybe, one day, who knows. The conversation has started at least, and we're continuing it here."

As far back as 2017, there have been rumblings that the Bond producers were interested in exploring other characters in this franchise, essentially creating their own James Bond cinematic universe and, in the process, doing what nearly every Bond film has done: chased the popular trends of the time. I'm frankly shocked that we haven't gotten a Moneypenny movie already. So knowing that this kind of franchise expansion is inevitable, I'm super disappointed that Broccoli isn't interested in letting Barry Jenkins make the Moneypenny action movie that character deserves. Jenkins is a terrific filmmaker who could counter-balance the necessary action and stunts with some actual humanity and pathos, elements the main franchise often lacks. Seeing him reteam with Harris would be a treat.

At first I thought this might be because Jenkins isn't British (the franchise was notoriously stingy about hiring only British directors for years), but then I remembered that No Time to Die director Cary Fukunaga has already become the first American director to to helm a Bond film, so that doesn't seem to be the issue here. I suspect we'll hear more about Jenkins' idea for this movie at some point, so stay tuned.