Cinema Scholars presents this fifth installment of our Bond Girls series (Click Here for Part 1). This time we take a look at three ladies from the Pierce Brosnan era of the James Bond franchise: Denise Richards, Rosamund Pike, and Sophie Marceau.
Born on January 27, 1979, Rosamund Pike grew up in the Hammersmith district of London England. although her parents were professional opera singers they didn’t want their only child to embark on a show business career.
Instead, Pike was sent to study at Badminton School, a boarding school in Bristol, England. While there she got involved in the National Youth Theatre as an actress. It was here that she was noticed by an agent during a performance of Romeo and Juliet. Pike soon signed on for representation. However, she kept her acting pursuits a secret from her parents until she completed her studies at Badminton.
Pike furthered her education at Oxford. There she majored in English Literature. She took off a year while there to work professionally as an actress, completing her studies in 2001. During her years at Oxford, she appeared on several British television shows. These included A Rather English Marriage (1998), Wives and Daughters(1999), and Love in a Cold Climate (2001). While at the university she dated fellow actor Simon Woods (Rome).
Soon after graduating, Pike was offered the role of Miranda Frost in the James Bond movie Die Another Day (2002). In support of the movie, she appeared in the promotional television documentary Bond Girls Are Forever. She also appeared in the BAFTA tribute to the James Bond movie franchise. Pike’s foray into the world of 007 wouldn’t end there. Several years later she would do voice work for an audiobook of The Spy Who Loved Me. Pike also played Pussy Galore in a radio broadcast of Goldfinger for BBC Radio 4.
After Die Another Day Pike saw substantial demand in Hollywood. She subsequently earned roles in a number of high-profile movies, including Gone Girl (2014), Wrath of the Titans (2012), and Jack Reacher (2012). Pike also has done theatrical work in London’s West End including the play Hitchcock Blonde.
More recently Pike has appeared in the movie I Care A Lot (2020). This performance earned her the Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Golden Globe Award. She also starred in the lead role in Amazon’s Wheel of Time series, which premiered in 2021.
Sophie Danièle Sylvie Maupu was born in Paris, France on November 17, 1966. In February of 1980, her mother noticed an ad in which a modeling agency was looking for teenage models. Marceau posed for some pictures, which ended up in the hands of Françoise Menidrey. He was the casting director for Claude Pinoteau’s La Boum(1980). Marceau was cast in the movie and soon after signed a long-term contract with the Gaumont Film Company.
In 1982, Marceau borrowed a million francs to buy back her contract from Gaumont. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the actress starred in many movies made in her native France. These included Fort Saganne (1984), co-starring Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve, and Chouans!(1989). The latter won an award for Best Romantic Actress at the International Festival of Romantic Movies. Marceau also appeared on the stage during this time. She earned the Best Female Newcomer Moliere Award for her work in the 1991 production of Eurydice.
In 1995, Marceau appeared in her breakout international role, Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, where she played the French Princess Isabella, the She-Wolf of France. That same year her son, Vincent, with Polish director Andrzej Żuławski was born. Marceau had been with Żuławski since 1985 and the pair worked together in the 1989 movie My Nights Are More Beautiful Than Your Days. Their relationship ended in 2001.
Following up on her success in Braveheart the next big international role Marceau took on was portraying Elektra King in the 1997 James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough. Marceau beat out both Sharon Stone and Vera Farmiga for the role, which she won on the strength of her performance in Firelight (1997).
Marceau spent the next two decades appearing primarily in French movies, including Don’t Look Back (2009) with fellow Bond actress Monica Bellucci. In addition to acting, she has done modeling ad work for the following French companies: Chaumet, DS, and Peugeot. In 2015 she served on the jury at the Cannes Film Festival.
Denise Richards was born in Downers Grove, Illinois on February 17, 1971. When she was 15 her family moved to Oceanside, California. In 1989, after graduating high school she began to work as a model. Her jobs included print work for Bonnie Bell cosmetics and Teen magazine. Richards would soon transition to guest spots on television including Saved by the Bell, Married…with Children, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, and Seinfeld.
During this time she also appeared in a few movies including Loaded Weapon 1 (1993), Tammy and the T-Rex (1994), and Lookin’ Italian (1994). Richard’s next two movies would make her a breakout star: Starship Troopers (1997) and Wild Things (1998).
Following this up, Richards’ would next appear in the James Bond adventure The World is Not Enough (1999). Her performance as a nuclear physicist was much maligned by critics and fans alike as her performance came off as not credible. Additionally, her Tomb Raider inspired costume was also criticized.
“These Bond girls are so outrageous and if I did really look like a scientist, the Bond fans would have been disappointed.”
– Denise Richards
In 2001, she guest-starred on Friends. She also appeared in four episodes of Spin City where she played a love interest for Charlie Crawford, portrayed by Charlie Sheen. Sheen and Richards were married on June 15, 2002, at the estate of Spin City creator Gary David Goldberg. The couple had two daughters before divorcing in 2006.
In 2011 Richards adopted a third daughter, who is special needs due to a rare chromosomal disorder, Chromosome 8, Monosomy 8p, which affects her speech. Richards continued to appear in several projects that have kept her in the spotlight over the years. These include Dancing with the Stars, Denise Richards: It’s Complicated, and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. In 2019 she joined the cast of the CBS soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful.
When not working in movies or television, Richards spends her time devoted to philanthropic causes including the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Feeding America, Much Love Animal Rescue, Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, Best Friends Animal Society and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
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