Get ready for one of those Hollywood stories that’s deeply satisfying and not at all surprising. Pam Grier has been legit since day one, so it’s no shock that she took her swagger into a meeting with the Broccoli family and other Bond producers when they were casting Octopussy and asked them to do better. Although initially reluctant to even take the meeting, Grier showed up and requested the character she was set to play be more than eye candy.
“What am I going to do? Am I going to help rescue him? Is he rescuing me? A Bond girl is an afterthought, a CliffsNote, perhaps,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “I asked, ‘Am I challenging Bond? Am I out to kill him? Will I kill him before he kills me?’ They hadn’t thought of that. I gave them other ideas, which were much more profound and interesting than what they were doing.”
This was a full decade after she’d established herself as an action star making Blaxploitation flicks, so taking on a conventional Bond girl role would have been like asking Arnold Schwarzenegger to sit still and look pretty.
The role ultimately went to Maud Adams, and while the character Octopussy was slightly more active and involved in the plot (as much as a character named Octopussy can be), the film was one of the more cartoonish installments, coasting on the fumes of the 1970s. The armchair agent here might say that being a Bond girl might have done wonders for Grier’s career at the time. But would it, really? Why? It might have seriously watered down her public persona.
On the other hand, it would have been wild in 1983 to watch Foxy Brown rescue James Bond. If only they’d listened.
(via Entertainment Weekly)