It’s always been rare for an A-list female star to face off against James Bond. No Time to Die has the scene-stealing Ana de Armas, Britt Ekland was already a name by the time she appeared in The Man with the Golden Gun and Michelle Yeoh was a household actress in China but 007’s leading ladies tend to be younger, lesser known actresses on the up. The one big exception is of course Halle Berry, who played CIA agent Jinx in the much-maligned Die Another Day.


When she was cast opposite Pierce Brosnan for his final adventure as 007, Berry had already won an Oscar (and been nominated for another), starred as Storm in X-Men and been elevated to the A-list through her infamous appearance in Swordfish alongside John Travolta and Hugh Jackman.

Despite the film’s many, many faults – shoddy CGI, Madonna, Toby Stephens’s villain – Jinx is a charismatic standout and endures as one of the most popular Bond girls despite being in one of the least popular movies. In fact, she would have been perfect to lead her own action movie.

Despite the Bond films running for 60 years and counting, there has never been a spin-off – no Blofeld origin story, no adventures of Q and Moneypenny, no action franchise based around Felix Leiter. But there was very nearly a Jinx stand-alone film featuring Berry reprising her role.

Halle Berry as Jinx Johnson in Die Another Day.
Halle Berry as Jinx Johnson in Die Another Day. UNITED ARTISTS CORPORATION & DANJAQ, LLC

After Jinx proved a hit with the fans, producer Barbara Broccoli had the idea of letting the American agent branch out on her own and front her own big budget action movie. There had earlier been rumours that Michelle Yeoh would lead a Tomorrow Never Dies spin-off but the Jinx movie was very real. The general idea was for an alternative series to run in conjunction with the main Bond films so that there was less of a gap for the studio between releases, with the Jinx spin-off intended to hit the big screen sometime in 2004.

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A script by regular Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade was commissioned with the idea being that the film would be a Euro thriller more in the vein of The Bourne Identity than the glamorous globe-trotting jaunts people were accustomed to from 007. The film would also have seen Michael Madsen reprise his Die Another Day role as Damian Falco, who was basically her M.

Javier Bardem, before his breakout performance in No Country for Old Men and later appearance in Skyfall, was also eyed as the male lead. Jinx even found itself a director in Stephen Frears – an odd choice given he was best known for his realistic dramas about British society such as My Beautiful Laundrette, Dirty Pretty Things and Prick Up Your Ears.

Halle Berry as Jinx Johnson in Die Another Day
Halle Berry in Die Another Day. EON

All looked good but then MGM got very cold feet over the proposed budget of $80 million even though that was nearly half of what it paid to finance Die Another Day. The early 2000s was marked with the emergence of female action heroes such as Angelina Jolie in the Tomb Raider films, Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil, Kate Beckinsale in Underworld and the trio of Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu in Charlie’s Angels which only seems to emphasise the lost opportunity of a Halle Berry-led spin-off.

According to Variety, Barbara Broccoli was not too happy MGM pulled the plug on the film. The publication wrote: “The play was foiled when MGM got cold feet about the film’s $80 million budget. That decision left Broccoli incensed. One of her main goals as steward of 007 has been to shake off some of the chauvinism that characterised Bond’s appearances in the novels and early films.”

Berry herself has also acknowledged why her Jinx movie never saw the light of day: “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.”

Talk of Berry as Jinx recurred as recently as 2019 among Bond fans after her kick-ass appearance in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum where she plays a deadly assassin with a couple of dogs that are a little more than just good companionship.

Berry’s role in John Wick also served as a reminder of what she and Bond fans lost out on when MGM shelved the spin-off in favour of pressing ahead with the 21st 007 film, which at that time still had Pierce Brosnan attached.

With it now being 21 years since Berry played Jinx, the spin-off is going to remain the one that got away. With Amazon now owning MGM, it feels inevitable that Bond will be expanded to include spin-offs and other adventures away from the main series (especially with the ever-increasing gap between instalments).

Broccoli has made clear that James Bond won’t be played by a woman so why not have a female spy lead a spin-off? Ana de Armas’s Paloma is right there.

No Time to Die is available to stream on Prime Video, with other Bond films also available to purchase – try Amazon Prime Video for free for 30 days.

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