Legendary actress Dr. Pam Grier apparently turned down a Bond girl role. The “Jackie Brown” star was reportedly offered a part in 1983’s “Octopussy,” alongside then-007, Sir Roger Moore. Other actresses considered for the film included Sybil Danning, Faye Dunaway, Barbara Carrera, Persis Khambatta, Susie Coelho, Barbara Parkins, and Kathleen Turner.
“My agents had me meet with [producers] the Broccoli family, and I’m going, ‘I’m not available,’” Grier said. “They looked at me and said, ‘Well, why are you here?’ I go, ‘I don’t know. My agent told me to come meet.'” By this point in her career, she had already done 1973’s “Coffy,” 1974’s “Foxy Brown,” and 1975’s “Friday Foster.” While the film certainly would have been another feather in her cap, she also didn’t need the credit to solidify her status as an icon.
“I just felt to be a Bond girl would be: What am I going to do?” Grier explained. “Am I going to help rescue him? Is he rescuing me? A Bond girl is an afterthought, a CliffsNote, perhaps. 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.”
So while turning down a role in a huge franchise like the Bond films may sound insane, Grier saw being a Bond girl as a downgrade from being a whole lotta woman. The role eventually went to Maud Adams.
Grier also spoke about another part she turned down in 1981’s “Fort Apache the Bronx.” While she did end up in that film, she was originally offered the part of Paul Newman’s love interest. Instead, Grier fought to play the part of Charlotte, a drug addict who kills two rookie cops.
“I just wanted to do really in-depth character pieces that weren’t predictable,” Grier recalled. “I turned down everything.” Given her decades-long career and undeniable influence on the way women (especially women of color) are viewed in film today, that strategy clearly work for her.