On twitter recently, I saw an intriguing thought. Phil Nobile Jr from Fangoria suggested "Gemma as Madeleine Swann would’ve been a whole other ball game" This really got me thinking...what if in an alternate universe, instead of playing the memorable Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace, she had waited a couple years and won the role of Madeleine Swann in Spectre? Let's dive into it!
Firstly, Gemma has been open about her thoughts on her role in QoS and some regrets of taking the part. Hindsight is always 20/20 but imagine being a 21 year old recent acting grad being offered a part in a Bond Film? I can't really imagine anyone saying no to that. The part was minor, but in a major film. It certainly wasn't a huge part of substance and one that has it's flaws but still, it was a Bond Film. It put her on the map. She said this about the role:
"At the beginning of my career, I was poor as a church mouse and I was happy just to be able to work and earn a living. I still get criticism for accepting Quantum Of Solace, but I was 21, I had a student loan, and you, know, it was a Bond film. But as I got older I realised there was so much wrong with Bond women. Strawberry should have just said no, really, and worn flat shoes."
Madeleine is a much stronger woman than Ms. Fields was in QoS. She doesn't take shit from Bond and has her own motives and desires for wanting to hunt down Blofeld. We all have our personal preferences so I'm not going to get into if Gemma is a better actress than Léa Seydoux or if she was better suited for the role, but I will say that if I were casting Spectre in this alternate universe, Gemma would have been at the top of my list for the part.
At the time, Gemma would have been coming off of shooting The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Prince of Persia, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and Runner Runner and would have been 28 years old during filming. This is a perfect storm of her being in the prime of her career and showing off she can really act in both dramatic and action roles. She wasn't a huge star, but a big enough one where people knew who she was and she had enough experience to really carry the part. There is no denying her beauty and she has many fans around the world who would have flocked to see her as a leading lady in a Bond Film. Gemma is a unique talent and I think she would have taken Spectre to a whole different level. Her sex appeal and her ability to convince and audience she can really kick ass would make a great combination for a Bond Leading Lady.
I have attached photos from a recent photoshoot with The Rake as an example of the grace and elegance Gemma would have brought to the role. To me, these photos scream Madeleine Swann and what her character encapsulates.
As Madeleine moves now into No Time To Die, we can only wonder how Gemma would have portrayed the character and evolved with age and as a co-star next to Daniel Craig. What do you think? Would you have preferred Gemma Arterton to have played the role of Madeleine Swann in Spectre and No Time To Die? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!