Miss Moneypenny is the fictional secretary to M, the head of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI6). Although she has a small part in the films, it is always highlighted by the underscored romantic tension between her and James Bond (something that is virtually nonexistent in Ian Fleming's novels, though somewhat more apparent in the Bond novels of John Gardner and Raymond Benson). On that note, she is not always considered to be a Bond girl, having never had anything more than a professional relationship with Bond, to her dismay. According to the movie You Only Live Twice, she holds the rank of Second Officer in the Women's Royal Naval Service. To date she has been portrayed by Lois Maxwell, Caroline Bliss, Samantha Bond and Naomie Harris - who also portrayed Selena in 28 Days Later - in the EON Productions series of films, with two unofficial portrayals.
Behind the scenes
The first actress to portray M's secretary on the big screen was Lois Maxwell. She auditioned for the role in the first official James Bond film Dr. No (1962), as her husband had had a heart attack and they needed the money. Director Terence Young, who once had turned her down on the grounds that she looked like she "smelled of soap," offered her the role of either Moneypenny or the recurring role of Bond's girlfriend, Sylvia Trench, but she was uncomfortable with a revealing scene in the screenplay and opted for the former. The role as M's secretary guaranteed just two days' work at £100 a day; Maxwell supplied her own clothes.
In 1971, Maxwell was nearly replaced for Diamonds Are Forever after demanding a pay raise; her policewoman's cap disguises hair she had already dyed for another role. However she continued in the role, as her friend and former classmate Roger Moore took over the part of 007 in Live and Let Die. For the filming of A View to a Kill (1985), her final appearance, Bond producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli told her that the two of them were the only ones from Dr. No still working on the series. Maxwell asked that her character be killed off, but Broccoli recast the role instead. Her final Bond film was also Moore's last outing.
The Living Daylights
Miss Moneypenny helps investigate the sniper in Bratislava for Bond. She discovers for him that she was the cellist at the concert, Kara Milovy. Moneypenny informs Bond that he is required to attend a debriefing after General Koskov's defection and gave him a list of items to pick up from Harrods on the way. She jokingly bantered to Bond that he was welcome to join her at her house and listen to her Barry Manilow collection.
Licence to Kill
Moneypenny is seen being criticized by M for making several typing mistakes on some papers, and for her lack of professionalism in dealing with Bond's resignation from Her Majesty's Secret Service. She was worried sick about Bond and calls Q Branch. Q takes some leave and aids Bond in the field in Isthmus against Franz Sanchez.
Moneypenny is first heard when she briefs Bond on the profile of Xenia Onatopp and the yacht Manticore. She makes her first appearance in GoldenEye when Bond, who had returned from his evaluation and attempt to stop the EMP-hardened helicopter, comes into M's office, only to see the secretary, wearing a dress and Moneypenny jokes about it and soon explained that she went to a theater with a gentleman and as they walk down to the meeting room, James reminds Moneypenny that they should have had one but she replies that he never had her. She soon has 007 moved into the briefing room before M came in.
Tomorrow Never Dies
Later she calls Bond, who is 'studying' Danish with a professor and tells him to get back as M needs him and soon insults Bond, calling him a 'cunning linguist' before hanging up and turns to see M is behind her and says 'Don't ask', to which M replies 'Don't tell'. Upon hearing M saying Bond should pump Elliot Carver's wife (and Bond's ex-lover) Paris for information, Moneypenny wants to know "how much pumping is needed". After Bond blew up the stealth boat that destroyed a British ship and had the Chinese accused, M tells Moneypenny to write in the report that "Carver went sailing and was found missing, presumed dead. Authorities believe he committed suicide".
The World is Not Enough
Bond returns from his mission in Spain and Moneypenny asks him if he brought her any souvenirs. He passes her the untouched cigar and she accepts, but immediately into the waste paper basket. Later in Scotland, Moneypenny chides the MI6 doctor, Molly Warmflash, for accepting Bond's sexual advances in return for a clean bill of health.
Die Another Day
Moneypenny has a smaller screen presence here. Towards the end of the movie, she experiments with Q's virtual technology device and pretends she's making out with Bond. This is a stark shift from the previous films in which she had no romantic interest in Bond.
After an absence from the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale and its sequel Quantum of Solace, 2012's Skyfall reintroduces the character for Daniel Craig's tenure as Bond; Skyfall is the first film in which the character is given a first name, Eve. She is played by Naomie Harris, the only non-White actress to portray Moneypenny. Even though she is not considered a Bond Girl, she is the first Moneypenny to have romantic moments with 007.
Eve was an MI6 field agent, who during a mission with Bond in Turkey, ends up shooting 007 while he struggled with Patrice atop a train.
Afterwards she is suspended from field work, although she does aid in fighting off Raoul Silva in order to ensure that Bond can help M escape safely (as Silva had showed up with the intention of killing M).
At the end of the movie, Eve states she is not fit for field work, and will remain only in a desk job at MI6. As Bond says that they have not been properly introduced, she says her full name is Eve Moneypenny.
James Bond and James Bond Incarnations