Miss Moneypenny, later Eve Moneypenny, is a fictional character in the James Bond novels and films. She is secretary to M, who is Bond's boss and head of the British Secret Service (MI6). Although she has a small part in most of the films, it is always highlighted by the underscored romantic tension between her and Bond (something that is virtually nonexistent in Ian Fleming's novels, though is somewhat more apparent in the Bond novels by 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.
Although not given a first name by Fleming, the character was given the name Jane in the spin-off book series, The Moneypenny Diaries; in the films, she received the first name of Eve in Skyfall (2012), where the character spent time as a field agent before becoming secretary to M. According to the film You Only Live Twice (1967), she holds the rank of second officer in the Women's Royal Naval Service.
In Ian Fleming's first draft of Casino Royale (1953), Moneypenny's name was originally "Miss 'Petty' Pettaval", which was taken from Kathleen Pettigrew, the personal assistant to MI6 director Stewart Menzies. Fleming changed it to be less obvious. Other candidates for Moneypenny's inspiration include Vera Atkins of Special Operations Executive; Paddy Ridsdale, a Naval Intelligence secretary;; Joan Bright Astley, whom Fleming dated during World War II, and who was noted for giving a warm and friendly reception to senior officers who visited her office to view confidential papers, and Joan Howe, Fleming's red-haired secretary at The Times who had typed the manuscript of Casino Royale. The BBC has used the term "Fleming's Miss Moneypenny" when referring to Jean Frampton, who typed out the manuscripts for Fleming's later works and made plot suggestions to him, even though the two never met.
Miss Moneypenny is the private secretary of M, the head of MI6. She holds the rank of Lieutenant RN, which is a prerequisite rank for this position. She is cleared for Top Secret, Eyes Only, and Cabinet-Level intelligence reports, the latter of which she is often required to prepare, and in some cases present.
M's personal assistant is utterly dedicated to her work, which means she has little time for a social life. A close confidante of her boss, she also enjoys a flirtatious—though never consummated—relationship with James Bond, whom she understands perfectly.
Moneypenny was never given any backstory until the film Skyfall (2012), when she was re-introduced to the series following the 2006 reboot of the series' continuity. Moneypenny, now played by Naomie Harris and given the first name Eve, is originally a field agent assigned to work with Bond on an operation in Istanbul. It ends in disaster when she accidentally shoots Bond while he is fighting with the mercenary they are chasing. She is temporarily suspended for this and reassigned to desk duty, assisting Gareth Mallory, the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, who has been assigned to watch over MI6. She later meets Bond in Macau and aids in locating an agent of Raoul Silva's before returning to London. After her return to London, she is a participant in another shootout with Silva, when Silva ambushes M at a public inquiry into MI6. By the end of the film, she decides to retire from fieldwork and becomes Mallory's secretary once he takes over the role of M.
In both the Bond novels and films based upon them, Moneypenny is smitten with Bond. For example, in the novel Thunderball (1961), Fleming wrote that she "often dreamed hopelessly about Bond." However, she never explicitly voices these feelings.
Miss Moneypenny's role in Fleming's novels is even smaller than her role in the films. In the novels, Bond also has his own secretary, Loelia Ponsonby and later Mary Goodnight, both of whose lines and relationships were often transferred to Miss Moneypenny for the films. As a rule, Moneypenny generally never directly participates in Bond's missions. However, in Skyfall, Moneypenny is an MI6 agent who directly assists Bond in the field before becoming the new M's secretary. In the film Octopussy, Moneypenny has an assistant named Penelope Smallbone, who appears to be equally smitten with Bond, despite a "thorough briefing" on the subject by Moneypenny. Intended as either a foil or a replacement for Moneypenny, Smallbone appeared only that once.
In most of the Bond films, there is a scene, usually Bond's arrival at M's office, in which Bond and Moneypenny exchange witty, flirtatious conversation. ("Flattery will get you nowhere, but don't stop trying.") In the earlier films, these exchanges are more sexually charged, with Bond often kissing or caressing Moneypenny sensually. In Die Another Day (2002), she puts on Q's virtual reality glasses and sees Bond walking casually into her room and tossing his hat on the hook. He tells her how much he loves her and knocks everything off her desk and the two start to kiss. Q interrupts her, and she pretends she was using it as a combat simulation.
In the original film version of Casino Royale, actress Barbara Bouchet plays M's current secretary and explains to Sir James Bond (played by David Niven) upon their first meeting that she is actually Miss Moneypenny's daughter. She is referred to thereafter, and in the closing credits, as Moneypenny.
Since the character's first appearance in Casino Royale, neither Fleming nor any succeeding Bond novelist gave Moneypenny a first name. In a number of books and at least one film, Bond refers to her by the nickname "Penny" (a shortened version of her last name). However, The Moneypenny Diaries gives her first name as Jane, while in Skyfall, the character is named Eve.
After Lois Maxwell's death, Roger Moore recalled that she would have liked to have become the new M after Moore's retirement. She had suggested herself for the role of M but had been turned down. "I think it was a great disappointment to her that she had not been promoted to play M. She would have been a wonderful M."
On 10 October 2005, John Murray published The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel (2005), the first of three Ian Fleming Publications' sanctioned novels written by Samantha Weinberg under the pseudonym Kate Westbrook, from the point of view of Miss Moneypenny. The rest of The Moneypenny Diaries trilogy was released over the next three years.
Moneypenny has been played by six actresses in the Bond films—four in the Eon film series, plus two in the non-Eon films.Lois Maxwell
- Dr. No (1962)
- From Russia with Love (1963)
- Goldfinger (1964)
- Thunderball (1965)
- You Only Live Twice (1967)
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
- Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
- Live and Let Die (1973)
- The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
- The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
- Moonraker (1979)
- For Your Eyes Only (1981)
- Octopussy (1983)
- A View to a Kill (1985)
- The Living Daylights (1987)
- Licence to Kill (1989)
- GoldenEye (1995)
- Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
- The World Is Not Enough (1999)
- Die Another Day (2002)
- Skyfall (2012)
- Spectre (2015)
- Casino Royale (1967) (Bouchet actually plays Moneypenny's daughter)
Lois Maxwell portrays Moneypenny in the TV special Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond (1967), which was produced by Eon Productions.
Lois Maxwell played herself in the Italian film OK Connery (1967) and played Miss Moneypenny in the 1975 French film Bons baisers de Hong Kong.
Samantha Bond took up the role again in an advertisement for London's (ultimately successful) London 2012 Olympic bid. She appeared alongside Roger Moore, who played 007 between 1973 and 1985.
In the video game From Russia with Love (2005), Moneypenny appears with Lois Maxwell's likeness in the same film. She is voiced by Karly Rothenberg (who also voices Rosa Klebb in the game).
Moneypenny appears in Dynamite Entertainment's 2015 James Bond comic book series. Though the series is heavily inspired by the original Ian Fleming stories, this version of Moneypenny is black, much like Naomie Harris' portrayal in the movies.
- Never Say Never Again (1983)
In The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe (2009), Douglas Rogers dedicated chapter 11 (titled "Miss Moneypenny") to his father Ian's black market currency dealer in Mutare. Douglas writes: "In addition to Miss Moneypenny, they called her Moneybags, Madame Bureau de Change, or my favorite, the National Treasure".