Bond Girl: Solitaire

Solitaire, born Simone Latrelle, is a fictional voodoo psychic medium originally in the employ of Dr. Kananga and the love interest of James Bond. Based on the literary character of the same name from Ian Fleming’s 1954 novel Live and Let Die, she first appeared in the 1973 James Bond film, portrayed by British actress Jane Seymour but partially voiced by Nikki van der Zyl. Solitaire was adapted for the 1983-87 tabletop role-playing game (TRPG), James Bond 007: Role-Playing In Her Majesty’s Secret Service.


Solitaire is a psychic medium employed by Dr. Kananga, who uses Tarot cards to serve him. She inherited her powers and job from her mother. Still, one drawback to her ability is that she must remain a virgin to preserve it.

While Kananga oversees the killings of three British and American spies investigating his illegal drug trafficking activities, Solitaire and he is present at a UN meeting in New York where a British intelligence operative named Dawes, the first target, is killed by an excruciatingly loud and sudden noise. Later, as James Bond travels to New York by plane to investigate the three murders, Solitaire describes his journey to Kananga through her Tarot cards, causing the drug dealer to try to get him killed by Whisper, one of his minions.

As Bond begins his investigation, Solitaire, alongside Tee Hee and other henchmen, accompanies Kananga to his embassy in New York. Still, when they leave the building, they are followed by 007 (who found their trace from a voodoo shop) until a Fillet of Soul restaurant in Harlem, where the spy meets Solitaire after being trapped. After a relatively brief encounter with Mr. Big, Bond asks the psychic about his future, to which she replies that he will not succeed with his goal. When instructed to pick up a card from the deck, Bond quizzically comments, “us?” after picking up ‘the lovers’ card, leaving Solitaire visibly disturbed while he is taken outside by Mr. Big’s guards.

Later, Solitaire, Kananga, and Tee Hee return to San Monique. Still, as Bond and double agent Rosie Carver visit the island, Solitaire tells Kananga the future, once more picking the lovers’ card regarding Bond, before lying to Kananga (who is in the room next door and therefore cannot see her) that she has drawn ‘death.’ Later that evening, Bond returns to San Monique. After convincing Solitaire they are meant to be lovers, with odds stacked in his favor (via a deck composed entirely of ‘the lovers’), 007 succeeds in seducing her. After losing her virginity to Bond through their sexual intercourse, Solitaire loses her psychic power, ending her life if and when Kananga finds out. The British discover Kananga is hiding in vast areas of poppy fields, protected by camouflaged nets and scarecrows that have dart guns hidden in their mouths. A warned Kananga to send many henchmen to kill the secret agent, but he and Solitaire can evade them, escaping in Quarrel Jr.’s boat.

But after arriving in New Orleans, Bond and Solitaire are captured by the taxi driver from Harlem and taken to Mr. Big. Before Bond can be given his ‘skydiving lesson without a parachute (meaning being thrown into a lake from out of a plane), he manages to escape, but Solitaire is recaptured by Kananga’s henchmen and taken back to the dictator.

Later, Bond is captured again by a lowering table at the Fillet of Soul in New Orleans while investigating and is questioned by Kananga in the presence of Solitaire. After revealing that he and Mr. Big are one and the same, the villain demands to know whether he has slept with Solitaire. When 007 refuses to answer out of courtesy, Kananga decides to find out for himself by putting Solitaire’s psychic powers to the test. Taking Bond’s wristwatch, he reads out what he claims to be its registration number and asks his medium to confirm whether he is telling the truth. After some hesitation, Solitaire replies, “You speak the truth,” prompting a seemingly satisfied Kananga to release Bond before having Tee Hee knock the British out and take him to die at a crocodile farm that also doubles as a heroin refinery. Initially relieved at her narrow escape, Solitaire asks Kananga when they will return to San Monique, and the man tells her that they will go back soon but then teaches her that she has answered incorrectly. When Kananga asks why she allowed herself to be seduced by Bond, the medium protests that the cards had spoken and she had no choice. Furious, Kananga slaps Solitaire to the floor, sentences her to death, and turns her over to Baron Samedi for sacrifice.

After a raid on the Fillet of Soul in New Orleans, Felix Leiter informs Bond (who destroyed the farm and defeated some of Kananga’s men) that the drug dealer has taken Solitaire back to San Monique, leaving behind three Tarot cards: the High Priestess, the Moon, and Death, all of which are half-burnt. Arriving in San Monique, where a voodoo ceremony is already underway, Bond looks on as Solitaire is led out for sacrifice. Tied to an altar by her arms, the young woman watches helplessly as a gleeful Dambala menaces her with the same snake that killed the unfortunate Baines earlier. However, just before it can inflict the fatal bite, Bond interrupts the ceremony, shoots Dambala dead, shoots another man, duels Baron Samedi, and rescues Solitaire, whilst pre-planted explosives destroy part of Kananga’s heroin cultivation grounds. While attempting to escape, the pair make their way through an underground passageway (via the lift that delivered Baron Samedi to the ceremony), which ultimately leads them to Kananga’s underground base, where they meet the politician with Whisper.

Solitaire assists her former boss in revealing to Bond that his henchmen have found his wetsuit on the beach before the destruction of the fields and were expecting him. Kananga acknowledges that Bond blew up some of his heroin but reveals that there is more than enough left, as Bond has done only minor harm. 007 and Solitaire are later tied to a winch normally used to carry the heroin onto a monorail that takes it to the coast for shipment. The crane is being lowered by Whisper into a shark pool to have the pair eaten by sharks. Kananga cuts Bond on the arm three times, spilling blood into the water and attracting sharks, who enter the basin after Whisper has opened an underwater gate. Solitaire then watches the spy fighting Kananga and kills him by forcing a gas-fillet shark pellet down his throat, allowing the pair to escape once more. Fortunately, Bond manages to free Solitaire and himself with his buzzsaw wristwatch before defeating Whisper by locking him in an airtight container used for heroin shipping.

Now that order is restored, Bond travels with Solitaire by train, unaware that Tee Hee, one of the survivors of Kananga’s collapse, has also smuggled himself onto the train in a postal service sack. At night, after Solitaire beats Bond at gin rummy, she tries to have a quiet night, but Tee Hee enters the room and traps the former psychic in the bed by folding it up against the wall, making her believe that 007 did it. After Bond kills Kananga’s right-hand man by throwing him out of the window, he rescues his new girlfriend by pulling the bed out again, and they soon make out.

Behind the scenes

Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz had thought of turning Solitaire into a Black woman, and Diana Ross was his first choice. Producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman decided to stick to Ian Fleming’s description of a white woman and, after considering Catherine Deneuve, cast Jane Seymour. She was in the TV series The Onedin Line.