Bond Girl: May Day

May Day was a fictional bodyguard, lover, and assassin employed by billionaire industrialist Max Zorin. Portrayed by American singer and actress Grace Jones and doubled by a stuntman, BJ Worth, the character acted as the secondary antagonist in the 1985 James Bond film, A View to a Kill. She subsequently appeared in video-game adaptions of the film, as well as the games The Duel (1993), GoldenEye 007 (1997), and Nightfire (2002).


May Day is the American bodyguard and lover of a wealthy industrialist and former-KGB operative Max Zorin. Little is known about her past. A tall woman in her mid-thirties, she exhibited abnormal strength, perhaps indicating her origin in the selective breeding experiments of Nazi eugenicist Dr. Hans Glaub. During a hostile standoff with the KGB, she lifts a man over her head with no apparent effort. Her only physical equal appeared to be Zorin. Himself a genuine product of Glaub’s eugenics experiments, he managed to pin her to the floor during a hand-to-hand combat training session. She headed Zorin’s group of female guards. Her later grief at the death of her subordinates, Jenny Flex and Pan Ho suggests they shared a close working relationship.

In 1985, she attended Royal Ascot with Zorin, who entered his thoroughbred, Pegasus, into the race. He cheats via the remote application of steroids, resulting in May Day having to restrain the frantic horse after it wins. Following the similarly suspicious racing activity, the French Jockey Club hires a private detective, Achille Aubergine, to investigate the possibility that Zorin may be involved in a horse-fixing scheme. Zorin dispatches May Day to the Eiffel Tower, where she murders the detective with a poisoned stage prop as he dines with James Bond. With Bond in pursuit, she flees up the tower and parachutes across Paris. She eventually escapes along the Seine in a boat driven by Zorin. Later that month, Zorin holds an annual thoroughbred sale at his stud farm near Paris. Bond infiltrates the gathering, but May Day quickly sees through his cover as a wealthy aristocrat, identifying him as the man from the Eiffel Tower. 007 seduces her in a bid to evade suspicion. Despite this, his cover is blown by Zorin the following morning. May Day subsequently garrotes his MI6 colleague, Sir Godfrey Tibbett, while he is taking his Rolls-Royce through a car wash and participates in the attempt to drown Bond in said car.

Believing Bond to be dead, the pair depart for the United States to enact “Project Mainstrike” — Zorin’s scheme to attain dominance over the global microchip market by destroying Silicon Valley with a super-earthquake. As they meet with co-conspirators on board an airship, May Day executes a hesitant investor by defenestrating him into the San Francisco Bay. After discovering Bond to be alive, she kills his CIA contact, Chuck Lee, and participates in framing 007 for the murder of Zorin’s stooge at San Francisco City Hall, W.G. Howe. The following day, she joins Zorin in Main Strike Mine as he prepares to blast through the lake beds above. After flooding the Fault under the mine, they planned to detonate hundreds of 50 lb sacks of ANFO to destroy the “key geological lock”; creating a catastrophic geological disaster and permanently submerging the region. After infiltrating the mine and learning the details of the plan, Bond and his companion, Stacey Sutton, are pursued by May Day, Flex, and Pan Ho. However, Zorin betrays his entourage and prematurely floods the mine, causing them to be swept away by the floodwaters. Furious at Zorin’s betrayal, May Day helps 007 extract the lock-breaking bomb and loads it onto a railroad cart. Realizing the breaks will jam without her, she defiantly rides the ticking device out of the mine. As she leaves, May Day gives Bond her last words, “Get Zorin for Me!” before reaching the exit of the mine and being killed in the subsequent detonation. Her last request is fulfilled when Zorin falls to his death after slipping off the Golden Gate Bridge during his final confrontation with Bond.


May Day was a generally cold, severe, and intimidating woman. Although, as a professional assassin, she generally felt no remorse for her actions, she did value loyalty, as demonstrated when she was furious with Zorin when he wanted to leave her to die in the mine with his other henchmen. Still, she would occasionally use her charms on her targets if Zorin asked her to. A rather polite person despite her dark eyes and eccentric outfits, May Day was therefore intimidating but superb and posed a significant threat even to rival agents with rigorous training like Bond and Godfrey Tibbett.

Behind the scenes

To create her character’s look for the film, Grace Jones collaborated with her personal designer, Azzedine Alaïa, and the film’s costume designer, Emma Porteous. Jones was reputed to be difficult to work with during production, with Roger Moore later remarking: “I’ve always said if you’ve nothing nice to say about someone, then you should say nothing.” Among the off-screen antics, Moore stated that, despite his protestations, Jones played very loud heavy metal daily in her adjacent dressing room. He recounted how on one particular occasion: “I marched into her room, pulled the plug out and then went back to my room, picked up a chair and flung it at the wall.” Perhaps most famously, he recalled how Jones – as a practical joke – wore a “rather large black dildo” during their love scene.

Jones’s then-unknown boyfriend: martial artist, Dolph Lundgren, was visiting her on set when director, John Glen, offered him his first (albeit very minor) role as the KGB operative, Venz.