Elektra King: The Oil Heiress Turned Villainess
Elektra Vavra King is the daughter of oil magnate, Sir Robert King, and heir to the family business, King Enterprises. She partners with Russian terrorist Renard in 1999 Bond film, The World is Not Enough as the main villains who are out to obliterate Istanbul and contaminate the Bosporus, forcing oil traders to use her family’s pipeline.
Brought to life by French actress, Sophie Marceau, Elektra King was the first female Bond villain in the franchise’ history. Her character finds a place in the associated novel adaptation written by Raymond Benson and is also featured in the video game.
Elektra King is the daughter of British oil magnate, Sir Robert King and his Azerbaijani wife. Her family had fled Azerbaijan following the establishment of the Soviet Union, choosing to make England their new home.
Sir Robert King’s marriage gained significant attention, owing to his successful acquisition of his father-in-law’s oil venture which he then amalgamated into his own construction business, thus establishing the renowned King Enterprises.
When Elektra was born, it garnered immense press scrutiny, hinting at the degree of attention she would receive in her adult years. As the sole daughter of a prosperous oil tycoon, Elektra enjoyed a privileged upbringing.
Her educational journey unfolded in esteemed private institutions across Europe, and she frequently spent her summer vacations with her mother’s family in the Middle East. After graduating, Elektra King chose to join her father at King Enterprises.
Elektra’s involvement in the family business coupled with her stunning looks catapulted her into the public eye, much to the delight of the press. This fame inevitably caught the attention of the anarchist Renard who hatched a plan to kidnap her, aiming to extort a hefty sum from her father. However, Sir Robert, guided by a family friend and James Bond‘s superior, M, declined to pay the ransom.
Feeling betrayed, Elektra became Renard’s accomplice, even joining in his plot to extract money from her family, to the extent of self-mutilating her right ear to send as a warning to her father.
All the while, she feigned trauma from the kidnapping. While Bond suspects she may be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, his personal feelings for her might be clouding his judgement.
The World Is Not Enough
After feeling let down by her father not paying the ransom fee to her kidnapper, Renard, Elektra King is now engaged in clandestine operations with him to orchestrate an explosion at her family’s oil conduit. She even camouflages her intentions by becoming Bond’s lover.
Nevertheless, when Renard issues a public threat to demolish the pipeline, Elektra discloses her true persona and abducts and imprisons M, who she holds accountable for her father’s refusal to meet her ransom demand years ago.
Her strategy is on the brink of execution when Bond infiltrates her secret base. Bond and Dr. Christmas Jones are soon seized by Elektra’s henchmen, with Dr. jones transported to the submarine seized by Renard’s crew, and Bond taken to a tower, where Elektra subjects him to torment in an antique torture chair.
As Bond endures the torture, Elektra King both taunts and flirts with him, asserting that her unique allure is irresistible to men and that Bond’s affection for her has been his downfall. Bond refutes any emotional attachment to Elektra, even as she brings him closer to death in a gradual and unrelenting manner.
Fortunately, Valentin Zukovsky and his team, who survived the explosion, raid the tower. But as he reaches the room where Elektra has imprisoned Bond, Zukovsky is shot by Elektra. As he lies dying, Zukovsky shoots his Walking Stick Rifle to release Bond. This allows Bond to chase after the fleeing Elektra, and rescue M in the process.
In a high-stakes face-off, with Bond pointing his Walther PPK at Elektra King, urging her to command Renard to abort the impending city meltdown.But Elektra provokes Bond, taunting him, saying he lacks the courage to shoot her and that he would regret losing her, believing him incapable of cold-bloodedly murdering a past lover.
Elektra King then radios Renard, and in a brazen display of her supposed control over Bond, instructs him to proceed with their scheme. Enraged by her audacity, Bond promptly ends her life with a single gunshot, asserting, “I never miss.”
Sophie Marceau, born Sophie Danièle Sylvie Maupu on November 17, 1966 in Paris, is a renowned French actress. In her younger years, she trained as a classical cellist and began her acting career after being discovered by a modeling agency.
Her acting debut in Claude Pinoteau’s La Boum in 1980 led to a successful career in French cinema before she gained international recognition through blockbusters Braveheart and the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, where she became the first female to play the lead Bond villain, Elektra King.
Marceau has demonstrated her versatility in diverse roles, won numerous awards, and made a significant impact on both French and international cinema. She has also published a semi-autobiographical novel, Menteuse, and has directed several films, earning the Best Director award at the Montreal World Film Festival for her directorial debut, Speak to Me of Love.