May Day: The Enigmatic Femme Fatale from A View to a Kill
May Day is a captivating character from the 1985 James Bond film, A View to a Kill. This slender but powerful femme fatale serves as a bodyguard, lover, and deadly henchwoman for the wealthy industrialist Max Zorin, creating a memorable presence on-screen.
Brilliantly brought to life by American model, singer and actress Grace Jones, May Day’s physical prowess and no-nonsense way she goes about her work has left an indelible mark on the Bond franchise. So much so, she’s gone on to feature in various video game adaptations including GoldenEye 007 (1997), and Nightfire (2002).
May Day serves as the bodyguard and lover to the billionaire industrialist and ex-KGB operative, Max Zorin. Her background remains shrouded in mystery, but she displays extraordinary strength, possibly hinting at her origins in the breeding experiments conducted by eugenicist Dr. Hans Glaub.
During a tense standoff with the KGB, she effortlessly lifts a man over her head. Zorin, a known product of Glaub’s eugenics experiments, seems to be her only physical match as he pins her down during a hand-to-hand combat training session.
May Day leads Zorin’s team of female guards and appears to share a close working relationship with her assistants, Jenny Flex and Pan Ho, evident by her grief when they’re later killed.
Bond first sees May Day, when she accompanies Zorin to the Royal Ascot, where his thoroughbred, Pegasus, competes. Zorin cheats using remote-controlled steroids, leading to May Day’s intervention in calming the frenzied horse after its victory.
When the French Jockey Club hires a private detective to investigate potential horse-fixing schemes involving Zorin, May Day assassinates him while he’s dining with James Bond at a restaurant at the Eiffel Tower.
Bond chases her up the EIfeel Tower, but she escapes by parachuting across Paris and fleeing along the Seine in a boat driven by Zorin.
Later, at Zorin’s annual thoroughbred sale near Paris, May Day recognizes Bond despite his disguise as a wealthy aristocrat. Bond seduces her to maintain his cover, but Zorin eventually uncovers his true identity. May Day then kills Bond’s MI6 partner, Sir Godfrey Tibbett, and attempts to drown Bond in a car.
Unaware that Bond has survived, May Day and Zorin head to the United States to execute “Project Mainstrike” — Zorin’s plan to dominate the global microchip market by obliterating Silicon Valley with a massive earthquake.
When they meet with co-conspirators on an airship, May Day kills a reluctant investor by throwing him out of a window into San Francisco Bay. After finding out Bond is alive, she kills his CIA contact, Chuck Lee, and helps frame Bond for the murder of Zorin’s pawn at San Francisco City Hall, W.G. Howe.
Later, May Day joins Zorin at Main Strike Mine, where he plans to cause a devastating earthquake by blasting through the lake beds above and flooding the fault under the mine.
Bond and his ally, Stacey Sutton, infiltrate the mine but are pursued by May Day, Flex, and Pan Ho. Zorin betrays his team and floods the mine prematurely, sweeping them away and killing many of his employees.
Enraged by Zorin’s betrayal, May Day assists Bond in removing the bomb meant to break the “key geological lock” and loads it onto a rail cart. Realizing the brakes will fail without her, she courageously rides the ticking bomb out of the mine.
May Day’s final words to Bond are “Get Zorin for me!” before she perishes in the ensuing explosion. Bond ultimately fulfills her last wish when Zorin slips off the Golden Gate Bridge during their final confrontation.
Jamaican-born Grace Beverly Jones is a multifaceted artist, known for her work as a model, singer, and actress. She gained fame for her androgynous appearance while modeling for top fashion houses and magazines.
Jones ventured into music in 1977, becoming a prominent figure in New York City’s disco scene before shifting to a new wave style, and charted multiple hits in the UK. Her acting career includes roles in mainstream films like Conan the Destroyer, A View to a Kill, and Vamp.
A trailblazer in the cross-dressing movement of the 1980s, Jones has inspired artists like Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna. She shares a son with longtime collaborator Jean-Paul Goude and has enjoyed high-profile relationships with actors Dolph Lundgren and Sven-Ole Thorsen.