Naomie Harris: Film companies need to be more sustainable

By Rachel Ingram | 13 May 2019 | Culture, Speed

The Bond actress on how the non-environmentally friendly movie industry could learn a thing or two from Formula E

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* Actress Naomie Harris at the ABB FIA Formula E Championship race in Monaco

While movie stars often talk about sustainability, many overlook the fact that the film production industry itself is actually one of the most "non-environmentally friendly" industries of modern times. Naomie Harris is not one such actress. The passionate environmentalist, who shot to fame following starring roles in the James Bond franchise and Moonlight, is using her position to call for action and change within Hollywood.

As the ABB FIA Formula E Championship returned to Monaco at the weekend, Harris showed her support for the electric revolution by attending the race and using her time to speak up about the problems facing the film world. Here, the actress speaks to Tempus about her passion for environmentalism and how the movie industry could learn from electric racing.

You are a big environmentalist and on Friday you had dinner with fellow environmentalist Prince Albert. What did you both talk about?
Well, I was really quite surprised because I didn't realise that he's been a big fan of sustainability and really pushing forward with electric cars since 1994. He introduced an initiative whereby he subsidised the buying of electric cars. He has also introduced over 600 free charging points for electric cars. There's also free parking for electric cars in Monaco. It is really incredible, what he's doing. He is the perfect figurehead for Formula E.

Why is environmentalism so important to you?
Because we only have one planet. We have to do as much as we possibly can to save our planet because it's really in a precarious position at the moment. It's at the forefront of everyone's mind and most of the discussions that are happening because we're in a really critical point in history and I think it's incredibly important that everyone does their part at this point. >>

Reference: Vikings actor Elijah Rowen on his role in Sky drama Curfew and why he embraces negative feedback

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* Fans of Formula E: Luke Evans, David Gandy, Naomie Harris, Rick Yune, Natalie Dormer, Oliver Cheshire, Formula E Founder and CEO Alejandro Agag, Toby Huntington Whiteley

Speaking of sustainability, what goes on in the film industry? Are the film companies you're working with putting extra effort into sustainability efforts?
I'm going to be incredibly honest because, actually, film environments are one of the most non-environmentally friendly [environments]. They're not very environmentally friendly at all. It takes people really speaking up and making a real effort to change that environment, but it's incredibly important. There are so many films being made. We have a huge impact, and the film industry can definitely do more. There's huge room for improvement.

Have you ever gone into a film and asked for any changes on the set?
I'm always saying – I mean, it's just a tiny thing – but the thing of not having plastic bottles. Say you have two hundred people involved in a film set and everybody throughout the day is drinking five or six plastic bottles? That's a huge amount of waste that is totally unnecessary. I always say, can we please have refillable bottles? Can we all have stainless steel bottles that we get given, have our names on them and refill them from one container? That's something I always ask for, but it's not always practical because we move so much as a film unit. So, it's not necessarily followed through, unfortunately.

What do you think of the electric technology you’re seeing today at Formula E?
I think it's really fantastic. You know what I'm really excited about as well? How different the cars look from Formula One now. Formula E is really a brand of its own – it’s not trying to be compared, as it initially was, to Formula One. I love the fact that it provides this competitive environment amongst the different car brands, to push their technology as far as they can. Because that's what we need. It starts here and then it gets fed down into our lives, and into the electric cars that we drive on the street. The fact that the battery power and the battery longevity has been improved within the context of Formula E racing, it means that that's going to happen with us eventually. And that's really exciting.

Read the full interview with Naomie Harris in the Speed edition of Tempus magazine, out on 1 June 2019.

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* The ABB FIA Formula E Championship race in Monaco