Lashana Lynch is making history as her No Time to Die character of Nomi takes over the 007 mantle in the new film.

When news leaked that she’d be 007, she became the target of racist Bond fans and internet trolls. She was targeted despite the fact that she isn’t necessarily the new “Bond,” but rather a character taking over the 007 mantle given that in the film, Daniel Craig’s Bond is MIA.

Lynch has taken the high road up to the film’s release and has taken everything in stride. She’s cognizant of the weight that this moment holds.

Ahead of the film’s release, Shadow and Act spoke with Lynch alongside Craig, Léa Seydoux, Jeffrey Wright and Billy Magnussen, as well as director Cary Joji Fukunaga.

“I’m always thinking culture first, me second,” Lynch told us. “I’m always going to be the vessel for the role but historically, I want my roles to have longevity. I want the legacy to be strong. I want to be able to really impart knowledge, to use things as an educational moment for people who don’t understand Black narratives or the importance of it and this was just an example of me really having the necessary conversations with the people that matter…the heads of departments…to really teach them what this Black experience will mean.”

“Also, the fact that she was even an idea shows how much they are ahead of a lot of people and also the fact that they are continuing with this and she ended up being such a powerful figure in the movie is amazing and I’m also getting to really give young girls what I didn’t get when I was younger,” she continued. “We didn’t see a lot of this on-screen when I was younger. We just had to figure this stuff out and now they don’t have to figure it out anymore. She’s an example of where we can continue to go and the conversation that we need to continue to have.”

She also talked about working with Craig on his final film as Bond.

The actress explained, “It was nice to just see him work. There’s being on set with someone and being able to really take the scene and really feel it out and put new ideas into it but to watch someone work, to watch how they manage, how they become the head of a franchise, how you hold that? You hold your own, you make shifts, you have agency, you speak up for other people, which he does.”

“You really teach departments how to encapsulate the world into this one historical moment, which is important,” she continued. “Watching him just [vibing] and [cracking wise] with the crew and…just doing all the things that we see him do on screen but being really cool and calm about it–which I’m sure he wasn’t a lot at the time–but me looking from the outside, it was just great to learn how to head something, how to really be at the top and allow things to trickle down positively.”

Check out the full interviews below featuring Fukunaga, Craig, Seydoux, Lynch, Wright and Billy Magnussen, as well as director Cary Joji Fukunaga.