The age-old criticism of Bond films is that they objectify women. But according to the franchise's female star, the real sex object is 007 himself.

Lea Seydoux, who plays Dr Madeleine Swann in Spectre and returns later this year in No Time To Die, said female viewers love to see Daniel Craig with his shirt off.

"I think what we forget is that James Bond is also a sexual object. He's totally a sexual object. He's one of the few, maybe one of the only, male characters to be sexualised," Seydoux said. "I think that women, they love to see Bond, no? To see his body. No? Don't you think? I love to see sexy men in bathing suits."

One of the defining images of Craig's Bond was the Casino Royale scene in which he emerged from the sea in a pair of swimming trunks, a pastiche of the Ursula Andress scene in Dr No.

Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) talks to James Bond (Daniel Craig) in Spectre. Photo / File
Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) talks to James Bond (Daniel Craig) in Spectre. Photo / File

In an interview with Harper's Bazaar UK, Seydoux said female characters in the franchise are not simply there for decoration or as the spy's love interest. "We are not here to please Bond's sexuality," she said. "My character is not a stereotype. It's not cliched. She's a real woman, and an interesting woman."

The 34-year-old French actress is unafraid to voice controversial opinions. "I hate the politically correct. And I hate morality, the judgment," she said. "The world has become so polished now, I find it very scary. We're not allowed to commit any mistakes," she added, before going on to suggest that some men should be forgiven for their transgressions. Seydoux has previously alleged that Harvey Weinstein once jumped on her in a hotel room and tried to kiss her. "There is a lot of hypocrisy. Because people knew," she said. "And they take advantage now to say, 'Yes, I've been a victim', and they become heroes. Come on! A hero, for me, would forgive. We need forgiveness, right?"

She added that while it is important for people to be feminists, "we should be masculinist too. And vice versa. We should support each other".

She concluded that she had "never felt inferior to men", but that "I can understand that for past generations it was a real struggle".