Should a woman play the iconic role of 007?
The latest Bond movie No Time to Die was finally released at the end of September. This movie marks the final farewell of Daniel Craig’s role as 007 after five movies playing the notorious character of James Bond. With this news comes the inevitable anticipation of who will take on the iconic 007 role. Speculation has been rife over who will take over Craig’s role – even as far back as the release of Spectre.
In a recent interview with Radio Times, Craig was asked if Bond should be played by a woman, and he answered:
“There should simply be better parts for women and actors of colour. Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?”
As a result of this statement, it quickly became the main point of the interview and was presented in a controversial way. However, Craig’s response wasn’t exactly provocative and neither was the question. So, would it really matter if James Bond were to be portrayed by a woman?
Instead, I think Craig’s answer was absolutely sincere in its entirety. This is because Craig didn’t pretend that Bond was this obstacle that was standing in the way of feminism.
Rather, Craig understands that Bond is just yet another action hero – and one that isn’t exactly an interesting one either. A female Bond would be an interesting idea, but it’s not exactly revolutionary. Additionally, Craig’s films depicting Bond have explored his character to a degree – by demonstrating his arrogance and misogyny.
After all, if you think about it, Ian Fleming (author of the Bond books) ultimately wrote a character who has, for far too long, been degraded for his misogynistic behaviour and repetitive womanising. Dame Judi Dench, the first woman to play Head of MI6’s M described Bond with the following comment:
“[He’s] a sexist, misogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War, whose boorish charm [is] wasted on me.”
In respect to the #MeToo movement, several women involved within the Bond franchise have come forward to address he sexism illustrated in the films, including Halle Berry (Die Another Day) and the long-running producer Barbara Broccoli.
Additionally, Barbara Broccoli made a statement in her interview with Variety:
“He can be of any colour, but he is male. I believe we should be creating new characters for women – strong female characters. I’m not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think women are far more interesting than that.”
No Time to Die brought on more women for the film both in front and behind the camera. Lashana Lynch joined the cast of No Time to Die – an actress that is rumoured to be taking on the 007 codename. Phoebe Waller-Bridge also worked with the scripting process, and Craig revealed that she was perfect for the job:
“Her influence permeates a lot of this film. She walked that fantastic line of keeping it as a thriller and being very funny. But Phoebe didn’t come in to change Bond. She came in to spice it up for sure, but she’s a Bond fan – she wasn’t about to take him in a different direction.”
Ultimately, if a woman were to take on the exact role of James Bond – it seems a bit repetitive. Instead, it would be so much more refreshing to have a strong-female character that embodied ambitious and virtuous values – a role model. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.