James Bond fans concerned that the new 007 film is “woke,” won’t be convinced otherwise after Cary Fukunaga, the director of the latest James Bond film, is claiming that Sean Connery’s James Bond was “essentially” a rapist. The No Time to Die director argued that the spy franchise’s attitude toward women has changed dramatically since the late Scottish actor played the first incarnation of the sophisticated spy. The director of the latest Bond film cites scene from Thunderball that ‘wouldn’t fly today’ as he explains that his latest James Bond film, co-written by feminist Phoebe Waller-Bridge, aims to redress British spy franchise’s gender politics.
Telling the Hollywood Reporter: “Is it Thunderball or Goldfinger where, like, basically Sean Connery’s character rapes a woman?” Fukunaga asks. “She’s like ‘No, no, no,’ and he’s like, ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ That wouldn’t fly today. So, at Fukunaga’s suggestion, Waller-Bridge was brought in to work on the draft he wrote with Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, a pair who have worked on every Bond film since 1999’s The World Is Not Enough.
“I think that’s the expectation, a female writing very strong female roles, but that’s something Barbara wanted already,” he [Fukunaga] insists. “From my very first conversations with [Broccoli], that was a very strong drive. You can’t change Bond overnight into a different person. But you can definitely change the world around him and the way he has to function in that world. It’s a story about a white man as a spy in this world, but you have to be willing to lean in and do the work to make the female characters more than just contrivances.”
Lynch, who plays 00 agent Nomi in No Time to Die, thinks Fukunaga succeeded. “Cary had big discussions with Barbara and Daniel about how to give the female characters equity, how to keep them in charge of themselves, how to give them solo moments where the audience learns who they are,” she says. “It was really important to empower the female characters as stand-alones. And I think that he kept that in mind throughout the whole shoot. I didn’t feel like Nomi, as a young Black woman, was constantly standing behind the white guy, which, for me, is job done. And that was a very conscious decision for Cary.”
No Time to Die has been dubbed the Bond picture with the highest power balance between male and female characters. Lashana Lynch, who plays one of the film’s two Black female leads, is said to be the heir to Bond’s 007 moniker, which he had retired to Jamaica at the start of the film. Many believe that Phoebe Waller-participation Bridge’s in the scriptwriting process will strengthen the franchise’s feminist credentials, which were built in a prior period. Others argue that this is going to be the wokest James Bond film in the franchise’s history.
The film’s executive producer Barbara Broccoli, who has been producing Bond films since 1995, said: “I think people are coming around – with some kicking and screaming – to accepting that stuff is no longer acceptable. Thank goodness. Bond is a character who was written in 1952 and the first film [Dr No] came out in 1962.” The producer admitted she is relieved the film series no longer shows such misogynistic attitudes.
Broccoli and Daniel Craig – who plays Bond for the final time in No Time to Die – have both repeatedly suggested the central role should remain male, with Craig recently telling the Radio Times: “Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?”
Speaking to the Guardian in 2018, she said: “Bond is male”. “He’s a male character. He was written as a male and I think he’ll probably stay as a male. We don’t have to turn male characters into women. Let’s just create more female characters and make the story fit those female characters.”
However, bookmakers are suddenly very bullish on Lynch to takeover the role of 007. Bookmaker Coral has recently increased Lashana Lynch’s odds from 33/1 to 5/1. This enormous improvement in the British actress’ odds places her just behind the front-running male actors who are also in the running.
Anyone care to take that bet?