According to Barbara Broccoli, executive producer of the Bond franchise, James Bond will never be a woman.
“Bond is male. He’s a male character,” Broccoli recently told the Guardian. “He was written as a male and I think he’ll probably stay as a male. And that’s fine. 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.”
I wasn’t necessarily hoping for a female Bond in the future (my hopes were that Idris Elba or these other vastly talented men would take the reins), but it’s disappointing the possibility will never be considered. Maybe with a bit more push, this could change — as with Doctor Who, which cast its first female doctor last year — but we’re not holding our breath.
While it may be tempting for some, I don’t think it’s right to jump down Broccoli’s throat over this comment. After all, she is pushing for equality in Hollywood and has hired (mainly) female directors to work on the majority of her projects. She’s also created a safe space for women on sets.
“I’m acutely aware of what actors have to go through,” Broccoli said. “They have to expose the most vulnerable parts of themselves. I think you have to create an environment where people feel free to experiment and not be ridiculed.”
Broccoli conceded the franchise may never be considered a feminist legacy because of the early movies. The Bond character was originally written in the ’50s. However, she does think the franchise has moved with the times.
“But look at the way the world has changed,” she said. “And I think Bond has come through and transformed with the times. I’ve tried to do my part, and I think particularly with the Daniel [Craig] films, they’ve become much more current in terms of the way women are viewed.”
Before we attack Broccoli for slashing the idea of a female Bond, it’s important to acknowledge what she does. She has been credited by many — including Rosamund Pike, who starred in 2002 Bond film, Die Another Day — for her ability to create a “strikingly safe” environment for women in the field.
Pike has previously stated, “I look back over my experience and think: ‘My goodness, Barbara Broccoli was way ahead of all this #MeToo movement. There wasn’t an ounce of feeling uncomfortable while I was on that set.”
Broccoli has also discussed including more female leadership in future Bond films. When she was asked about hiring a female director or screenwriter for the next film, she said, “Yes, absolutely. As a female producer, of course I’d like to do that.”
It may be difficult to accept the franchise will never have a female lead, but perhaps it’s for the best. After all, a new (even better) spy franchise could be created with women as its lead characters. There’s really no reason it needs to be Bond.
Broccoli is using her power to get more women behind the camera and to get deeper, more realistic portrayals of women on the screen. This single comment shouldn’t be taken out of context to suggest she’s “against women” or anything of the sort. In Bond’s case, it simply doesn’t make sense to gender swap.
However, we’d love to see a man of color play the next Bond.
Please and thank you.
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