British pop culture just had a watershed moment for one of its most iconic characters last night with Jodie Whittaker’s debut as the first female Doctor in Doctor Who. But one British institution will probably stay the way it’s always been. At least, for the foreseeable future.
James Bond, who has been portrayed by a similar revolving door of changing actors, will probably remain the same womanizing male spy who was first introduced in 1953. Despite some demands for a female James Bond, executive producer and one of the keepers of the Bond legacy, Barbara Broccoli, confirmed that there are no plans to cast a woman as 007.
“Bond is male,” Broccoli said in an interview with The Guardian. “He’s a male character. He was written as a male and I think he’ll probably stay as a male.”
Though the James Bond franchise is going through a small upheaval with the hiring of Asian-American director Cary Joji Fukunaga to helm the 25th entry in the long-running espionage series, Broccoli says we shouldn’t expect a female 007 any time soon. Since current Bond Daniel Craig has announced his plans to exit the role after starring in the upcoming Bond 25, there has been chatter online demanding that the character be recast as a woman. But Broccoli says that James Bond, first introduced in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, was written as a womanizing male spy “so there’s certain things in [Bond’s] DNA that are probably not gonna change.”
“Let’s just create more female characters and make the story fit those female characters,” she adds.
Though Broccoli’s blunt response is sure to incur some outrage online, I honestly think she’s got a point. Bond is a product of the sexist outlooks of the ’50s, and wouldn’t translate well into a female character. Unlike Doctor Who, where the character is written to change dramatically with each new actor, James Bond has more or less remained the same for the past 50 years. And like Broccoli suggests, why not create new roles for women instead of hand-me-downs?
As for within the Bond franchise, Broccoli instead aims to focus the more nuanced depictions of female characters on the supporting roles, such as the expanded role of recurring character, Moneypenny, given a bold update in the Craig films by Naomie Harris. Broccoli said:
“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.
Craig is set to close out his run as James Bond in the upcoming Bond 25 set to hit theaters on February 14, 2020.
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