James Bond co-producer Barbara Broccoli has firmly ruled out any Dr.Who-style gender reinvention of Ian Fleming’s iconic secret agent 007 and reminded people that Bond is very much male.
In an interview given to the UK’s Guardian newspaper (published on 6th October), she also pointed out how Bond has transformed with the times and the James Bond films have become ‘much more current’ in the way women are viewed.
On the question of having a ‘female’ Bond, which appears to have become a regular weapon used by critics of the movies in recent years, the 007 producer injected some welcome common-sense into the debate. Broccoli told the newspaper: ‘Bond is male. He’s a male character. 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’.
As many 007 fans know, Barbara Broccoli has made huge efforts to promote women in the movie industry; moreover, as the Guardian noted in its interview, the Bond producer has extensive leverage and is ‘perhaps the most powerful female producer the film industry has ever seen’. She is also fiercely protective of EON, the ‘family business’. Her feminist credentials are second to none. Indeed, her portfolio of charity roles include being a Trustee of Into Film, the film education charity for young people, and an Honorary role at Women in Film and Television UK. In 2016, Broccoli was also appointed Vice-President of BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), the highly prestigious independent charity which has strived so much to create more opportunities for women in the industry’s creative arts.
As the Guardian noted, when Bond 25 starts shooting in 2019, with new director Cary Fukunaga at the helm, it will be Broccoli’s first time working with a male director for a number of years, as her last three film projects have been directed by women. The most recent is Nancy, which will be shown at the London Film Festival this coming week. The film, which stars Andrea Riseborough and was directed by Christina Choe, had a crew that was 80% female.
Bond in Context
On the question of the character of James Bond, Broccoli conceded in the Guardian interview that 007 could not be considered a feminist property, mostly because, as the EON producer pointed out, audiences tend to reference the early movies and also because the character ‘was written in the 50s, so there’s certain things in [Bond’s] DNA that are probably not gonna change’. Broccoli added: ‘But look at the way the world has changed. 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’.
Referring to recent comments by Rosamund Pike (who played double-agent Miranda Frost in Die Another Day), who has praised Broccoli for the great atmosphere created for women on the set of the Bond productions, the 007 producer commented on her own family background and EON, explaining that: ‘I was allowed to – encouraged to – grow within the company and felt very supported by my father and my brother, Michael. So I always said what thought if I didn’t like something’. She continued: ‘I am acutely aware of what actors have to go through. 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’.
Bond movie no. 25 is due to commence principal photography at Pinewood Studios on 4th March, 2019, with Daniel Craig as 007 for his fifth adventure. We’ve been expecting you, Mr. Bond. Welcome back.