Why The Next James Bond Should Not Be a Woman

Why The Next James Bond Should Not Be a Woman

Since we’re talking about movies, it makes perfect sense to use the perfect quote to address the issue of a woman playing James Bond – “Thank you for playing ‘Should we or should we not follow the advice of the galactically stupid!'” The next contestant is actor Golden Globe-winning actor Idris Elba who put forth the idea after someone actually paid attention to him. Look, let’s put some boundaries around certain classic movie characters such as James Bond. The latest attempt at the idea, Atomic Blonde, got fair reviews from the critics but a lukewarm review from moviegoers. One critic wrote of the movie, “It is the kind of film that’s meant to be enjoyed for its visceral thrills more than its logic.”

It’s hard to avoid injecting this second quote here by none other than Jack Nicholson (Melvin Udall) in As Good As It Gets:

Receptionist: How do you write women so well?

Melvin Udall: I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.

Of course, James Bond is all about reason and accountability, which is how he gets his 007 license to kill. A female critic wrote this about Atomic Blonde: “While it’s not a perfect female-centric spy thriller (let’s keep trying), Atomic Blonde winks to the future with exciting possibilities.” Let’s keep trying at whose expense? I was happy to see Charlize Theron take on the lead role, but the idea of a blonde with multiple weapons and minimal logic is perhaps more frenetic than efficient.

If you’re thinking this is another misogynist holding women down from reaching new heights, that is poppycock. I loved Angelina Jolie in Salt and Halle Berry in Die Another Day. I would happily make the case for Eva Green to make a go of it. This trio is capable of making a serious attempt at liberating women to include a Jane Bond, and British Prime Minister Theresa May is also in support of the idea. Yet the idea still falls short.

The recent success of the Bond franchise can largely be attributed to Daniel Craig, who has been brawnier than the Bonds before him. Rather than just be the quintessential Englishman, his physique screams for physical action — the kind we saw in his debut with Casino Royale. Wasn’t it M who said, “Any bloody fool can pull a trigger”?

Bond always has a woman he is in hot pursuit of, no matter how temporary that pursuit may be. It is part of the Bond franchise storyline. A female Bond would leave viewers with a woman in pursuit of a woman (see one scene in Atomic Blonde) or in pursuit of a man. Maybe progressive moviegoers would entertain the idea, but the real MI-6 would likely have some of their own opinions on that (but who knows?).

Consider this real world statistic: the target audience for James Bond is 12-40 year old men. It has been successful because of this target audience. Another real world reality is that movies are made to make money, and the Bond franchise has rarely, if ever, failed to do that. How many current movie franchises have endured as long as James Bond? One, Godzilla, though I haven’t seen one of their latest movies. Bond has been running since 1962 and been churning out one box office profit after another.

A final question is whether it is possible to go back to a male if it is decided a woman should take the lead role. The franchise makes a new Bond film every 2 years, almost like clockwork, so if introducing a female James Bond ends up a huge disappointment to its core target audience, will it be able to recover 2 years later? If not, it would spell the end of the franchise.

  • Actors should act.
  • Politicians should politic.
  • And James Bond should remain James Bond.

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