Danny Boyle To Make A Feminist James Bond
Last week Danny Boyle confirmed he will direct the next James Bond film which will be the last instalment with Daniel Craig as 007.
The filmmaker announced that he and long time collaborator John Hodge, who scripted Trainspotting, were working on the screenplay for Bond 25 promising to modernise the franchise.
Although he is keeping his cards close to his chest stating he would be ‘a fool’ if he revealed any spoilers, Boyle did add that the series will evolve to address the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement when it comes to the role of women.
When asked by Page Six about the portrayal of women in the upcoming film, Boyle replied:
You write in real time. You acknowledge the legacy of the world of Bond and you write in the world – but you also write in the modern world as well.
Although Boyle still kept things vague, it appears that Bond will finally meet his match in female form after decades of being labelled misogynistic and sexist.
But just how feminist can James Bond be?
First created by author Ian Fleming in 1953, super spy Bond has been a key character in British culture appearing in novels, comic books, video games and most predominantly films.
A complex character of his time, throughout Fleming’s books Bond expressed sexist attitudes which often bled into the film adaptations.
Although the situation has certainly improved over the years, it could be argued the sexual politics of Bond films are still outdated with 007 yet to meet his female equal, the subject of consent being inappropriately addressed and the female characters being reduced to arm candy.
Numerous times Bond has taken advantage of vulnerable women including threatening Rosie Carver at gunpoint in 1973’s Live and Let Die and attempting to beat a confession out of Tatiana Romanova in 1963’s From Russia With Love.
More recently in Spectre, Bond infamously seduces Monica Bellucci’s Lucia only moments after her husband’s funeral, a man 007 murdered himself.
The team behind 2012’s Skyfall were also criticised for the treatment of Sévérine, a former sex slave abused as a child who Bond quickly seduced only seconds after finding out.
The response towards the treatment of this character’s death was also negative being shot dead with a glass of whisky resting on her head during a game.
Daniel Craig’s Bond cruelly responded with the quip ‘waste of good scotch’ which to many indicated that the women in his life, and therefore the films, were simply expendable and merely sex objects.
In many ways Judi Dench’s M was a rare character in the Bond series as a female who mentored 007 rather than slept with him.
Standing up on her own, Dench’s M was righteous, strong, independent and in many ways maternal, a powerful female character unlike any we have seen in Bond before.
The sense of balance Dench’s M brought with her character is dearly missed from the franchise and we need someone to bring it back.
Hopefully Boyle will have the answer to this with his film but making Bond reflect the #MeToo movement will be tricky.
That is because Bond is not a hero for the era of Time’s Up coming from a world where heroes in tuxedos go around shooting people, drinking martinis and seducing scantily clad women to later just throw them aside.
Unfortunately you have to stay true to the world of the character meaning Boyle will be unable to completely flip things but nor should he.
One of the more intriguing aspects of Bond is his dark side and although we do not always approve of his behaviour, it is a key part of his character staying true to the original literature.
Importantly his treatment of women does provoke discussion in some ways drawing attention to many of the issues #MeToo and Time’s Up are addressing.
Maybe we have to accept that Bond is never going to be the clean cut feminist hero some of us want him to be and this is the way it should be.
However, under Boyle’s direction hopefully Bond 25 will see interesting, powerful and strong female characters who have earned their place in the franchise not just the opportunity to see Bond’s bedsheets.
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