A woke James Bond? Seriously?
Daniel Craig will be starring in Bond 25. However, more than happy, his fans are worried. They can't be blamed, can they? How do you make an iconic character known for his misogyny and chauvinism relevant in the world of #MeToo and Time's Up? It'd be interesting to see how Danny Boyle, who is helming the project, messes with decades of ultra-masculinist Bond culture.
Bond 25 being written 'for the modern world'
Craig, who will play the fictional MI6 agent for a fifth time, says the new film will be in keeping with the current cultural climate. "I've been trying to do that (change Bond's image) gently for the past four movies and I'll continue to do that," he told People on Monday. Boyle also commented that Bond 25 was being written "for the modern world".
Decades of monetizing violence and misogyny
Judi Dench's M once described Bond as a "sexist, misogynist dinosaur," celebrated for ruthless womanizing and saving the world. As for Bond girls, Ursula Andress's Honey Ryder set the template in the 1962 film Dr. No: gorgeous women with silly names clad in skimpy clothes meant to be seduced and eventually killed, a trope unimaginatively exploited by the 007 franchise in film after film.
Women empowerment the 007 way
The filmmakers' claims of taking steps to transform Bond girls into "strong, independent women" a la #MeToo, shouldn't be taken seriously. Remember Monica Bellucci's role in Spectre? The film's director Sam Mendes had called it "revolutionary". But just like any other Bond girl, she was used and seduced for information. Turned out Mendes's idea of revolutionary was having a mature woman in the film.
If we can have woman superhero, why not female Bond?
Meanwhile, social media has been abuzz that a woman should essay Bond next. In 2016, when asked if wanted to play a Bond girl, Priyanka Chopra said, "I get that all the time. But fuck that. I wanna be Bond." Rosamund Pike, who starred in Die Another Day, recently said Bond girl deserves her own series, an "unexpected, unapologetic, kick-ass, amazing female agent."
Making James Bond behave will be no mean feat
As ridiculous as the idea of a woke Bond is, if it's to thrive, it will have to challenge the very prejudice and sexism it has based its construct on. Just sanitizing violence and sadism won't help. The next Bond film will release in November 2019. Now that Boyle, Craig have taken up the mantle, there's time to get it right, or horribly wrong.