Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator and star of the critically-acclaimed TV shows Killing Eve and Fleabag, has recently made headlines for her involvement in the upcoming James Bond film, No Time to Die. Waller-Bridge was brought on board as a screenwriter to inject her signature wit and humor into the script, a decision that was met with excitement from fans and critics alike. However, in a recent interview with The Guardian, Waller-Bridge revealed that if she were to write and direct a James Bond film of her own, it would not conform to the traditional Bond formula, which she believes can be “a bit misogynistic.”
Waller-Bridge’s comments are not entirely surprising, given her track record of creating complex, flawed female characters who defy gender stereotypes. Both Killing Eve and Fleabag have been praised for their portrayal of women who are multi-dimensional, complicated, and unapologetically themselves. Waller-Bridge has always been vocal about her desire to see more diversity and nuance in mainstream media, and it’s clear that she has brought those same values to her work on No Time to Die.
In the past, the James Bond franchise has been criticized for its treatment of women, who are often reduced to mere objects of desire or damsels in distress. The character of 007 himself is typically depicted as a womanizing, hard-drinking, gun-toting hero who always gets the girl and saves the day. While there have been attempts to modernize the franchise in recent years – such as casting Daniel Craig as a more brooding, introspective Bond – the underlying misogyny of the series has remained largely unchanged.
Waller-Bridge’s vision for a Bond film would likely challenge these conventions by placing women at the center of the narrative. “There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not [the franchise] is relevant now,” she told The Guardian. “I think that’s bollocks. I think it’s absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow. It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn’t have to. He needs to be true to this character.”
In other words, Waller-Bridge is not suggesting that Bond himself needs to become more woke or politically correct. Rather, she is advocating for the female characters in the film to be given more agency and depth than they have traditionally been afforded. This could mean anything from casting a woman as the lead (something that has yet to happen in the Bond franchise) to exploring more nuanced relationships between male and female characters.
It’s worth noting that Waller-Bridge’s comments should not be seen as a condemnation of the James Bond franchise as a whole. As she herself acknowledges, the series has been an cultural icon for over fifty years, and has had a significant impact on popular culture. However, it’s important to recognize that the franchise is not without its flaws, and that there is room for improvement.
In addition to her work on No Time to Die, Waller-Bridge has made a name for herself as an advocate for female empowerment and gender equality both on and off screen. She has spoken openly about the challenges of being a female writer and director in a male-dominated industry, and has used her platform to champion the #MeToo movement and other social causes.
Given her track record, it’s clear that Waller-Bridge is not afraid to take risks or challenge the status quo. If she were to direct her own James Bond film, it’s likely that she would do so with the same fearless, uncompromising approach that she brings to all of her work. And while it’s unclear whether or not Waller-Bridge will ever get the chance to helm a Bond flick of her own, her comments have already sparked an important conversation about the role of women in the franchise, and what changes need to be made in order for it to remain relevant and impactful in the years to come.
In the end, Waller-Bridge’s comments remind us that good storytelling has the power to break down barriers and challenge our assumptions about the world around us. As she told The Guardian, “I just want to make sure that when they get those pages through, that Lashana [Lynch], Léa [Seydoux], and Ana [de Armas] open them and go, ‘I can’t believe we’re doing this.’ And it’s not in the sense of, ‘Isn’t it great? Look at these amazing opportunities.’ It’s, ‘Why has it taken so long?’” With women like Waller-Bridge at the helm, it’s clear that the future of Hollywood is in good hands.