Daniel Craig is getting excited about the 2020 release of his next James Bond movie, “No Time to Die,” but don’t ask the actor about the hiring of Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The “Fleabag” Emmy winner was hired to punch up the script written by director Cary Fukunaga and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns (which itself was an expansion of an early draft written by Bond veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade), but anyone assuming Waller-Bridge was brought on board to make the franchise a more inclusive place in front of and behind the camera is mistaken. The question was posed to Craig in an interview with The Sunday Times (via Yahoo), prompting a furious response from the actor.
“Look, we’re having a conversation about Phoebe’s gender here, which is fucking ridiculous,” Craig said. “She’s a great writer. Why shouldn’t we get Phoebe onto Bond?”
Craig pushed back as the reporter asked whether Waller-Bridge’s hire was made to drag Bond into a more representative era. “I know where you’re going, but I don’t actually want to have that conversation,” the actor said. “I know what you’re trying to do, but it’s wrong. It’s absolutely wrong. She’s a fucking great writer. One of the best English writers around. I said, ‘Can we get her on the film?’ That’s where I came from.”
“She’s just brilliant,” Craig added. “I had my eye on her ever since the first ‘Fleabag,’ and then I saw ‘Killing Eve’ and what she did with that and just wanted her voice. It is so unique — we are very privileged to have her on board.”
During an interview with Deadline published in May, Waller-Bridge herself shut down the idea that her hiring would somehow turn Bond into a feminist. “There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not [the Bond franchise] is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women. I think that’s bollocks,” she said. “I think he’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.”
“No Time to Die” will open in U.S. theaters April 8 following its April 3 debut in the United Kingdom.