Much buzz has been made out of “Fleabag” Emmy winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge joining the James Bond tentpole “No Time to Die” to punch up the script. Skeptics have claimed the film’s producers wanted a “woke” James Bond but “No Time to Die” director told The Hollywood Reporter that’s not the case at all. Even before Waller-Bridge joined, Fukunaga was adamant about “changing the world around” Bond to bring the franchise into a more progressive place.
“Is it ‘Thunderball’ or ‘Goldfinger’ where, like, basically Sean Connery’s character rapes a woman?” Fukunaga said. “She’s like ‘No, no, no,’ and he’s like, ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ That wouldn’t fly today.”
Fukunaga continued, “I think that’s the expectation, a female writing very strong female roles, but that’s something [producer] Barbara [Broccoli] wanted already. From my very first conversations with [Broccoli], that was a very strong drive. You can’t change Bond overnight into a different person. But you can definitely change the world around him and the way he has to function in that world. It’s a story about a white man as a spy in this world, but you have to be willing to lean in and do the work to make the female characters more than just contrivances.”
Lashana Lynch makes her Bond debut in “No Time to Die” as 00 agent Nomi, rumored to now be carrying the 007 moniker. The actress told THR that the film’s mission was to “give the female characters equity” and not just radically change who James Bond is from top to bototm.
“Cary had big discussions with Barbara and Daniel [Craig] about how to give the female characters equity, how to keep them in charge of themselves, how to give them solo moments where the audience learns who they are,” Lynch said. “It was really important to empower the female characters as stand-alones. And I think that he kept that in mind throughout the whole shoot.
“I didn’t feel like Nomi, as a young Black woman, was constantly standing behind the white guy, which, for me, is job done,” Lynch added. “And that was a very conscious decision for Cary.”
“No Time to Die” will open in U.S. theaters October 8.