In this day and age, entertainment has had to deal with satisfying certain watchwords as “diversity” and “representation.” That simply means trying to put in characters of more varied backgrounds than the old default of “white Caucasian” and “predominantly male.” Examples of such efforts can be found in an African-American Spider-Man (Miles Morales) alongside the original (Peter Parker), who originally debuted in Marvel Comics before headlining his own animated film in 2018.
One franchise character that has not been “diversified” to this day is British secret agent James Bond 007. But while the producers of his films are interested in the idea of giving Bond a “race-lift,” changing the character’s gender is a bridge too far.
CNN reports that Barbara Broccoli, longtime producer of the “James Bond” films via Eon Productions, has shot down any serious discussion of making the suave British super-spy into a female. This comes in the wake of the upcoming premiere of “No Time to Die,” the latest Bond movie and the last with Daniel Craig in the role. His impending retirement as 007 has reinvigorated speculation that the next star to step into the role could be a woman, as every set of Bond films under different actors are considered “soft reboots” of the franchise.
While Broccoli does not approve of a cross-gender casting for the Bond character, she is more amenable to seeing a person of color take up the role in the future. “He can be of any color, but he is male,” she says in that vein, adding that rather than taking an established male character and turning it female, it would be better for creators to develop new female characters that are strong in their own right, not have them embody the original male character’s strength.
On the subject of a non-white actor playing James Bond on the big screen, the most-rumored name for that casting is African-British actor Idris Elba, famous in the mainstream for being in the MCU and “Pacific Rim.” Elba however has not made any commitments to the role, and has stated in interview on Vanity Fair last year that the casting of Agent 007 must be merit-based. “James Bond is a hugely coveted, iconic, beloved character, that takes audiences on this massive escapism journey,” he says.
“No Time to Die” stars Daniel Craig in his swan song as Bond, Rami Malek as the antagonist, and supporting cast in Ralph Fiennes, Rory Kinnear, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Lea Seydoux and Jeffrey Wright. The movie premieres April 2020. Barbara Broccoli is the daughter of Albert R. Broccoli, founder of “James Bond” production company Eon Productions with Harry Saltzman.
Image from NY Daily News