The world has come a long way since the first James Bond movies hit the big screen.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, “No Time to Die” director Cary Fukunaga talks about how he and his team worked to update the franchise for a post-#MeToo world.
“Is it ‘Thunderball’ or ‘Goldfinger’ where, like, basically Sean Connery’s character rapes a woman?” Fukunaga asks. “She’s like ‘No, no, no,’ and he’s like, ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ That wouldn’t fly today.”
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The director was likely referring to the 1965 film “Thunderball”, in which Connery’s iteration of Bond forcibly kisses a nurse played by Molly Peters. Later, extorts the nurse into sex, telling her, “I suppose my silence could have a price.”
Peters’ character backs away from him, saying, “You don’t mean… oh, no,” as Bond advances on her, responds, “Oh, yes,” and pushes her into a sauna before taking off her clothes.
After “Fleabag” creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge was brought on to work on the “No Time to Die” script, many speculated that she had been hired to make Bond reflect the post-#MeToo era, but Fukunaga says that wasn’t the case.
“I think that’s the expectation, a female writing very strong female roles, but that’s something (producer Barbara Broccoli) wanted already,” he explains. “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.”
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Broccoli adds, “I think people are coming around — with some kicking and screaming — to accepting that stuff is no longer acceptable. Thank goodness. Bond is a character who was written in 1952 and the first film [Dr. No] came out in 1962. He’s got a long history, and the history of the past is very different to the way he is being portrayed now.”
Actress Lashana Lynch, who plays a new 00 agent in the film also says, “Cary had big discussions with Barbara and Daniel 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. 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. And that was a very conscious decision for Cary.”