If you thought James Bond couldn’t get any worse, buckle up, because EON ain’t done yet. In an interview with The Guardian, 007 producer Barbara Broccoli was asked about the next actor to play the world’s most famous spy, and while there’s no answer on that score yet, she did talk a bit about how Bond is going to be further modernized.
“Daniel gave us the ability to mine the emotional life of the character … and also the world was ready for it. I think these movies reflect the time they are in, and there’s a big, big road ahead reinventing it for the next chapter and we haven’t even begun with that.”
Swell. Because it wasn’t enough to see James Bond be mostly disinterested in women, shot down by the ones he did try to get, have his 007 number taken from him and assigned to someone else (who gave it back for the last five minutes of the movie as a pat on the head), lose his charm, bemoan Western imperialism like a Berkeley student, and ultimately… well, if you’ve seen the end of No Time to Die, you know what I mean here. But according to Barbara Broccoli, we’re just getting started, because Bond has more modernizing to do. I don’t know where else they can go with this; maybe he wears skinny jeans, vapes, and asks for permission to talk to the new Bond Girl. But I can already hear a bunch of “James Bond fans” contorting whatever they can find on Wikipedia so they can argue that, ack-shoo-uh-lee, this version is the closest to Ian Fleming’s novels yet. (You know, the books they say were racist and misogynistic, not that they’ve ever read them.)
This is stuff we already knew; Barbara Broccoli has been threatening this since the end of No Time to Die (while the co-owner of the franchise, her half-brother Michael G. Wilson, sits in the corner twiddling his thumbs till the next check arrives). But she says something else in this piece that demonstrates what little understanding she has of the cultural legacy that was handed to her by her father:
“‘I go back to GoldenEye when everyone was saying “the cold war is over, the wall is over, Bond is dead, no need for Bond, the whole world’s at peace and now there’s no villains” – and boy was that wrong!’ she said, adding that modernisation is necessary whenever a new actor plays the part.”
What made Goldeneye work so well was that it didn’t modernize James Bond; it dropped James Bond into the modern world and watched as he kicked its ass. Sexual harassment was brought up and laughed off because we know all women want Bond, and the movie doesn’t pretend otherwise; Goldeneye is full of tough, assertive modern women (which the series was never bereft of, despite what idiots and liars would have you believe), and they all fell for Bond in one way or another. He didn’t change, and underneath the veneer, neither did the Bond Girls. The Cold War was over, so alliances shifted, but new threats emerged, and Bond treated them the same way he treated any villain he’s ever faced: by ruthlessly eliminating them. Even during the Cold War, Bond’s enemies were usually third parties seeking to take advantage of the conflict, like evil billionaires, smugglers, or SPECTRE. (And, as with Bond himself, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were handed back SPECTRE after a protracted legal dispute and promptly destroyed it like idiots.) The point is, no evolution was necessary; this is a smoke screen for going ultra-woke with James Bond, which I’m sure they’re going to do. Our only hope now is to wait till these two get tired of James Bond and hand it off, hopefully to someone who actually likes and understands him.
But seriously, aren’t you glad we’re past cringe stuff like Die Another Day, where James Bond traveled to exotic locations, fought bad guys to the death on a burning plane, and had sex with Halle Berry and Rosamund Pike? Talk about embarrassing, right?