Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at 7:37 AM

Female James Bond Is Just a Cinematic Perversion of Stockholm Syndrome

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

The topic of a female playing James Bond has been trending like a bop bag over the past few years. No less a trendsetter than Vogue even ran a feature in its July 2017 issue hailing the prospect. Notably, it included myriad suggestions to sexually reassign Bond – from Jane, Jasmine, or plain J as the best first name to give her to Gillian Anderson, Thandie Newton, or Cate Blanchett as the best actress to play her.

Of course, the wonder is that any self-respecting, MeToo actress would want to ape the macho antics of this notoriously chauvinistic character. Am I the only one who thinks this smacks of Patty Hearst becoming a SLA revolutionary (think a wannabe Black Panther – of the group from California, not the hero from Wakanda)?

Granted, Daniel Craig’s Bond has come a long way, baby. This, especially from the days when Bond girls had names like Holly Goodhead, Plenty O’Toole, Octopussy, Honey Rider, Kissy Suzuki, and Pussy Galore.

It was a given that Bond would bed them, even if he had to rape them. But, evidently, their names also had to suggest they were asking for it. A subtext made all the more perverse given innuendoes indicating that some of them were lesbians.

I would also grant that casting Thandie Newton would kill two birds with one stone – appealing as she would to equally trending calls for a black James Bond. (At least this would crush actor Idris Elba’s misguided aspirations. He has been promoting himself to be the first black Bond, making a mockery of both the professional and racial pride for which he was once so well known.)

But thank God for Rachel Weisz. Because, just weeks ago, she delivered what should be a knockout punch to this bop-bagging trend.

She has intimate knowledge of what it takes to play the most socially redeeming version of Bond. Therefore, it speaks volumes that she pooh-poohed the prospect of any woman ever playing him.

Following the release of latest Bond film Spectre, a question mark surrounded whether Daniel Craig – Weisz’s husband – would return to the role of the spy in a future outing as many deemed it time for the reins to be handed to a female actor.

Weisz spoke out against this idea … stressing the importance of creating ‘roles specifically for women’ instead.

(The Independent, February 12, 2018)

The operative words are “roles specifically for women.” After all, what’s next, the female Indiana Jones? Oh right, Lara Croft in Tomb Raider already plays that role. The female Superman? Princess Diana in Wonder Woman already plays that one. Not to mention that, apples to apples, we already have this female Bond:

Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde trailer gives us the female James Bond we’ve been waiting for.

(GQ, July 28, 2017)

Alas, based on box-office receipts, you probably missed it. Still, “roles specifically for women” abound within this genre. And this is so even for a black female Bond. For the uninitiated among you, I cite “Coffy” and “Cleopatra Jones” – who were lead characters in their own eponymously named movies, respectively.

In any event, I hope Weisz’s admonition prevails. But I cannot resist noting that, in offering it, she vindicated this homage I paid to her as my favorite actress many years ago:

Rachel Weisz [is] an actress who can probably thrill me by simply reading the ingredients from my favorite cereal box on screen. …

I’ve enjoyed Rachel in a number of movies, but my cinematic infatuation was not consummated until I saw her in The Constant Gardener. This infatuation has only deepened with The Whistleblower; notwithstanding her recent marriage to Daniel Craig, a.k.a. James Bond 007 … lucky bugger.

(“‘The Whistleblower’, The iPINIONS Journal, August 5, 2011)

That said, I’ve been pooh-poohing the notion of any black ever playing Bond for years. This included dressing down the aforementioned self-promoting Elba in “A Black James Bond? No, Hell No!” December 26, 2014. Here is an excerpt – complete with an admonition for blacks to demand “roles specifically for blacks,” which Weisz is now mirroring for women.


Frankly, casting a black actor would require too much suspension of disbelief for anyone who knows anything about the zeitgeist in which Bond was born, and still thrives. To say nothing of the wanton disrespect to Fleming’s oeuvre, or the insult to reasonable expectations of existing fans, it would entail. …

I prefer to emphasize my opposition by noting that Idris Elba playing James Bond would be every bit as ludicrous as Michael Fassbender playing John Shaft, despite rumors that he might be anatomically correct for the part in at least one respect.

What’s more, I refuse to believe, and Elba should be loath to affirm, that it is so untenable for Hollywood to create iconic black characters that it has to cast black actors to play firmly established white ones. …

Instead of playing along, Elba should at least challenge Sony executives to greenlight a Bond-like character for him to play. …

Indeed, if Hollywood has become so bereft of creativity, Sony executives could turn John Luther, the detective Elba popularized on TV, into a movie star to rival James Bond or Jason Bourne. Hell, they could even introduce him as John Luther 009, the mysterious, unnamed MI6 agent Fleming refers to in Thunderball. (Contrary to popular belief, agents 001 through 007 are already named characters.)

But Elba as Bond? No, hell no!


I clearly could not have known back then that Black Panther would vindicate my admonition so spectacularly:

With $501 million in North America and $897m worldwide, Black Panther has passed Fox’s Deadpool ($363m/$783m in 2016), Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman ($413m/$821m in 2017) and Sony’s Spider-Man ($403m/$821m in 2002) to become the biggest non-sequel and non-ensemble superhero flick of all time.

(Forbes, March 5, 2018)

Enough said?

Related commentaries:
Rachel Weisz
A black bond

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