Past portrayals of James Bond may shake, rather than stir, audiences in the #MeToo era.
Filmmaker Cary Fukunaga — who directed the latest film in the franchise, “No Time To Die” — spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about adapting the iconic, world-traveling womanizer into a character more palatable for modern audiences.
And Fukunaga had no problem saying exactly why 007 needed to be steered away from his misogynistic past.
“Is it ‘Thunderball’ or ‘Goldfinger’ where, like, basically Sean Connery’s character rapes a woman?” Fukunaga asked the magazine. “She’s like ‘No, no, no,’ and he’s like, ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ That wouldn’t fly today.”
Yet Fukunaga — who brought in Phoebe Waller-Bridge of “Fleabag” fame as co-writer on the film — is aware that a woke-Bond makeover wouldn’t be embraced by fans of the franchise, either.
“You can’t change Bond overnight into a different person,” he told the entertainment outlet. “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.”
It’s not just Connery-era Bond: The original character, as written by author Ian Fleming, had a prominent misogynist streak.
While female characters in the Bond universe may be getting more depth, it’s unlikely that a woman will actually play the iconic spy.
Bond franchise executive producer Barbara Broccoli told the Guardian in 2018 that “Bond is male.”
“He’s a male character. He was written as a male and I think he’ll probably stay as a male,” Broccoli said then. “And that’s fine. We don’t have to turn male characters into women. Let’s just create more female characters and make the story fit those female characters.”
“No Time To Die” star Daniel Craig echoed that sentiment in a recent interview with Radio Times magazine.
When Craig was asked if he would support “a more diverse appointment as his replacement” — like, a woman or a person of color, he replied: “The answer to that is very simple. There should simply be better parts for women and actors of color. Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, for a woman?”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.