Can we get past the, “<Insert female actress’ name here> should be the next Bond.” movement?
First, are there no creative writers out there that can’t write a female spy-action movie script? Maybe they could even borrow largely from the James Bond universe. Maybe they could even convince the Eon Productions* group that it would be a viable storyline. Call her 006, 009, 0010**. Use M and Q, etc. Whatever, but in the end, it’s just relying on a long standing, cheesy, action movie series to what end? Get some actress some money and recognition of that?
Second, is that what women actresses in Hollywood really want? Why not be the first actress to play Stella Rimington’s MI5 spy, Liz Carlyle, or Michael Prescott’s FBI agent, Tess McCallum, or Greg Rucka’s agent Tara Chace? Why not do a better job at relaunching Nancy Drew? Why rely on a male spy series dating back to 1953?
As pointed out in a recent opinion piece at the WaPo:
James Bond should be played by a man because the character is a study of masculinity in a particular context. Having a woman play the premier spy in the British secret service, a character who uses her sexuality to gain information and advantage without being judged for it, and who goes to great lengths in defense of her country, would be fascinating. A performance like that would challenge assumptions for what men and women can do. But it wouldn’t explore the thing that James Bond movies are designed to explore: what’s considered desirable and admirable in a man at any given moment.
The author, Alyssa Rosenberg, is right. Create a story that explores aspects of a female spy’s life and experiences. Much like Star Trek didn’t add a female Captain Kirk, but rather they utilized the same universe but added other storylines to explore.
So let’s move on from this frivolous debate and have Hollywood consider some strong female leads of their own right.
* Eon Productions is the production company that owns the James Bond franchise – started by Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman and now Barbara Broccoli and her step-brother Michael Wilson.
** 006 is an unnamed double-oh agent in Ian Fleming’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 009 is mentioned in his Thunderball novel.