The election of former reality television personality Donald Trump to the position of United States President came as quite a surprise to his opponents and many in the international media, in ways that will likely be felt for some time. Initially regarded by many (even those in his own party) as a novelty candidate, the idea of the eccentric real-estate tycoon as a viable politician had been the subject of satirical jokes in comic strips like Doonesbury and episodes of The Simpsons decades ago.
Those “jokes”, however, are no longer mere fantasy and the world of pop culture may soon better reflect so much. Case in point: the fact of a Trump presidency is being named as fiction-made-reality by yet another creative team, namely the longtime screenwriters behind the last several James Bond movies.
In an interview with The Telegraph (reported on by The Spy Command), Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, the screenwriters responsible for co-writing the last six films in the 007 movie franchise, touched on many issues of real-world geopolitical shifts that have made it difficult to maintain the Bond series’ careful balance between fantasy and reality. While the interview mentions multiple issues, including the UK’s recent vote to leave the European Union, it’s a set of quotes from Purvis about the newly sworn-in U.S. President that are now raising eyebrows:
“I’m just not sure how you would go about writing a James Bond film now.
“Each time, you’ve got to say something about Bond’s place in the world, which is Britain’s place in the world. But things are moving so quickly now, that becomes tricky. With people like (U.S. President Donald) Trump, the Bond villain has become a reality. So when they do another one, it will be interesting to see how they deal with the fact that the world has become a fantasy.”
While sure to be received as incendiary by supporters of the controversial president, it’s not hard to imagine reference-points for such a comparison that would have little to do with the onetime Celebrity Apprentice host’s actual politics. Many of Bond’s most famous enemies have been depicted as ultra-wealthy men with colorful personalities (Hugo Drax in Moonraker, Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies, Max Zorin in A View to A Kill) and a taste for unusual decor, and Trump has long framed his preference for ostentatious gold decorations and name-branded buildings and products as key components of his larger-than-life public persona. However, while tycoons of Trump’s stripe attaining (official) political power in the Western world is a common plot for the Bond series and other spy/action films, it’s typically been rare in real life.
As yet, the next James Bond film (or what direction the franchise will now take) has not been made official one way or another. Purvis and Wade are currently in production on the BBC miniseries SS-GB, which takes place in an alternate-history UK where Nazis won the Battle of Britain in WWII and now occupy the country.
We’ll bring you more details on the next James Bond film (aka. James Bond 25) as they become available.