Bond 25 writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge says that she wants to make sure that the movie treats women well - even if the main character doesn't. Currently riding the high of the critically-acclaimed second season of her comedy series Fleabag, Waller-Bridge also developed the spy series Killing Eve for TV, and was brought onboard to punch up the dialogue for the 25th James Bond movie.
Set to be directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective), Bond 25 has already begun production, though filming was recently delayed by two weeks after star Daniel Craig injured his ankle while filming. Léa Seydoux is set to reprise her role from Spectre, and the movie's cast will also include Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) and Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049).
Speaking to Deadline (via /Film), Waller-Bridge addressed the argument that Bond is, as M once put it, a "sexist, misogynist dinosaur" and a "relic of the Cold War" who is no longer relevant in the 21st century. Waller-Bridge dismissed the idea that there's no room for a character like Bond any more, explaining that the character himself doesn't need to suddenly become a feminist in order for the film to treat its female characters well:
"There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not [the Bond franchise] is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women. I think that’s bollocks. I think he’s absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow. It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn’t have to. He needs to be true to this character."
Waller-Bridge's writing has been praised for embracing messy and flawed women, with her own character in Fleabag season 1 lamenting to her sister that they're "bad feminists" after admitting they'd trade five year of their life for the perfect body. Meanwhile, Killing Eve centers on a psychopathic female assassin who is charming despite her complete lack of morals. Waller-Bridge went on to explain that her priority when working on the script was ensuring that the Bond 25 actresses would be excited about acting out their scenes:
"I just want to make sure that when they get those pages through, that Lashana, Léa and Ana open them and go, ‘I can’t wait to do that.’ As an actress, I very rarely had that feeling early in my career. That brings me much pleasure, knowing that I’m giving that to an actress."
Bond 25 has had a troubled path to the big screen, with director Danny Boyle departing the project due to creative differences and Craig famously joking that he'd rather slit his wrists than play the character again. Still, if Waller-Bridge can give the movie's female characters a script that makes them excited to film their scenes every day, perhaps she can do the same for Craig as well.
- James Bond 25 (2020) release date: Apr 08, 2020