Writer-actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge has once again made it clear that her gender played no role in her hiring as one of the writers on No Time to Die. The 34-year-old actor, who has been getting critical praise for her show Fleabag, was earlier this year roped in to polish the film’s script. There was speculation that she was hired to make the film more inclusive, specifically to improve the portrayal of women in Bond movies.
The 007 series is often criticised for its macho world and its skewed gender politics. According to The Guardian, at a session in Southbank Centre, Waller-Bridge said she is not the first woman writer on a Bond film.
“I think the very first Bond film there was, but not since. But that didn’t really come into the conversation. That’s only really the press that have made that thing, in terms of me being a woman, you can see it is a button-pressing thing,” she said.
Irish screenwriter Johanna Harwood had served as writer on two Sean Connery-led James Bond movies — Dr. No (1962) and From Russia with Love (1963). Waller-Bridge said she was not approached to help the makers with the portrayal of the film’s “ladies”.
“The reality was I got a call from (producer) Barbara (Broccoli) and Daniel (Craig) saying, ‘We like your work, can you come in and help us?’. There wasn’t ever really a conversation about can you come in and help us with ‘the ladies’,” she said.
“They are proper, amazing producers and writers and actors and suddenly they are reduced to those people? They said, ‘It will be your take, can you come aboard and help us polish the script?’ The characters were there, the story was there, it was just really exciting to be a part of it. There was a bunch of writers, I was a small contribution to this thing,” she added.
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In a recent interview, Craig, who plays the suave spy for the fifth and final time, got irked when he was asked whether Waller-Bridge was hired to make the franchise more inclusive. “Look, we’re having a conversation about Phoebe’s gender here, which is f***ing ridiculous. She’s a great writer. Why shouldn’t we get Phoebe onto Bond?,” he had told Sunday Times.
No Time to Die, the 25th film in Bond series and played by Daniel Craig for the fifth time, will meet with the fiction spy after he has left active service but is called back into action by an old friend. Directed by Cary Fukunaga, the film also features Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Ana De Armas and Lashana Lynch.
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