Even if James Bond doesn’t seem to age onscreen, not all Bond films do well with time, especially 1965’s “Thunderball” and 1964’s “Goldfinger.”
The latest Bond director Cary Fukunaga discussed what it’s like ushering a Casanova character into a #MeToo-era Hollywood in a new Hollywood Reporter interview published Wednesday.
“Is it ‘Thunderball’ or ‘Goldfinger’ where, like, basically Sean Connery’s character rapes a woman?” Fukunaga said. “She’s like ‘No, no, no,’ and he’s like, ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ That wouldn’t fly today.”
The “No Time to Die” director seems to refer to a scene in “Thunderball” where Connery’s character uses his strength to trap nurse Patricia Fearing (Molly Peters) into kissing him and tells her “I suppose my silence could have a price,” insinuating if she sleeps with him, he’ll agree not to tell her boss information that could get her fired. In “Goldfinger,” there’s a scene where Connery’s bond and Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) tussle in a barn before Bond seemingly forces himself on top of her.
The Bond films have long received criticism for their problematic portrayal of women, not to mention the character’s history of sexism and misogyny.
“You can’t change Bond overnight into a different person. But you can definitely change the world around him and the way he has to function in that world,” Fukanaga said. “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.”
Bond has been around since 1962 and actors like Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton have portrayed him. Daniel Craig took over the role in 2006 with “Casino Royale.”
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Craig’s final turn as Bond in “No Time to Die” aims to overturn the negative archetype.
“No Time to Die,” but rather a counterpart played by Lashana Lynch, who made history as the franchise’s first Black female 007 Nomi. But even Lynch had reservations about taking on the role.
In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar last year, she recalled initially hesitating to join the film, wanting to ensure that her character would accurately portray the life of a Black woman and not get lost “behind the man.” After meeting with director Fukunaga, producer Barbara Broccoli and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the actress felt confident she would be able to portray a believable, non-two-dimensional person.
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“Cary had big discussions with Barbara and Daniel about how to give the female characters equity, how to keep them in charge of themselves, how to give them solo moments where the audience learns who they are,” Lynch told the Hollywood Reporter in the Wednesday interview.
Lynch’s original hesitations about joining the franchise were eventually eased.
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