How A Female Bond Could Help Redefine The James Bond Franchise In The Best Possible Way
Bond, Jane Bond. It has a nice ring to it, right? A lot of people seem to think so based on the latest Internet fervor over the thought of the first female James Bond — or, Jane Bond, if you will — being the one to take over for Daniel Craig's James Bond. Though there have been many actresses named as potential dream candidates, the latest actress to express her interest in taking on the role of James Bond is none other than Emilia Clarke, otherwise known as Daenerys Targaryen on Game Of Thrones, a character who is definitely nothing to mess with. Clarke told the U.K. newspaper The Daily Star she has "a lot of unrealized dreams," one being Bond. But, she's also interested in reversing the roles and even has an idea of who could be her Bond boy: Leonardo DiCaprio. This is in addition to the numerous other woman who have expressed their interest in the role before: In an interview with Complex released in May, Quantico's Priyanka Chopra says she gets the Bond girl question all the time, "But f*ck that — I wanna be Bond." Recently, Dana Scully herself, Gillian Anderson, also put her hat in the ring, posting a fan-made mock-up of the Skyfall poster, which had her replacing Craig. Her hashtag seems to say it all: #NextBond.
There has, too, been a long list of men who have been rumored to be the one who will drink his martini, shaken not stirred: Tom Hiddleston, Homeland's Damien Lewis, and Idris Elba (who would be the first black Bond, if cast). But, it's time for a female Bond, not only because she would be a certifiable badass, but also because she could help redefine the franchise.
In her pitch to be given a license to kill, Clarke mentions something interesting — besides the fact that she wants Leo as her Bond guy. It's her idea that casting a woman would be a "role reversal," which makes me think — perhaps this should be treated as Bond's redefining moment. While no one seems to be over Bond just yet, we may want to rethink not only the gender of Bond, but who Bond is in 2016.
Casting a woman, a "Jane Bond," shouldn't just be a fun way to play with the name or change how Bond looks, it should be a chance to remake the character in a way that speaks true to where we are now in the world. Specifically, in terms of women's rights. Women are powerful and in charge, sure, but often times in the workplace, it's no secret that they're not treated the same way men are. Jane Bond may not be seen battling issues like gender pay inequality and the glass ceiling on screen, but that doesn't mean she can't fight back against things that stand as metaphors for these obstacles real woman fight every day. We need to see that in a film starring a female Bond — one that includes everything from her fighting against inequalities to how she got to her role in the first place. The origin story seems easy when Bond's just another white male, but as a woman, how she became 007 needs to be part of the story.
Bond films so often use sex as weapon both in and against 007's favor, but having a female Bond using her sex appeal as a way to fight off the bad guys would seem antiquated — so casting Jane would be an opportunity to change that as well. I'm not saying she can't be sexy, but Jane Bond's skills can't just lie in the fact that she is a good-looking woman who's wearing a low-cut gown. Jane can't just fall into the Bond trap where men can do anything, but women have to do it in heels and something that hugs their curves. She needs to be a well-rounded character who isn't coasting on her looks, lest it become a male's fantasy on what a secret agent would look like. This needs to be constructed as a female empowerment story.
Lastly, casting a female Bond can't just be a way to make the Internet happy or to make a point that Bond is more progressive than other action movie franchises. It needs to be taken seriously. This is a chance to create a strong female hero, unlike what we've seen. I can only hope that when Skyfall and Spectre director Sam Mendes explained how the next Bond would be chosen at the Hay Festival of literature in Wales in May — by saying it would go in a "slightly unexpected direction" and "will not be what you expect" — he understood exactly this.
Let's just hope this unexpected choice lives up to our expectations of how important change can be for Bond's future.
Image: Paramount Pictures; Giphy