How do you like your James Bond? Suave and smooth, like Sean Connery? Slightly stiff but charming, like George Lazenby? Goofy and endearing, like Roger Moore? Stoic and intense, like Timothy Dalton? Quippy and action-packed, like Pierce Brosnan? Or dark and tortured, like Daniel Craig?
Something that all of those actors have in common: they’ve all been white guys, and most of them were British (Lazenby is Australian while Brosnan is an Irishman. We’ve got a Scot in Connery, a Welshman in Dalton, and two Englishmen in Moore and Craig). For those who make the major decisions regarding who gets to play 007 on screen, it’s going to stay within the male royal purview, at least for now.
That comes from producer Barbara Broccoli, head of Eon Productions. Eon has been in charge of every Bond film since the beginning (with the exception of 1967’s Casino Royale and 1983’s Never Say Never Again), with the franchise being helmed by Broccoli’s father, Cubby Broccoli, up until the production of GoldenEye. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Broccoli explained that Bond will likely stay a British man as long as she’s in charge of the production.
“I think it will be a man because I don’t think a woman should play James Bond,” Broccoli explains. “I believe in making characters for women and not just having women play men’s roles.” Broccoli appears to be taking a page out of Craig’s book when he was asked a similar question earlier this year, telling Radio Times: “There should simply be better parts for women and actors of colour. Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?”.
“I don’t think there are enough great roles for women, and it’s very important to me that we make movies for women about women,” Broccoli adds. “He should be British, so British can be any [ethnicity or race].” Broccoli also revealed that Eon has yet to officially begin the search for the next Bond, stating that the recency of No Time to Die means that the production company is in no rush to reboot the franchise.
“I want to let this film play and really celebrate Daniel’s incredible achievement that he has done over 16 years,” Broccoli says. “People always ask, ‘Oh, who’s the next James Bond?’ It’s like asking a bride as she’s going up to the altar who’s her next husband going to be. I don’t really want to think about who is going to be the next person until I absolutely have to.”
So now the rumour mill continues to turn with different names flying around. Tom Hardy? Maybe. Henry Goulding? That could be cool. Idris Elba? That ship has probably sailed, so give that man his own separate spy movie, goddamn it.
But part of the James Bond characterisation is that he’s a crotchety, old fashioned kind of spy. He drinks, he womanises, he has somewhat antiquated views on crown and country. That’s what gives him such palpable tension and chemistry with the characters around him. To quote Judi Dench’s M from GoldenEye, Bond is a “sexist, misogynistic dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War.” And that characterisation still probably has some drama left in it.