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Phoebe Waller-Bridge Wants Her James Bond to “Treat Women Properly”

Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag

To say I’m obsessed with Phoebe Waller-Bridge is an understatement, but now after her comments on what she hopes to achieve with her version of James Bond, we should all be praising the brilliance that is Waller-Bridge. After an amazing second season to her show Fleabag, Waller-Bridge is the talk of the town and now all the more so, because she is the second woman in history to work on a Bond film. And of course, she has some opinions about 007.

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Deadline reports on Waller-Bridge’s recent comments on the Bond franchise; the writer and actress is credited with “polishing” the script for director Cary Fukunaga’s upcoming film. As someone who has had James Bond marathons throughout most of my childhood Thanksgivings (which, highly hilarious that that is an American thing), watching the Bond franchise as a woman has always been a rather tough adventure. Mainly because I don’t agree with how women are treated through almost every film, with the exception of Judy Dench’s new incarnation of M.

So to hear Phoebe Waller-Bridge express her excitement and her vision for the latest film gives me hope. Not only because she’s the second woman to work on a Bond screenplay (second only to Johanna Hardwood who worked on Dr. No and From Russia With Love) but because she also understands that the film can properly tackle female characters without changing who James Bond is as a character.

“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.”

James Bond is a womanizer. Always has been and always will be (with the exception of Casino Royale where he still had multiple women but “fell in love” with Vesper Lynd). I’m not asking that he change his ways and this aspect of his characterization. Like Waller-Bridge puts it, however, it’s totally reasonable that the movie has the responsibility to treat women respectfully even if James Bond doesn’t.

Here’s the thing about James Bond: He loves deeply and then moves on which is both a reflection of his dedication to the job and how he views women. Maybe he thinks they’ll be fine in his absence or maybe he just sees them as passing pleasures, but whatever the case is, it isn’t the best situation for women in the movies or for audiences watching. That doesn’t mean that the women in the film have to be thought of as victims of Bond’s charms without having their own arcs. I believe this is the point that Waller-Bridge is making. If the women can be shown to have their own agency and ambitions beyond a Bond fling, all the better for everyone involved.

And to know that there is a mastermind like Phoebe Waller-Bridge behind the upcoming movie gives me a little hope that these women will not be diminished to just being the “eye candy” of the film. Sure, many of us grew up wanting to be a Bond girl but that doesn’t mean we want a man to treat us like a Bond girl.

No matter what the plot has in store, I’m extremely excited about Bond 25 because it brings together Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Cary Fukunaga, so we’re surely in for a treat.

(via Deadline, image: Amazon Prime Video)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.