Lashana Lynch is the first female to play agent 007 in the James Bond franchise – even it was only a temporary appointment in No Time to Die – but she doesn’t believe a woman should take over the iconic role.
She told The Independent that instead of clamouring for a female to play James Bond, film-makers should be striving to create female characters with the same magnitude as Ian Fleming’s creation.
Londoner Lashana is grateful for the likes of Jodie Whittaker’s trailblazing performance in Doctor Who, qualifying her comment: “But if we constantly say, ‘Woman, you are now taking over a man’s role’ instead of establishing our own rightful position in this space then we are not doing right by our sex.”
She added: “And we’re teaching our young girls that we can only be a replacement, that we are not good enough to have our own space, which is bizarre to me … It’s a mind-mess that I don’t want to teach my daughter, nor will I. I don’t know why we’re being so complacent in these conversations. I think it’s lazy for us to think a woman can just take over a role and feel like that’s good enough.”
The thoughts of Lashana, who plays Nomi/007 in No Time to Die, are echoed by James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, who told Radio Times: “The answer to that is very simple. 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?”
James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli is also on the same page. In 2020 she told Variety: “James Bond can be of any colour, but he is male.”
She added: “I believe we should be creating new characters for women – strong female characters. I’m not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think women are far more interesting than that.”
How about a film based around Miss Moneypenny, for example?
No Time to Die is in cinemas in the UK and US now.
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Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.