This week’s buzz about whether actress Gillian Anderson should play a female version of James Bond caused a lot of fans to complain about click bait and political correctness.
But the media attention concerning “Jane Bond” may show something else — continuing interest in women spies.
There have been attempts at a woman spy movie series. Eon Productions, maker of the 007 films, tried to develop a spinoff movie featuring Halle Berry’s Jinx character from Die Another Day. But in the end, no movie occurred.
In 2010, Angelina Jolie starred in Salt, which had worldwide box office of $293.5 million. The film had an ending that left things open for a sequel but none has taken place. Sony Pictures is developing a television series version, Screen Daily said in February.
In 2015, the movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. included Alicia Vikander as a British spy, Gaby Teller, who wasn’t a character in the original 1964-68 television series.
Thus, Solo and Illya became Solo, Illya and Gaby. Vikander got good reviews, but the movie limped home with worldwide box office of $109.9 million, pretty much killing any chance of a sequel.
On the other hand, Jennifer Garner’s Alias television series ran more than 100 episodes from 2001-2006.
In the 007 films, women spies have been a major part of the proceedings for decades.
Bond has allied himself with women agents from the Soviet Union (The Spy Who Loved Me), United States (Moonraker), China (Tomorrow Never Dies) the U.S. again (Die Another Day) and Bolivia (Quantum of Solace) . 2012’s Skyfall provided a new take on Moneypenny, in which the Naomie Harris version is initially an MI6 agent.
In these risk-adverse days, studios may want to check out properties such as the comic strip Modesty Blaise, the subject of a 1966 movie.
Anyway, we were reminded by reader Stuart Basinger that back when the film rights to Casino Royale were first acquired (years before Eon Productions was formed), producer-director Gregory Ratoff wanted to change James Bond into a woman. Ratoff wanted to cast Susan Hayward in the role. Screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. worked on the project and described it in a 2012 article in Variety.
What prompted this post was a comment from a reader, @CinemaOnFire on Twitter. So, as a shoutout, we present that tweet:
— Lisa Funnell (@CinemaOnFire) May 24, 2016
Filed under: James Bond Films, The Other Spies | Tagged: "Jane Bond", Alias, Angelina Jolie, Die Another Day, Gillian Anderson, Halle Berry, Jennifer Garner, Jinx, Modesty Blaise, Moonraker, Quantum of Solace, Salt, Skyfall, The Spy Who Loved Me, Tomorrow Never Dies | Leave a comment »