‘Jane Bond’ gets some pushback

Atomic Blonde poster

Over the past few years, there have been occasional stories suggesting this actress or that would make a great female James Bond.

Of late, there has been some pushback against that notion.

In April, Rosamund Pike told the Uproxx website she was against the idea of a female James Bond, sometimes referred to “Jane Bond.”

“I’d just say write a new story,” Pike was quoted by Uproxx. “I mean James Bond is a character that Ian Fleming created. I mean, you know of course the brand has become bigger and whatever, but take one of the Bond Girls and give her her own story. I think the character of James Bond is a man. He is really.”

Pike, of course, was in 2002’s Die Another Day. So being a former Bond woman gives Pike a platform that others don’t have in addressing the subject.

This week, a writer for Forbes.com took things a bit further.

Scott Mendelson, who writes about films and the box office they generate, said audiences haven’t supported movies with strong women characters.

His article was titled, “You Don’t Deserve A Female James Bond Or A Lady Indiana Jones.” Here’s an excerpt.

We wouldn’t need a gender swap for Indiana Jones or James Bond if you, dear moviegoers, would actually spend your time and money on the female-led action movies we already get. We actually had a pretty great female James Bond flick last summer. It was called Atomic Blonde, and most of you missed it.

Atomic Blonde’s worldwide box office totaled $95.8 million, according to Box Office Mojo. That was less than the $109.8 million for 2015’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E., widely seen as a flop. Despite that, there’s talk we may get a sequel to Atomic Blonde.

Another example cited by Mendelson was the recent Tomb Raider reboot, starring Alicia Vikander (who also appeared in the 2015 U.N.C.L.E. movie). Tomb Raider’s global box office was $272.5 million,  with $215.3 million of that coming from outside the United States.

The thing is, Mendelson isn’t a “get off my lawn” guy. Here’s one more excerpt.

When you champion gender-swapped variations of traditionally male franchises (that’s good) while ignoring the female-led movies that already exist (that’s bad), you do two things. You show Hollywood that there isn’t a “go to the theaters” interest in female-led action movies and thrillers, and you place a higher value on older white and male franchises versus newer franchises or standalone movies that began with a female lead. You essentially tell women that cosplaying as a famous white dude hero is the ultimate aspiration.

Once upon a time (as the blog was reminded by reader Stuart Basinger in 2016), when the film rights to Casino Royale were first acquired, producer-director Gregory Ratoff wanted to change James Bond into a woman.

Recent pushback against the idea suggests fans of “Jane Bond” are no closer today than in Ratoff’s time.

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Ian McKellen to Play “Goldfinger” in New Radio Production

Ian McKellen to Play “Goldfinger” in New Radio Production

Toby Stephens will voice James Bond and Rosamund Pike will play Pussy Galore in this BBC Radio 4 production that is to be a faithful dramatization of the Fleming novel.

Interesting concept with some major talent involved. Though “Goldfinger” was really one of Fleming’s weaker novels, I’m very interested to hear this version.

Tom Zielinski