Will James Bond alter image amid calls for change?

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘SPECTRE': What has kept the James Bond franchise going strong?.

Britain’s Secret Intelligent Service, the spy agency better known as MI6, has launched its latest recruitment campaign looking for people with “emotional intelligence” just as the new James Bond film, Spectre, is released.

LOS ANGELES – Daniel Craig recently called his classic James Bond character a misogynist and a former Bond actress, Naomie Harris, has suggested the phrase “Bond girl” should be done away with.The upcoming James Bond movie, “SPECTRE,” will be the twenty-fourth official entry in the series, but the movie franchise about the super spy is far from showing its age. “SPECTRE” stars Daniel Craig as Bond, the actor’s fourth film in the series. It also features the return of such actors as Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, and Ben Whishaw as Bond’s colleagues behind the scenes as well as the addition of actors such as Dave Bautista, Léa Seydoux, Monica Belluci, and Christoph Waltz.

A MI6 source tells Buzzfeed: “They want people with a real passion for human interaction, understanding others, and dealing with the sometimes complex nature of human relationships.” Loners like Bond would “probably not be successful in joining SIS, if he were to apply.” British agents have always insisted that the world of 007 is pure fantasy. Craig made headlines in an interview with The Red Bulletin when he took Bond to task. “But let’s not forget that he’s actually a misogynist,” Craig said of the iconic character. “A lot of women are drawn to him chiefly because he embodies a certain kind of danger and never sticks around for too long.” And Harris told The Independent she was not happy with the term “Bond girl” and preferred “Bond woman.” “Monica (Bellucci) is 50 and I think it’s respectable to say she’s a Bond woman,” she said. “It’s quite demeaning to call her a girl. Anna, an MI6 agent, told the BBC: “If James Bond actually worked in MI6 today, he’d spend a large amount of time behind a desk doing paperwork and making sure everything was properly cleared and authorized.” Another MI6 agent, Kamal, dismissed the idea that anyone in the agency has a license to kill; agents rarely carry firearms. “We are an organization that revels in subtlety and the methods 007 employs—crash banging across cities in both hemispheres—is entirely misleading,” Kamal told The Telegraph. “We seek to operate in the shadows and we don’t like to draw attention to ourselves.” The British spying agency is also keen to diversify its workforce to better deal with more modern threats posed by terrorist groups.

I suspect the guys only agreed to see Suffragette as part of a quid pro quo with Spectre, which had its premiere at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Monday night. The deal probably went something like this: “OK, babe, I’ll sit through Carey Mulligan being force-fed to get votes for chicks if we can see James Bond getting girls and driving the Aston Martin DB10.” At first glance, the two films don’t have anything in common, except Ben Whishaw. If you are going to change it you risk the chance of people not coming back,” he said. “I don’t know if they would want to change it because it works so well. It’s all about whether or not audiences like what they are seeing and really appreciate the character.” In 2012, “Skyfall” brought in $304 million domestically, “Quantam of Solace” (2008) made $168 million and “Casino Royale” (2006) took in $167 million.

Actor George Lazenby stepped in only five movies into the series and when those who casted the movies brought on new names, the new players were sometimes actors who were already well-known and so who brought new attention to the franchise. In Spectre, which is the 24th Bond movie, the nervy, fine-boned Whishaw is Q, MI6’s resident geek whose job is to provide 007 with hot wheels and a cool watch that activates in the nick of time.

Kroll noted the franchise has skyrocketed with these past three movies starring Craig. “It’s tough to reboot that and change it all over again,” he said. “There is a certain standard now where this film is one of the biggest films of the year. For those who are interested in applying, be prepared (paywall) for silent, discreet working days where you’re “waiting around endlessly in strange places.”

Estimated by the London School of Marketing to be worth pounds 13 billion ($26 billion Cdn) to date, Brand Bond is still very much geared up for boys who love toys, but there are unmistakable signs that James is growing up. But they wouldn’t be Bond for the simple reason that wasn’t what Ian Fleming wrote,” he said in a recent interview. “It is not about being homophobic or, for that matter, racist. Bond’s boss is usually M, his gadgets will be supplied by Q, and he will spar with secretary Moneypenny (though these roles have also been played by different characters). During one chase sequence in Spectre, Bond flicks a dashboard switch labelled Atmosphere but, instead of releasing a noxious gas to stun his pursuer, it triggers easy-listening, dooby-doo on the car stereo. Sometimes these players don’t appear in the movies, but for the most part, viewers who have seen one Bond movie will recognize the supporting characters popping up in another.

That gets a laugh, but the joke is definitely on Bond, whose thuggish, shagtastic, can’t-land-a-scratch-on-him persona is stealthily undermined by Daniel Craig and director Sam Mendes. On the other hand, the newer movies have taken care not to stick only to old formulas. 2006’s “Casino Royale,” which was the first film to star Craig in the lead role, was praised for its new take on the character. Dame Diana Rigg, who was Bond’s short-lived wife in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, told Radio Times: “I wouldn’t like to see a female Bond, because we wouldn’t want to lose the Bond girls. Following the appearance of a much-maligned invisible car in the series’ last installment, 2002’s “Die Another Day,” fans seemed ready for something more serious and “Casino” fit the bill. But we could have a lesbian Bond — why not?” What this debate overlooks is that Mendes and Craig have already radically updated the current model more than anyone realizes.

Put it this way, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that, off screen, Craig is married to actress Rachel Weisz, an exceedingly brainy and independent-minded feminist. Reviewers enjoyed the combination of impressive stunts and a clever and often humorous script. “Skyfall” became the highest-grossing Bond movie of all time.

Madeleine Swann, not only bears a name with a double nod to French literature, her most outstanding credentials are academic (Oxford and the Sorbonne). When a recent interviewer suggested to Daniel Craig that Bond had become “a bit more chivalrous”, he said: “That’s because we’ve surrounded him with very strong women who have no trouble putting him in his place.” Yes, sir, we’ve come a long way from Pussy Galore to the Proustian Madeleine. Moneypenny (I don’t think she’d care to be Miss) is still around to point out amiably the deficiencies in Bond’s world view. (“It’s called having a life, James.”) Much has been made of the casting of Monica Bellucci, at 51, the most ancient Bond “girl” — although, as Craig observes drily, she can hardly be called an “older woman” when she’s the same age as Bond.

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