Phoebe Waller-Bridge has nailed what previous Bond girl characters have been missing, and she’s preaching to the converted.
If there was ever anyone who could upend the Bond girl stereotype, it’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Instinctively funny, sharply intelligent and fiercely feminist, the writer and actor is behind some of the most-adored shows in the last few years. In both Fleabag and Killing Eve she’s shown us her awe-inspiring propensity for writing female characters that are both strong and resilient while being vulnerable, and occasionally cringe-inducingly flawed.
Bond girls, by contrast, are known for being particularly undeveloped roles, usually there to facilitate the famous spy’s ego more than add anything to the storyline themselves. Although the more modern Bond films have certainly made an effort to feature more vocal female leads, like Naomie Harris, the legacy of the Bond girl is still hard to shake off.
So, when we heard that Waller-Bridge was on board to co-write the script for the next Bond film, we were practically rubbing our hands together with glee ( little like a Bond villain, actually).
But now we have even more reason to celebrate, as Waller-Bridge has given comment on her hopes for the new Bond girl and clarified that she means to make the characters more “real”. Amen to that.
Speaking on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter Podcast, she reiterated how much she’s enjoying the project: “It’s really exciting. The film they’ve got is such an exciting story. It’s just been a joy to work on.”
And when quizzed on how much of her signature “female, feminist humour” she’ll be able to bring to the film, she added: “Well, we’ll see, we’ll see what I can sneak in. But it’s mainly about making them feel like real people, you know?”
She continued to dip her hat to the franchise, saying, “which they do in the previous films. I think Daniel’s films have had really fantastic Bond girls, so it’s just keeping it up.”
It isn’t much to go on, but we’re confident that the next generation of leading ladies will feature a significant injection of Waller-Bridge’s talent for writing more interesting female characters. Especially seeing as Waller-Bridge, who was specifically requested by Daniel Craig to contribute to the final script, has been given an official screenwriter credit, which means that her contributions have to tally at least 33% of the final shooting script, in accordance with Writers Guild of America regulations.
In other words, at least a third of the dialogue, tone, characterisation and scenes of the final film will be fresh from the mind of one of our favourite writers. Hurrah. This could be a huge moment for cinema, and a chance to change one of the oldest tropes int he industry, which would be incredibly encouraging. Go on, Phoebe, we’re behind you.