— Gillian Anderson (@GillianA) May 21, 2016
As Daniel Craig has (or hasn’t, depending on what you read) announced that even 60 million quid isn’t enough to get him to play Bond twice more, and as Peter Capaldi has said the next series of Doctor Who will be his last, the perennial casting narrative of whether either or both should have gender or ethnicity swaps (or both!) once again surfaces.
It’s getting tiresome.
The issue with Bond being female has less to do with a woman being a(n iconic) secret agent and more to do with how it would be dealt with by the studio. A female lead worked well with Salt, which was even rewritten with Jolie as the lead when Cruise had originally been slated to star. Shane Black’s The Long Kiss Goodnight had Gina Davis as a kick arse secret agent with amnesia, and Helen Mirren was great in RED. That’s just for starters. There are plenty of great action movies with a female lead in them. Okay, there are no franchises like Bond with a woman in the lead but then there are few franchises like Bond full stop.
Casting a woman as Bond would work if it was done completely on the basis of who would work best in the role, or with the stories that they want to tell. The actor has to be a credible person for the role and not just selected for “ITS BOND BUT WITH A WOMAN!!!” reasons. You know, lots of knowing “gags” about Bond being female, all very knowing, and situational jokes like the aside Batman and Superman had when Wonder Woman appeared- “I thought she was with you?“. Ho-ho, a female superhero, who would have thought?
If it was done for the right reasons I’m sure it would work, but much like the never ending discussion over casting a woman as Doctor Who I can’t help but think that the reasons for doing it will never be “right” as long as marketing execs and studio numpties are involved.