Daniel Craig Is Missing The Bigger Point About A Female James Bond

Daniel Craig doesn't think James Bond's lead should be female - but his comments fail to understand the crux of the argument. When Sean Connery was thwarting Dr. No in 1962, anyone who suggested casting a female James Bond would've been laughed out of the room in a hail of cigar smoke and misogyny. Fortunately, times have changed, with the world of movies and TV taking baby steps to address the gender divide. Female representation in the superhero field is improving, Doctor Who regenerated into a woman, and A-list stars are quicker to call out any disparity in earnings.

James Bond hasn't always been the greatest flag-bearer for social change, but the Daniel Craig era has kicked the door open for more modern, meaningful female characters - the likes of Naomie Harris' Moneypenny, Léa Seydoux's Madeleine Swann, and Lashana Lynch's Nomi, who takes 007's job in No Time To Die. When it comes to a woman actually playing Bond, however, Daniel Craig draws the line. The actor recently commented, "there should simply be better parts for women and actors of colour. Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?

Related: No Time To Die Continues An Unwelcome James Bond Villain Trend

On one hand, Daniel Craig is absolutely correct. There's a huge dearth of franchise-leading, Bond-style roles for women and people of color, and there should be more iconic characters available for such actors. Craig must be commended for making this point publicly, using his considerable sway in the industry to highlight where change is necessary. And as the outgoing 007 implies, it would wonderful if we lived in a world where Jane Bond (obviously not that title, but still...) was a 70-year-strong, record-breaking franchise that had grossed billions of dollars and become a household name. But we don't, and therein lies why Daniel Craig has missed the point of having a female 007.

Daniel Craig's argument positions "better for roles for women" and "a female playing Bond" as an either-or scenario - you can have one, but not the other. It's perhaps more accurate to say the two are interconnected, and having a female Bond would lead to better roles for women. When a fresh action movie IP comes along (especially those starring a woman), these are almost always low budget ventures with humble marketing and distribution strategies - Atomic BlondeThe Rhythm SectionKate, etc. This alone isn't enough to redress Hollywood's diversity balance and change decades of action movie male dominance. It could even be argued that a film like The Rhythm Section (starring Blake Lively in a Bond-esque role) barely making enough money to cover the catering budget actually deters major studios from pursuing further original female-fronted spy thrillers (despite Daniel Craig's insistence there should be more of them).

On the other hand, James Bond boasts a storied history, blockbuster muscle and a marketing budget the size of Bond's Aston Martin repair bill. Casting a female in the 007 role isn't just a statement of intent for on-screen equality, it's an infinitely bigger platform than an original IP could ever provide, and does a great deal more to close the gender gap. This is why Jodie Whittaker fronting Doctor Who on prime-time weekend TV does more to break genre stereotypes than the same actress appearing in a low budget time travel sci-fi series at 11pm on a Friday night. Daniel Craig isn't wrong - his argument just doesn't reach far enough. Female actors should have access to roles as big as Bond, but the best way to achieve that is with major franchises leading the way. Instead of barricading the doors and shouting "this is our franchise, get your own," casting a female lead in James Bond could help foster the increased pool of action roles for woman that Daniel Craig rightly believes is needed.

Contrary to popular belief, calls for a female Bond aren't purely for the sake of equality. 007 is a character who, like The Doctor, lives in a state of constant change. After 70 years and 6 male actors, it might be creatively rejuvenating to see what a female actor brings to the James Bond world.

More: Martin Campbell Is Right About Craig’s Disappointing James Bond Movies



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