Credit: Screen grab from YouTube
Bond Movie Cast Members Say 007 Should Be a Man: Not Black or Female

Bond Movie Cast Members Say 007 Should Be a Man: Not Black or Female

“It doesn’t make sense for him to be a woman.”

With internet activist calling for the next James Bond to be next played by a woman or a black man, two actors who appeared in recent films in the franchise spoke out in favor of tradition.

Former Bond girl Eva Green told reporters at a red carpet event last week that while she is supportive of women, 007 “should be played by a man.”

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“I’m for women, but I really think James Bond should remain a man. It doesn’t make sense for him to be a woman,” Green said. “Women can play different types of characters, be in action movies, and be superheroes, but James Bond should always be a man and not be Jane Bond. There is history with the character that should continue. He should be played by a man.”

Ralph Fiennes, speaking to BBC2’s “Newsnight” in an interview released Friday, said Bond should not be female or black.

“I would like to see a great black actor inhabit a Bond-like persona,” he said when asked for his thoughts about a potential black or female Bond. “But not necessarily be in the same franchise.”

Hype over black actor Idris Elba taking over the role from current Bond protagonist Daniel Craig has been spiking, with oddsmakers pegging “The Wire” star’s odds at becoming the next 007 at 5-2.

“I think we could remake the idea of a Bond as a woman or as an actor of any ethnicity in another vehicle,” Fiennes added.

Responding to a question about how political correctness was affecting artistic freedom, Fiennes rejected the idea that “social political pressures” should cause artists to “make a piece work to satisfy a certain band of opinion.” Artists shouldn’t feel compelled to make artistic choices that tick “the box for a certain band of opinion, whether it’s left or right,” he added.

The publisher of fan publication, “007 Magazine,” concurred with Fiennes’ take. “I agree 100 percent,” Graham Rye told the Daily Mail. “Nor should Bond be an Oriental or Asian actor – the same way a Caucasian actor should never be considered to play Shaka Zulu, Jawaharlal Nehru or Genghis Khan.”

Fiennes played Head of Secret Intelligence Service and Bond’s superior, M, in the films “Skyfall” and “Spectre.” He is expected to reprise his role in the next production of the series. The actor’s comments ruffled some feathers among social media users.
Several commenters reacted to a video of Fiennes’ interview shared by “Newsnight’s” Twitter account by criticizing the actor.

“Mr Fiennes needs to understand that Jesus has been portrayed and played by white actors even though his true identity according to scriptures is a black man, so a fictional character only suitable for a white actor is wrong,” wrote one user. “Racist prick,” wrote another.

Representation in Hollywood has been a hot-button topic in recent years, especially post-#MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Feminists and liberals argue that it is essential for cultural progress that societal institutions such as the film industry, which have historically been led by influential cisgender white men, include more marginalized minorities in their ranks. Critics counter that such activism is rote, ineffective quota-filling that ignores merit and quality in service to politics.

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Cover image: Eva Green (Screen grab from YouTube)

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