James Bond has been a cinematic presence for almost 60 years, but just because the property has survived for this long, doesn't mean it can't evolve with the times.
The 25th big screen outing for 007, Cary Joji Fukunaga's No Time to Die, will be the first Bond movie of the #MeToo era and its stars aren't taking that for granted. In fact, Daniel Craig (appearing one last time as the MI6 super-spy) isn't at all a fan of one of the franchise's longest-living terms.
"I don’t even call them 'Bond Girls,'” Craig recently told Vanity Fair of his female co-stars. “I’m not going to deny it to anybody else. It’s just I can’t have a sensible conversation with somebody if we’re talking about ‘Bond Girls.'"
A reflection of modern society, No Time to Die features two of the most self-sufficient and empowered female characters the series has ever seen: Nomie (Captain Marvel's Lashana Lynch), a 00-agent for MI6 and Paloma (Blade Runner 2049's Ana de Armas), a CIA field operative.
“I should always be so lucky to work with a woman like that," Craig said of de Armas. "This is a movie where there’s a lot of sh** going on, a lot of big acting, myself very much included, but she shines through because she’s the real deal. She’s got very good comic timing and we’re not offering her a huge part. But she came in and just nailed it. She had very little to go on, the scripts are being rewritten, you’re changing things all the time or throwing them at her, and she’s not fazed by it."
The script rewrites to which the actor refers are the ones that occured after director Danny Boyle parted ways with the project over creative differences. His script with John Hodge was scrapped in favor of a fresh start from Bond vets Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. From there, Scott Z. Burns and Phoebe Waller-Bridge were brought in for polishing. Specifically, Waller-Bridge (known for creating awards darling Fleabag) was asked to infuse the screenplay with more humor.
"You could also tell that Phoebe was in there,” de Armas explained to Vanity Fair. “There was that humor and spikiness so specific to her. My character feels like a real woman. But you know, we can evolve and grow and incorporate reality, but Bond is a fantasy. In the end you can’t take things out of where they live."
"[Paloma] is someone who’s just started working for the CIA, and so she’s supposed to have minimal training when she first meets Bond. The expectation is that she’s not going to be the most proficient agent, but let’s just say that she really packs a punch," added producer Barbara Broccoli.
No Time to Die hits theaters everywhere Friday, April 10.
Rami Malek, David Dencik, Dali Benssalah, Billy Magnussen, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Jeffrey Wright, and Christoph Waltz co-star.
Listen to Billie Eilish's original song for the film right here.