Addressing the history of the cinematic take on the Ian Fleming-created character in a cover story interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the True Detective alum referenced a scene from an earlier franchise entry in which Bond forced himself on a woman.
“Is it Thunderball or Goldfinger where, like, basically Sean Connery’s character rapes a woman?” Fukunaga said. “She’s like ‘No, no, no,’ and he’s like, ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ That wouldn’t fly today.”
Seemingly, Fukunaga—who enlisted Fleabag creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge for the new Bond film’s script—was referencing a moment in 1965’s Thunderball where Connery’s Bond forces a kiss on a character portrayed by Molly Peters.
Later in the same film, Bond suggests to Peters’ character that he can help her keep a secret if she engages in a sexual activity with him. Bond is then suggested to have removed the character’s clothes.
Updating the Bond character for our current moment has been a key talking point in the extended-by-the-pandemic rollout for No Time to Die, which marks both the 25th entry in the franchise and star Daniel Craig’s fifth (and final) run with the character.
“You can’t change Bond overnight into a different person,” Fukunaga told THR. “But you can definitely change the world around him and the way he has to function in that world. It’s a story about a white man as a spy in this world, but you have to be willing to lean in and do the work to make the female characters more than just contrivances.”
More recently, Craig was met with headlines after weighing in on the idea of having a woman play Bond in the future. Speaking with Radio Times, the actor gave what he described as a “very simple” response.
“There should simply be better parts for women and actors of color,” he said. “Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?”
Former Bond George Lazenby has since responded to Craig’s take, simultaneously offering his support while also suggesting a different route for the franchise’s future.