Daniel Craig doesn’t believe a woman should ever play James Bond

Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales poses with British actor Daniel Craig as he tours the set of the 25th James Bond Film at Pinewood Studios in Iver Heath, west of London, on June 20, 2019. - The Prince of Wales, Patron, The British Film Institute

One of the douchebag litmus tests in recent years has been the question “Do you think James Bond could be played by a Black actor or an actor of color?” Parallel to that, there’s the question “do you think that James Bond could be played by a woman?” Several people have outed themselves as racist a–holes with the first question, but to be fair, the second question has some nuance. Even Barbara Broccoli (who owns the Bond franchise) has said that she’s open to an actor of color, but she doesn’t see James Bond ever being played by a woman. As it turns out, Daniel Craig feels the same way.

Daniel Craig has said he believes James Bond should not be played by a female actor. Amid speculation about his replacement, as Craig will no longer play the notorious secret agent after No Time To Die, the actor said he believes women deserve their own parts not written for men.

“There should simply be better parts for women and actors of colour,” Craig told Radio Times when asked for his thoughts about a woman playing Bond.

He added: “Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?”

Craig nodded to the presence of Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge on the writing team as a way to “spice it up”, but specified that she “wasn’t about to take him in a different direction” as a longtime fan of the franchise.

[From NME]

Douchey response or no? I think Craig has made a lot of money and he has a lot of power within the industry, and he’s done f–k all to ensure that there are better parts for women and minorities. His statement is more of a shrug than anything else. Sigh… I don’t think Idris Elba cares anymore, although he would have been a fantastic Bond. Nowadays, all of the energy is going towards Regé-Jean Page. I wonder if Craig and Broccoli will be asked specifically about that rumor.

(And no, I don’t actually want to see a woman play James Bond. The character’s roots are so sexist and problematic, the franchise would collapse in on itself if they tried to make 007 a woman.)

Daniel Craig

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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83 Responses to “Daniel Craig doesn’t believe a woman should ever play James Bond”

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  1. Hell Nah! says:

    A Black Bond? Overdue and why not?

    A female Bond? Nah, I agree with Craig on this.

    • Kristen says:

      Agree.

    • Snappyfish says:

      Perfectly fine w/a female double 0 but not as Bond. Bond James Bond is iconic. I liked they had moneypenny in the field & she chose it wasn’t for her. Looks like we will see a woman of color as a double 0 in the new Bond. So excited.

      • Louise177 says:

        That’s my take and probably Daniel’s as well. Fine for a female 007 but to turn James Bond into a woman doesn’t make sense. It’s a decades long series. Although the movies can stand on their own, it’s kind of a continuation. Weird to change now.

      • Debbie says:

        I don’t know what he was saying but I agree w/ you about a female double-0 agent (though not the one they’ve chosen). James Bond looking a certain way, including the male gender is okay. To me, it’s like Mary Poppins being played by a woman only. However, that doesn’t mean that a male childcare taker couldn’t be played by a man, as in Mrs. Doubtfire, w/ his own motivations, his own personality and his own way of relating to kids.

    • EnormousCoat says:

      If, at the core, we are saying there should be more parts written for female actors of all colors, and also for male actors of color, and for trans actors of all colors, and for disabled actors of all colors, and for all other actors who have been marginalized because of color, gender, orientation, disability, or any other reason, then yes, I stand behind that.
      There are lots of people whose stories haven’t been told or explored, or have only been told in stereotyped ways. So we need those stories and those opportunities for actors. Reimagined and updated renderings of already depicted stories are fine, too. We can do both.

    • Nievie says:

      its because none of them will admit a female bond would get the job done 30 minutes into the movie, thus rendering the rest of the action mute….jus sayin xD

    • Carol says:

      +1 totally agree

    • 3Gatos says:

      I agree, James Bond portrayed by a man of color, yes. A woman, nah. We had Atomic Blonde and she kicked butt. More, please.
      We don’t need to make make make characters female. And I say this as a woman who lives in this day and age, not in the past.

  2. Case says:

    I 100% think Bond should be played by an actor of color, and there’s nothing stopping them from casting an actor of color to take over next. But a woman? I agree with Craig here that women deserve their own awesome parts, not to be playing a role that has always been written for a man, and been a somewhat sexist role at that.

    It worked with Doctor Who because The Doctor is an alien and can regenerate to look like anyone, so it’s not a gender-specific character.

    • MissMarirose says:

      Yeah, I agree. I think if a woman were cast as Bond, it would end up being a mess like when Ghostbusters was remade with a (fantastically talented) female cast.

      I liked Craig’s response. He acknowledges that there aren’t enough good roles for women and POC. This is something that other actors have noted, particularly Viola Davis. So, roles should be created with them in mind, not Frankensteined from bits and pieces of white male roles.

  3. Katie says:

    I’m too lazy too google this, but my recollection is he was very over the Bond character after his first or second movie, but was stuck in the franchise. So maybe he’s just saying let’s put Bond to rest and make different/better movies.

    • Becks1 says:

      I think he said sometime around Spectre (either before he started filming it or before promoting it) that it was going to be his last one and no amount of money would make him do another one. I think those movies are probably really brutal for him to film.

      Turns out that was a lie and that he did have a price, lol.

    • DeltaJuliet says:

      He actually suffered a broken leg filming the last movie and was quite a bit of pain during filming. His pissiness was pretty well warranted at that point. It’s like someone asking you right after delivering a baby when you are having the next one. Like, let’s recover from this, first.

  4. LaraK says:

    Black bond, for sure. And either Idris or Rege would be great.

    But for a woman, I’d love to see something like what Bridgerton or Hamilton did – take something that is historically not welcoming to certain people, and change it. Give it modern context.

    I’d love a Bond-style character, but that was written for a woman. It would be awesome.

    • lanne says:

      Rege-Jean for Bond! He has the right “look,” he’s young enough to play the role for several films, and even though he’s a black man, his features are somewhat ambiguous. He could “read” as other ethnicities quite easily, which would give his Bond an interesting fluidity–the semiotics of a black man who can “pass” as other ethnicities in specific situations could be interesting, and could be done intelligently in the right hands. He has the “panache” of Bond, the sex appeal, and could bring an interesting vulnerability to the role. I always saw the Connery and Moore Bonds as cartoon characters–flat and one-dimensional. Dalton for me was a nonentity. I’d love to see what Rege-Jean could bring to the role. I’d love Idris as well, but he’d likely be a 1 film character. It’s time for Bond to be played by a POC. What more can white men bring to the role? We already have the misogyny, casual racism, machismo done and done again.

      • Becks1 says:

        Reje-jean would be such a perfect Bond. He has sex appeal, he looks great in a tux, I think he’s a good actor but its not like that’s a real requirement for Bond, lol, and he would be another fresh start for the franchise. Part of what made Casino Royale so good in my opinion was it had a completely different vibe to it than the Pierce Brosnan Bonds – still high-tech, still with big action sequences, but this was based around a poker game, which just made it very different from some of the previous Bonds. He was less dapper and more badass.

        I think Reje could bring something fresh to it.

        BARBARA BROCCOLI DO YOU HEAR ME??

    • Debbie says:

      How tall is Rege Jean though? I get the impression that he’s just average height for a man, and height in a man is part of their attractiveness, and part of an unspoken indication that they can take care of themselves as a secret agent. (and no, that doesn’t mean that a shorter man can’t be considered attractive, but it does matter). He certainly has the charisma and sexiness though.

  5. KinChicago says:

    Of course he doesn’t… for the better part of a decade Daniel Craig pitches a hissy fit declaring he is done, a dump truck of money is dropped off and he is back releasing a new film. A new actor messes up his routine and his payday.

  6. Alexandria says:

    Angelina Jolie’s Salt was supposed to be female Bond. God I miss her in action films.

    • observer says:

      i know i saw that movie in theaters but i remember absolutely fk all about it beyond staring at angelina jolie’s profile in closeup and thinking to myself “wow, her plastic surgery is so good, she is stunning”

      if i can’t remember scenes from a movie specifically i can usually remember my reaction to it and beyond that it was…apparently nothing. not bad, not good, not anything.

    • Kaykay says:

      I was thinking about Salt too! And just like you I miss her action films. Actually, I might watch Tomb Raider right now. She was born to play Lara Croft. Maybe they can let her play Lara Croft again.

      • Marmalazed says:

        I agree that Angelina is good in action films but Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne tear it UP in The Old Guard. If you watch their fight scenes then some of the ones from Salt, the difference is striking. Maybe that’s just me though or maybe the choreography and cinematography just make theirs look better. I’m curious what other people think about this!

      • Alexandria says:

        Angie is my only Lara Croft…I fell in love hard 😌

    • Myra says:

      I was just thinking that. IIRC her character was initially written as a man but then they changed it for her or something like that.

    • Seraphina says:

      I enjoyed Salt. I heard there was a Salt II planned but never heard anything about it.

  7. Becks1 says:

    I actually like his response about writing better characters for females than just having one play Bond.

    Black or non-white Bond? Do it. Female Bond? Eh. Write an awesome spy movie for a woman. Even have it as a Bond spinoff if you really want, where its not a “bond” movie but we meet the character in a bond movie or something.

  8. Stephanie says:

    He’s right- women should have their own action characters/franchises. As far as the next Bond, I’m still rooting for Idris Elba.

    • Truthiness says:

      Idris Elba would be perfect, if he wants to take on the role.

    • Fortuona says:

      He is too old . He will be 50 next year and Craig was in his early 40′s when he started

      It will be somebody in that is in their 30′s to get more than 2 films out of him before the have to change the actor again

      • Fortuona says:

        Truthiness

        Sean last played Bond at 41 , Moore was 57 but looked really old by the time he finished . So 2/3 films is Elba will be the same age as Moore who did 7 of them

    • Debbie says:

      Why don’t they just develop an original character for an Idris Alba (at his current age)? It’s such a burden to have to take over an iconic role w/o having to overcome people’s innate biases. Why can’t Idris Elba play an aging spy, who used to play around & do a lot of physical activities. He’s still on active duty but doing more intelligence gathering now. However, an assignment which would have been given to a younger agent was given to Elba this time because the younger one was recovering from injuries in a hospital.
      No other capable agent was available because: movie logic/suspend disbelief. At 1st, Elba’s character approaches the assignment in the way he used to do when he was out in the field/younger, but he gets his arse kicked a few times by younger bad guys. Then, he learns he has to adjust his approach for his current time in life & perhaps use his brains more than his brawn, since he presumably has more life experience than said young bad guys. I’d watch that.

      • Truthiness says:

        I think developing a character for Idris would be a grand idea. I know people say he is too old for Bond, he just doesn’t come off that way to me. Sean Connery and his toupees never appeared that young, same for Roger Moore.

  9. Erika says:

    The pull quote/tiitle is misleading as hell. He was making an excellent point about representation in characters and is getting labelled as a misogynist. A character famous for being a sexist pig with quippy lines is going to be incredibly hard to rehab into a AFAB role without making that person a caricature. I am generally loathe to defend in this situation, but he is actually being a decent ally in this situation.

    • Nessa says:

      +2 Exactly. It shouldn’t be considered douchy or misogynist to say that women need awesome, original roles written for them. Gender swapping roles in the name of progressiveness or feminism is lazy and cringe IMO. Write better original stories with strong female characters.

  10. Alissa says:

    really not a fan of the trend of taking something people like, and just trying to shoehorn women into it instead. just make stories featuring women! they don’t need to piggyback off of Ghostbusters or Oceans or Bond. you can create cool original stories featuring women!

    • observer says:

      i’m also not a fan of it, it results in both further antagonizing people if they’re already misogynist and perpetuates bad stereotypes about feminism without actually furthering it. if anything i view it as a regressive trend for us (women)

      from an entertainment perspective, it’s usually cringe storytelling (‘shoehorned’ is the right word…) and also just not that interesting?

    • Kaykay says:

      Good point!

    • Mia4s says:

      Yeah. “But it’s a woman now!” is not a strong enough reason to remake something. Sorry…reboot. 🙄 What’s your actual story? Yes there should be lots of interesting women in it (Duh!), but they need rich, new stories.

      It was one of the reasons the new Star Wars trilogy crashed and burned for me. For a brief moment I was like “Oh, she’s interesting!” but pretty quickly I was like “never mind, she’s just Girl Luke for the most part”. I already say this decades ago.

      New. Stories. Please.

  11. locamg says:

    Here to agree with everyone above….especially that Rege or Idris should be the new Bond. Pick Rege since he’s younger and that would mean we have many more years of his Bond!

  12. Lala11_7 says:

    Women deserve better than the legacy of James Bond…so I’m with Craig on this!

  13. Sofia says:

    Throw the tomatoes at me but I agree with Craig here. I would love a non-white Bond but a female Bond simply wouldn’t work because the character of Bond is a sexist douche who is the embodiment of toxic masculinity. It would not work well with a female character. A female spy film on the other hand would be much better.

    • Eurydice says:

      The character of Bond is also kind of a racist douche and embodiment of white entitlement, if only that he’s the product of a “British Empire” point of view. A Black Bond would be coming into the story with a different set of experiences. I suppose the producers could brush that over and pretend that no discrimination ever happened, but if they could do that they could do the same for a female Bond.

      My preference would be to forget about Bond and bring in someone new to replace him. Then they could do the “You’ll never be as good as Bond” trope.

      • Sofia says:

        You’re right that a black bond or a non white bond would have a totally different experience/outlook than a white bond. They could pull a Bridgerton and have all races be on the same level (although the show did say it wasn’t always like that) and still have the same issues men and women have in the “real world”.

      • The Hench says:

        @Eurydice – so with you. I think Bond needs to be retired. Even Daniel Craig said he was a misogynistic dinosaur and the films just play the same plotlines over and over again. The baddy always has an accent, they always end up in some strange lair somewhere, they’re always fighting imaginary threats of evil empires trying to take over. It is Austin Powers and Dr Evil but without the sense of humour and the films have so many other problematic issues . Enough already.

  14. Eurydice says:

    How many times has James Bond retired? Maybe just leave him in retirement this time and bring in someone new.

  15. Kaykay says:

    James Bond wouldn’t be James Bond if the character was played by a woman, would he/she/what?/#soconfused.

    Could I see James Bond retire/die/whatever, and a lady take his place in the BSS with her own code number? Absolutely.

  16. Bettyrose says:

    Isn’t this Rachel Weisz’s husband? No way a badass like her is married to a misogynist dbag. I’m going to assume his comments were genuine and well intended.

  17. Esmerelda says:

    No, I don’t agree. “write new characters for women” sounds good in theory, but in this day and age most movies get made only if they have an built-in audience or a recognisable brand. Salt and Atomic Blonde were decent action movies, at least as good as Quantum, but they did not make Bond-like money.
    Men can have all the benefits of tradition, but women must start from scratch, yet they are measured against the results achieved by ages of men’s privilege.
    Have a Black woman play Bond.

    • Leslie says:

      I don’t think “create a new character for a woman” means something entirely existing IP free. Most movies are from existing IP and there are plenty IPs out there to pull from that either already star a woman or you can change the gender easily. Something that has a built in audience but isn’t so well known. But don’t take something with such an iconicly sexist history as Bond and force it to be played by a woman.

    • observer says:

      i think the whole point here is that the owners of the Bond franchise think it could be modernized with a non white male actor and retain an audience, but that a woman would not be able to be financially justified for the hit it would cause to the franchise.

      like, that’s just capitalism and how this stuff works. there is no way they’ll invest money in “female Bond” and back her with the franchise unless they can OVERWHELMINGLY financially justify it which is unlikely to be the case. i do see your angle here and i partially but not wholly agree with it, but what i think doesn’t matter.

      you cant bank on being backed by a franchise if your actions cause permanent “damage” to that franchise. (saying this from a corporate perspective it should be clear my personal feelings don’t follow this line of reasoning)

      partly playing devil’s advocate but mostly just trying to be realist here.

  18. CROOKSANDNANNIES says:

    I would prefer a POC over a woman for the James Bond franchise, although I’d be giddy to cast the arbitrary temporary hot love interest for Jamie Bond with each movie, like the old days (looking at you to start, Henry Golding, but I feel calling you Richard “Dicks” Plenty, while a stunning homage, would not go over well).

    I’m game for a female spy though, which would likely yield more female villains. I love a female villain, even Sharon Stone’s corporate cosmetic crazylady in Catwoman. I love an evil-doer’s wardrobe, especially with stilettos.

    • The Hench says:

      That’s a brilliant game. Coming up with names for male eye candy in Bond films. Ben Dover anyone?

      ETA A friend once promised to set me up with a good looking, lovely male friend of hers. I was game for this until she actually did the introduction. His surname was Slowcock. Reader, I sniggered. He was not amused.

      One day I might grow up.

  19. AmelieOriginal says:

    Yeah I’m not on the Bond should be played by a female actor train, but an actor of color? Sure. I think the only thing we can agree on is the character should always have a British accent. It’s going to take me out of it completely if it’s someone with a foreign accent or… *shudder* an American one. And there are many British male actors of color who can fill the role!

    There should be better action roles for women and better characters in Bond like movies. Unfortunately franchise action movies with women starring as the lead often go nowhere, it seems action roles for women have been more successful in TV. I can think of Buffy, Alias, to name a few and I know there’s more.

    • Leslie says:

      I have to chuckle that your female action TV examples are from 20 years ago.

      • AmelieOriginal says:

        There have been more since (as I pointed out in my original comment), I just don’t tend to watch “action” TV shows, also it’s kind of a wide ranging genre. I forgot about Killing Eve which I do watch, which is not from 20 years ago and still currently on the air and has gotten a lot of acclaim. :) And of course all the superhero ones like Jessica Jones (though I didn’t finish that show but the first season was excellent). Also The Handmaid’s Tale is kind of a weird mixture of action, thriller, among many other things which is ironic considering it’s all about the oppression of women. And there are other examples of more recent ones that I don’t watch: Nikita, Orphan Black…

        But Buffy and Alias will always be near the top of the list of any shows featuring women in action heavy roles which is why I named them first.

  20. Leslie says:

    I really like Idris in the recent Suicide Squad movie and think he’d probably be a fantastic Bond. But I kind of think they should go with Rege now though: he’s young enough to be able to do the franchise for a while, he’s a hot commodity coming off of Bridgerton, and he’s also a great actor and a smoke show. If Craig had ended his run in 2015, then yes it should have gone to Idris, but not at this point.

    As for a female Bond: Bond is a really sexist character so to simply make the character a woman doesn’t really work. I have always thought they should create a whole new franchise for a woman spy like that.

  21. Malika says:

    Alias showed that a female helmed spy narrative can work very well, and that we don’ t need a man’s role to be played by a woman in order to get a seat at the spy narrative table. I agree that we don’ t need a female Bond, we need new franchises with high-quality scripts and a kick-ass leading lady.

    Rege would make a fantastic Bond! Hope he gets a casting call.

  22. NCWoman says:

    I think way too many people worry about who *should* do something. Locking in roles or anything else by gender is as stupid as locking them in by race. Especially in the case of a fictional character, a good writer can make anything believable. James Bond can be a woman, Hermione of HP can be black, Capt. Kirk can be trans, etc., etc. The only limit is the audience’s willingness to expand their horizons–which seems to be very low among many, many people. Open minds, open hearts.

  23. Lionel says:

    Trevor Noah has a hilarious bit about the difficulties of being a Black James Bond in Jolly Olde England. I urge you to give it a listen, with the understanding that hells yes I’d line up to watch Rege-Jean or Idris cast in that role!

    As for a woman in the role, I have to think the only way to make it work is to have JB’s previously unknown daughter (pick the most badass lover in the canon for her mother) show up to take over his role. She can take down evil in a sexy black cocktail dress, drink her martinis however the hell she wants to, make all the hetero men wilt, and then flip the script by ensuring that her chosen male/female/non-binary/+ conquests enthusiastically opt in to sex with her, clearly understanding that she’s too badass to have the time to ever call them again. I’d line up to watch that too!

  24. Lunasf17 says:

    I feel a woman 007 is so obviously pandering and doesn’t fit right. Women need their own stories, not to be shoe horned into an older franchise like ghostbusters. Why can’t we get unwise, awesome stories?

  25. Killing Eve should end with Villanelle becoming Jane Bond. Boom! Problem solved. She’d be perfect. :)

  26. Amanda says:

    I feel it it would better if there was a spinoff where another female agent is the lead character, but not 007.

  27. Desdemona says:

    I don’t understand, why would they want to be Bond. Bond is a white, British guy. Why not create amazing new, fresh and good characters for black people and women too?..
    I don’t get this obsession and hype around a totally unbelievable characters that gets into a fight and doesn’t even get the shirt wrinkled… So… posh…

  28. remarks says:

    I think his point makes sense. Or at least he’s not giving an answer he doesn’t believe in. Sometimes men who give appropriate enlightened feminist answers are secretly more sexist than men who answer like Craig. He probably hasn’t done much to change anything, but since he’s not a writer and just more of a front-man I think it’s fine for him to say “Yeah, someone should really get on that task.”

  29. bobafelty says:

    Hollywood is taking the laziest approach to equity and inclusion – by race or gender swapping existing characters. Jane Bond 007 = lazy. Create new and exciting characters that are diverse and interesting.

  30. Siobhan N Gorski says:

    I think Craig made actually a pretty good point here. I’m here for a POC taking the mantle of Bond, but I’d rather have a brand new female-led action franchise. Hell, you could create a different 00 agent altogether that is a woman (Bond isn’t the only guy with a license to kill). Did anyone see Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron, that was a badass spy thriller that I’d love to see more of. Jennifer Garner was one of the best female action stars back when she wore a different wig every week instead of ill-fitting mom cardigans. It’s possible, unfortunately, you need studios to champion these projects, and most of them live on crusty old white man island with James Bond.

  31. FF says:

    It can’t be a woman because Bond is a sexist story primarily about massaging the white cis male ego.

    They might cast it as a non-white man in order to dodge that accusation but ultimately it is about a guy shooting things and sleeping with many, many women.

    Incidentally: I knew that ‘Lashana Lynch is the new 007′ was an obnoxious gimmick on their part. That trailer didn’t even light the actress properly and they did nothing with poor Naomi Harris. Bye Bond franchise.

    I kind of agree with him on having new, better original franchise parts for women, and I’d wish that for PoC too because rehabilitating Bond is a failure method: it’s fundamentally what it is, putting wings on a pig won’t make it fly. I hope they make a new spy franchise with Rege Jean Page, so that those of that are tired of dinosaur Bond can watch something else.