Will James Bond survive the #MeToo movement after “Die can wait”?

He is what is trivially called “a ladies’ man”. Since James Bond 007 vs. Dr No in 1962, Her Majesty’s favorite spy made no less than 56 more or less ephemeral conquests. Often for fun, sometimes for professional necessity, rarely for love.

But by succeeding Pierce Brosnan in 2006, Daniel Craig has arguably delivered the most “sentimental” version of Ian Fleming’s hero: shattered by the death of Vesper Lynd – the character played by Eva Green in Casino Royale – he drowns his sorrow in violence until he meets, in Spectre, with the psychiatrist Madeleine Swan, played by Léa Seydoux. And while their relationship is at the heart of To die can wait, in theaters this Wednesday, October 5, the film suggests – without saying too much about the plot – that this unrepentant seducer (some would say sickly) could finally arise after a lifetime of conquering.

007 finally confronted with his own machismo

Six years separate Spectre from To die can wait. Between the two, the emergence of the #MeToo movement, in the wake of the revelations of the Weinstein affair at the end of 2017, has obviously not gone unnoticed by the producers of the saga. “All James Bonds are a reflection of their time“, director Cary Joji Fukunaga, co-author of the screenplay, told LCI, with series creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Killing Eve. “Inevitably, we write about the period in which we live. And it is impossible not to be influenced and moved by what is going on around us“, he insists.

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In To die can wait, 007 is clearly no longer the self-confident fop that once embodied Sean Connery, Roger Moore and others. Several scenes of the film even see him being confronted, in a rather amusing way, with his old macho reflexes when he meets two “James Bond Girls” of the new generation, played by Lashana Lynch and Ana de Armas. But how could it be otherwise?

In recent years, many moviegoers have indeed pointed to certain sequences which are at least “problematic” in the course of the adventures of one of the most popular heroes in the history of cinema. Carried out in 2018 by site Digital Spy, a video montage brings together seven of those moments when 007 clearly “went out of the box” in his relationships with women, sometimes completely slipping.

In Operation Thunder, in 1965, the James Bond played by Sean Connery forcibly embraces physiotherapist Patricia Fearing. “Hold on tight!“, gets carried away the character played by Molly Peters by freeing himself from his embrace. But it is not finished. Moments later, the young woman installs 007 on a machine of musculation, tampered with her knowledge to torture the spy. Confused, she asks him not to tell her boss. “My silence could come at a price“, then launches Bond, before dragging Patricia inside the sauna. Hello consent …

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Another, equally disturbing scene appears in Goldfinger, released a year earlier. We see 007 bickering in a barn with Pussy Galore, an openly lesbian villain in Ian Fleming’s novels. In the film, the character played by actress Honor Blackman may explain to the spy that she is “immune“against her charms, the latter will end up blocking her under his weight in the straw to kiss her… and force her to give in to his advances.

Bond is a character who was written in 1952 and the first film was released in 1962“, recently reminded the Hollywood Reporter producer Barbara Broccoli, who took up the torch after the death of her illustrious dad, Albert “Chubby” Broccoli, in 1996. Without condemning the films supervised by the latter, she admitted: “People are beginning to understand – sometimes with difficulty – that some things accepted yesterday are unacceptable today.”

So, will James Bond survive #MeToo? Without a doubt, just judging by the first results of To die can wait at the box office. But the evolution of the character under the mandate of Daniel Craig necessarily questions how he will behave with the fairer sex in the future. Seduction will inevitably have its place in future films, sexuality too. But they will undoubtedly take a different form, more in line with current society. A hell of a challenge for the next 007, whatever it is.

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