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Image / Living / Culture

Phoebe Waller-Bridge becomes only the second-ever female Bond writer (and the first was Irish)


by Sarah Finnan
01st Sep 2021

Fleabag

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Daniel Craig may be the seventh actor to play 007, but Phoebe Waller-Bridge is only the second-ever woman with a Bond writing credit.

MGM has just released the last trailer for the upcoming Bond film – nearly two years after we first saw an online teaser for the Spectre follow-up. Delayed not once, not twice, but three times as a result of the pandemic, No Time To Die will finally get its big cinematic release later this month. 

Unwilling to compromise on premiere plans, producers were steadfast in preventing it from going straight to release. Carrying quite a hefty price tag along with it, the movie had a budget of around $200 million according to Variety, so substantial global ticket sales will be needed to turn a profit.

The 25th instalment of the James Bond movie franchise, it features Daniel Craig as 007 once again. His fifth time to step up to the plate as the British intelligence officer, it will also be his last, as No Time To Die marks the end of his Bond journey. Now back with the final trailer for the forthcoming flick, it begins with footage of Bond from the previous four films before cutting to the present alongside the words “every mission, every sacrifice has led to this”.

Supposedly having left active service and enjoying a much more relaxed life in Jamaica, Bond’s peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up unannounced asking for help… and so begins another adventure. Tasked with rescuing a kidnapped scientist, it turns out to be far more treacherous a mission than anyone anticipated and Mr Bond finds himself trailing a “hyper-intelligent and worthy adversary” named Safin (Rami Malek) – who is armed with a dangerous new technology (of course). 

Lea Seydoux reprises her role as Madeleine Swann as does Christoph Waltz who returns as Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Ralph Fiennes as M. Other returning cast members include Ben Whishaw as Q, Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny and Rory Kinnear as M’s chief of staff Bill Tanner. Lashana Lynch, Ana de Armas and David Dencik round out the line-up. 

Writing credit

While most eyes have been on Craig and the rest of the ensemble cast, we’ve been busy marvelling at Phoebe Waller-Bridge, a credited writer on the movie. Only the second-ever woman to have a writing credit on a Bond film, she follows in the footsteps of an Irish woman, Johanna Harwood, who worked on Dr No and From Russia with Love in the early 1960s. Approached to help liven up the script a bit, Daniel Craig claims that it was actually his idea to bring her on board.

Ever humble, Waller-Bridge said that she was only a “small contribution to this thing”, but we highly doubt that considering the phenomenal success she’s already enjoyed thanks to her play-turned-TV series Fleabag (which Craig and his wife Rachel Weisz are huge fans of). “It was a really mad job to get,” she told a live studio audience at a podcast recording for The Guilty Feminist back in 2019. “I actually said to my producer once while we were making Fleabag, that would be a cool thing to do one day… and then it was only a month later.”

Insistent that she was never hired as a “button-pressing thing” or just to deal with the female characters (“the ladies” as she calls them), Waller-Bridge told RNZ that the franchise was already changing the culture of the films themselves. “They were already doing that themselves. They’re having that conversation with themselves the whole time. [My involvement] was much more practical. Just, ‘You’re a writer, we need some help with these scenes. And you come up with some dialogue for these characters’.”

Actress Ana de Armas reiterated that, telling The Hollywood Reporter that Bond fans will definitely notice the shift in dynamics in No Time To Die. “It’s pretty obvious that there is an evolution in the fact that Lashana (Lynch) is one of the main characters in the film and wears the pants – literally.”

No Time To Die will be released in Irish cinemas on September 30.

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