With Daniel Craig’s final outing as Bond hitting cinemas on September 30, it is widely accepted that things have moved on considerably socially since the earliest days on screen of the secret agent. Much of what was acceptable in the 1960s, particularly regarding the portrayal and treatment of women, has changed radically over the decades. But wasn’t it all just harmless fun? The latest Bond director didn’t mince his words when he referenced Connery’s portrayal of 007, particularly in one famous scene.
Fukunaga was discussing the modern relevance of Bond when he said: “Is it Thunderball or Goldfinger where, like, basically Sean Connery’s character rapes a woman?
“She’s like ‘No, no, no,’ and he’s like, ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ That wouldn’t fly today.”
While there are some dubious issues of consent surrounding the way Bond initially pins down Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, it is the classic sauna scene from Thunderball the director is referring to.
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To modern eyes, it already starts badly when Bond comes in for some physiotherapy on an injury. Looking over the nurse’s shoulder, he then wraps his arms around her and kisses her, very clearly against her will.
Patricia Fearing, played by Mollie Peters, pushes him off and says, “Behave yourself, Mr Bond. Oh, I can see there is only one place to keep you quiet.”
She straps him to a mechanical spine-stretcher and says: “First time I’ve felt really safe all day.”
Unfortunately, it all gets far worse. WATCH the full scene below.
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After a villain comes in and turns up the machine, nearly killing Bond, Fearing rushes in and thinks it is her fault.
She worries Bond will tell her boss: “I’d lose my job!”
To which Bond unforgivably says: “Well, I suppose my silence could have a price.”
As Fearing replies, “You don’t mean..? Oh no, no,” Connery’s character, still only dressed in a towel, smirks, “Oh yes,” and pushed her into the sauna.
Although it was clearly meant to play as flirtatious and coy in the 1960s, to modern eyes it looks rather more predatory and abusive.
Fukunaga and Bond producer Barbara Broccoli both addressed the changes they have made to the character to a modern audience, with the help of writer and Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
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The director said: “I think that’s the expectation, a female writing very strong female roles, but that’s something Barbara wanted already. From my very first conversations with her (Broccoli), that was a very strong drive.
“You can’t change Bond overnight into a different person. 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.”
Broccoli added: “I think people are coming around — with some kicking and screaming — to accepting that stuff is no longer acceptable. Thank goodness. Bond is a character who was written in 1952 and the first film [Dr. No] came out in 1962. He’s got a long history, and the history of the past is very different to the way he is being portrayed now.”
Read More: Hollywood News
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