Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s second season of Fleabag—which she created, wrote, and starred in—is one of the best shows of 2019. The show is effortlessly cool, with Waller-Bridge’s deeply human characters and dialogue. And it makes sense—considering her talent, which also helped bring the excellent first season of Killing Eve to the screen—that Daniel Craig would personally request the London-born Waller-Bridge to help do re-writes on the Bond 25 script.
As it’s been reported, Waller-Bridge has been brought in to make the female characters feel like actual humans. Now, in a new interview with Deadline, Waller-Bridge discussed her opinion on where the franchise stands right now:
“There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not [the Bond franchise] is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women. I think that’s bollocks. I think he’s absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow. It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn’t have to. He needs to be true to this character.”
She continues to explain that she loved Craig’s version of the character for his wryness. And on specifically punching up the female characters, Waller-Bridge says:
“It’s just about making them feel like real people. I always think the test for me as an actor, whenever I’m writing anything, is: would I want to play that role? And so I’m coming into this polish thinking, I just want to make sure that when they get those pages through, that Lashana [Lynch], Léa [Seydoux] and Ana [de Armas] open them and go, ‘I can’t wait to do that.’ As an actress, I very rarely had that feeling early in my career. That brings me much pleasure, knowing that I’m giving that to an actress.”
What’s interesting is she compares James Bond to one of her own characters, the international assassin Villanelle from Killing Eve.
“I feel like there are elements of Villanelle and Bond that appeal to me in the same way. That they’re both these characters who we love, even though they do these violent, brutal things. Her motive is less clear than his. She just wants money and clothes. He’s trying to protect the country’s security, so fair enough. But that kind of tipping edge of psychology is really interesting to me. Someone who can kill, and then also be charming. There’s a front that appeals to me. But the wit of it is the thing that I love the most about that franchise. It’s the wit.”
Given her other writing credits—and opinions on the franchise as a whole—it’s exciting to see what Waller-Bridge does with Bond 25. Lately the production of the film has been plagued with on-set injuries. This week, an explosion at Pinewood Studios gave one crew member minor injuries. And last month, Craig was injured while filming in Jamaica and had to undergo “minor ankle surgery,” which required two weeks of rehabilitation. Accidents aside, the film is still scheduled for an April 8, 2020 release.