Tuesday, 4 December 2012

James Bond + Race (First post!)

Hey, welcome to my blog. I don't really have any pretensions about this thing becoming anything more than a place for me to ramble about things that I find interesting (or that are pissing me off), but we'll see how it goes.

Anyway, before you go on any further, I must warn you that there are Skyfall spoilers below, so proceed only if you have seen it or don't care about having plot details revealed.

So I've have an idea mulling about recently regarding everyone's favourite secret agent, James Bond (which caused me to make this blog consequently). Over the past couple years there has been a growing movement which has been calling for the next actor who plays James Bond to be black. It's an interesting idea, and one I'm certainly not opposed to (especially since they're going to have to do something totally different to follow up Daniel Craig), but I'm not entirely sure I want Eon to do this. From a totally intellectual level, it'd be amazing to see a person of a different race headlining the world's biggest action franchise. Doubly-so if it's the rumoured Idris Elba, who would probably hit it out of the park.

I had already been thinking over this when I went and saw Skyfall this evening (yes, I haven't seen it yet, stop judging me). More than any other past Bond flick, this one delves into his past and defines him well as a person. Now, before Skyfall it would have been easy to replace Bond with basically anyone - all that needs to be maintained are the mannerisms, iconic elements, Britain, commercialism, etc and you've got yourself another successor to the James Bond mantle. This was especially possible since there had been little to suggest that the different James Bonds were actually the same person. Since James Bond is defined more by what he does than who he is, a black James Bond would fit in very smoothly.

However, by delving into his past and defining him more clearly, the case for a black (or whatever race for that matter) James Bond has been muddled, not to mention my lovely code-name fan theory. The non-white James Bond camp has always had to contend with the anti-PC crowd, and now it seems like they have a better argument against them. The question in this debate has always been "what defines who James Bond is?", and it seems that "white" is a (more) definite element of his character now too.

Another interesting thing that Skyfall opened up was that James Bond might be bi-sexual. I think this was more meant to be a joke, but it certainly opened up another door, so to speak. Now, call me a homophobe or whatever, but this is something I hope they don't latch on to in the future... and not only because I don't want to have to listen to the diatribe my parents and the anti-PC crowd would have haha. James Bond has always been defined by his interactions with women, and suddenly shoehorning in a different sexuality for him doesn't sound like a particularly great idea.

Unless the Bond franchise re-establishes the code-name theory somehow, I think that a non-white, non-heterosexual James Bond has been pretty much rendered against character. Even if it is though, I would still love to see a different spy film with a black man Idris Elba as the star. And how funny would a James Bond spoof starring a gay/bi-sexual secret agent be? Obviously they won't have the same high-profile that a movie like James Bond does, but it doesn't mean we can't see these sorts of things grace the screen at all.

POST-SCRIPT: Initially I put up the spoiler tag because I meant to say that they could make the next M black, but I forgot to in the initial post. I suppose he could be gay though still, so there's that.

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