Amidst the hunt to find the next incarnation of 007, people are proposing: “Charlize Theron should totally be the next James Bond!” Even Chris Hemsworth, Theron’s co-star in Snow White and the Huntsman, thinks she is perfect for the role.
“She’s embodies every sort of ounce of strength and nobility and dignity and integrity that that character should have,” Hemsworth told W Magazine‘s Lynn Hirschberg, endorsing the idea of Theron as the first female James Bond. “She’s smart as hell. She’s physically able. I worked with her on Snow White and the Huntsman. Watching her in those fight scenes, doing it in high heels, by the way, and an eight foot long gown was even more impressive.”
He’s right. She is strong, noble, dignified, and really good at throwing a punch. But Charlize Theron still missing one key Bond characteristic: she isn’t a misogynist.
The James Bond franchise has been long criticized for its sexist attitudes towards women. You have your James Bond, and your Bond girl: The icon, and the long list of love interests linked to a unanimous label that says “women-are-disposable”. Daniel Craig himself has said: “Let’s not forget that he’s actually a misogynist.”
Would a female James Bond rectify the franchises history of male chauvinism? Maybe. Would it be a huge step forward for women in film? Absolutely — and it would probably be a great film. I would line up to see it, and I have no doubt other people (women and men) would too. But doesn’t turning James Bond into Jane Bond feel a little too much like a gimmick? Like women need to prove that we’re equal to men by playing pop cultures most macho character? A Jane Bond would no doubt change the game; but it’s not the only way the game can be changed.
The thing is, Charlize Theron already is Bond — well, basically. In Theron’s new film, Atomic Blonde, she plays MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton: a sensual and savage cold-war era spy who’s investigating the murder of a fellow agent, recovering a missing list of double agents, using cool gadgets, going under-cover, partaking in a lot casual, meaningless sex. So she’s a moody, sleek and stylish sky who kills a lot of people who have foreign accents, and sleep with a lot of people who have foreign accents. She’s everything a Jane Bond would be, but with her own name.
We shouldn’t slot women into predetermined formulas originally built around male characters and call it progress. Women need to pave their own path, and so Hollywood needs to create new iconic female roles that are strong, noble, dignified and really good at throwing a punch. We see it happening, and we see it working: Gal Gadot in “Wonder Woman”, Daisy Ridley in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, Jennifer Lawrence in “The Hunger Games, and Charlize Theron in “Mad Max: Fury Road”. We just need to see it happen more.
When Charlize Theron learned Chris Hemsworth called her out to be cast as James Bond, she was flattered — and then, she politely declined. Not because she didn’t think she could handle the iconic role, but because she has her own kick-ass character: Lorraine Broughton. Women don’t need James Bond to defy gender roles; because we’re doing it all on our own.