After Fleabag writer and actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge was announced as the new co-writer for the 25th James Bond film, No Time To Die, the Emmy Award-winner had been facing scrutiny from fans of the franchise.
No Time To Die, which is set for release in 2020, was written by director Cary Fukunaga and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns. Waller-Bridge was hired to "punch up the script" based on an earlier draft penned by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.
However, many male Bond fans online claimed Waller-Bridge's hiring to be for reasons of inclusiveness and complained she would turn the next installment into a feminist film.
Daniel Craig set the record straight.
Craig—who portrayed James Bond in the last four films, including Casino Royale (2006) and Spectre (2015)—gave a heated response over the fallout from Waller-Bridge's involvement in an interview with The Sunday Times.
"Look, we're having a conversation about Phoebe's gender here, which is f*****g ridiculous."
"She's a great writer. Why shouldn't we get Phoebe onto Bond?"
When the interviewer asked if Waller-Bridge was brought on board to push the film in a more inclusive direction, Craig fired back:
"I know where you're going, but I don't actually want to have that conversation."
"I know what you're trying to do, but it's wrong. It's absolutely wrong. She's a f*****g great writer. One of the best English writers around. I said, 'Can we get her on the film?' That's where I came from."
The actor continued by singing his praises for the writer, whose work on Fleabag—based on Waller-Bridge's one-woman show performed in 2013, first got his attention.
"She's just brilliant. I had my eye on her ever since the first 'Fleabag,' and then I saw 'Killing Eve' and what she did with that and just wanted her voice. It is so unique — we are very privileged to have her on board."
Waller-Bridge expressed mutual admiration for Craig in an earlier interview on Deadline.
"When I saw his Bond for the first time, there was a wryness to his performance that I really loved. I was really excited about writing dialogue for him."
She also cleared the air about her involvement with the 007 franchise and argued that Bond's character still holds relevance for modern audiences.
"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."
Waller-Bridge is the second woman with a script credit in the history of the franchise.
The first was Johanna Hardwood, who wrote on Dr. No (1962) and From Russia With Love (1963).
No Time To Die will also be the first 007 film to feature a Black woman as 007. Despite the confusing headline, the British actress will not portray James Bond, but will take over his secret agent number when Bond leaves the MI6.
No Time To Die is scheduled for an April 8, 2020 release.
Get the full Daniel Craig Bond collection here.