Do we really need a Fleabag Bond?

Daniel Craig in 2020’s ‘No Time to Die’ © Alamy

Rumours that the Emmy Award-winning author and actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the frontrunner to write down and direct the subsequent James Bond movie could also be barely implausible — the 37-year-old has hitherto by no means directed something and the movie’s producers have intimated that the subsequent Bond continues to be some years away.

However the fevered anticipation that has met the potential of a “Fleabag Bond” illustrates the extent to which Waller-Bridge’s model of salty, hypersexualised feminism has penetrated our cultural lives.

Based mostly on her one-woman stage play of the identical identify, Fleabag was a two-series tragicomedy a couple of younger lady coming to phrases with grief, heartbreak and the emotional fallout of a horrible betrayal. It was most likely probably the most completely completed items of small-screen storytelling in latest occasions.

The present established Waller-Bridge as probably the most thrilling younger voices within the cultural firmament and offered the catalyst for a stream of subsequent female-led dramas starring earthy, relatable younger girls with a robust sense of private type, voracious sexual appetites and complete lack of course: you may see the ghost of Fleabag in all the pieces from Trade (intercourse, the Metropolis and self-absorption) to Extraordinary (intercourse, superpowers and self-absorption), the Disney+ comedy drama written by Northern Irish screenwriter and comic Emma Moran.

However whereas the world has since been populated with Fleabag-alikes, Waller-Bridge herself has ventured down a really completely different path. Having been head author of the primary collection — and an govt producer throughout all 4 collection — of Killing Eve, starring one other surprising anti-heroine, Waller-Bridge signed a reported “mid-eight-figure” contract with Amazon in September 2019 to develop additional exhibits.

The fruits of that collaboration have been gradual in maturation — she walked away from the venture she was speculated to be doing with Donald Glover, and continues to be finessing the small print on a brand new adaptation of the live-action franchise Tomb Raider.

© Alamy Inventory Photograph

However nobody appears to be in an enormous hurry. The actress was reported to have renewed her contract with the streaming platform in January for an additional three-year unique deal. In the meantime, she performed the “quippy” droid L3-37 in Solo: A Star Wars Story, with strains that have been delivered in her trademark realizing droll. And this summer season, she’s going to star within the newest movies within the Indiana Jones franchise, Dial of Future, by which she’s going to play the archaeologist’s goddaughter in a reboot that has been co-written by one other favorite of the British writing institution, Jerusalem’s Jez Butterworth.

In some methods, Waller-Bridge appears like a sellout. Why else would she be giving these enfeebled, historic franchises her time? She’s the embodiment of female badassery and bawdy humour, so what, apart from a large pay cheque, would persuade her to lend these doddery previous display screen icons her credibility and edge? She already added “little spices” to the final Bond movie, having been drafted in to “assist out” with the script of No Time To Die. And little spice she might need added, given the movie appeared about 9 hours lengthy and was terribly bland.

Moreover, 007 is definitely the least attention-grabbing display screen legend with whom to meddle: he’s so pickled in his methods. Even with a model new agent, new script and new set of double entendres, one can’t think about the Fleabag Bond ever making a dent within the unreconstructed glory of the world’s suavest super-agent along with his sleep-with-a-lass-then-slap-her on-the-ass chauvinistic methods.

Following #MeToo, and a interval of gender recalibration within the trade, Hollywood is clearly attempting to atone for its previous sexist ills. Feminine writers, producers and administrators at the moment are being provided a spot on the desk, and it’s been each fascinating and barely horrifying to see the alternatives being made. Perhaps Waller-Bridge’s have been the last word in want fulfilment: what highly effective lady wouldn’t need to associate with these final alpha males? The place as soon as she might need been an “auteur” within the trade, at present’s feminine gamers usually tend to be helming large summer season blockbusters or directing Marvel movies.

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie within the forthcoming live-action ‘Barbie’ © Warner Bros

This week a brand new on-line trailer was launched for the live-action film Barbie, a bewilderingly starry ensemble piece directed by indie darling Greta Gerwig, and starring Margot Robbie because the plastic toy. Based mostly on the 2 minutes of footage up for supply it’s an odd mixture of Technicolor irony and sexual innuendo, with a lot of articulated joint humour and smutty gags.

And, after all, we should always have fun these milestones: how nice it’s that feminine writers and administrators are being inspired to write down uninhibitedly — and on large salaries — about precisely what they please. They need to be helming epic blockbusters. And being wildly bold. They need to even be allowed to fail.

It simply feels a bit disappointing that usually they’re solely including a brand new patina to what are in any other case fairly insipid manufacturers. Why add “little spices” whenever you’ve acquired a lot else to make use of? Perhaps Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag Bond can be a full immersion, and she’s going to create a complete new style of motion movie. However I miss the refined poetry of extraordinary Fleabag, who spoke quieter, extra devastating truths about us all.

E mail Jo at jo.ellison@ft.com

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