Casting Jane Bond
In a speech presumably designed to attract more females to MI6, the head of Britain’s Secret Service last week revealed that in real life, James Bond sidekick and gadget extraordinaire Q is a woman.
The tech wizard has always been played by a man – from Fawlty Towers’ John Cleese to current incumbent Ben Whishaw – but I think that in this day and age we can go one better. The head of M16, M, has already been portrayed by a woman – Dame Judi Dench, who held the position for ten years between 2002 and 2012.
Why not give the role of the world’s premier super spy to a member of the fairer sex? Yes, some would argue that James Bond is defined by his masculinity. The fast cars, the high tech gadgets, the womanising. I say – rubbish! Anything James can do, Jane can do…better.
Despite being gently reminded by my boyfriend that I am not in charge of casting for Sony Pictures (yet!), I've been on the hunt for my perfect Jane Bond for the past year and decided it was high time I put forward my top five candidates for the role:
#5 Rosamund Pike
Pike has been around for so long that it’s hard to believe that she’s only 38! The only member of my top five to have actually played a Bond Girl (in 2002’s best left forgotten Die Another Day) arguably her finest hour came with an Oscar-nominated performance in Gone Girl, as the sociopath ‘gone’ girl of the title. Although she comes with an impressive pedigree, Pike is arguably unproven as an ‘action-heroine’, and it remains to be seen how she would handle the wall to wall physicality of the role.
#4 Freema Agyeman
Agyeman’s experience as the tardis-hopping medical student Martha Jones in Doctor Who’s third series would stand her in good stead for the outlandish adventures that are commonplace for a 00 agent.
The actress, who has also starred in Doctor Who spin off Torchwood and recent Netflix Drama Sense8, has an everyman quality that isn’t always associated with 007. Often seen as a perennial sidekick, winning the part of Jane Bond would give her an opportunity to shine in the centre stage.
#3 Rachel Weisz
Having been married to Daniel Craig since 2010, Weisz must have a rare insight into the (fictional) life of an MI6 super sleuth. She has experience in action flicks like The Mummy and Constantine, and a sense of refinement and class that would be perfect for the first female 007.
My only worry is that Weisz is arguably TOO good – Bond has always worked best when played by a relative unknown, freed from the expectations of previous roles (I for one struggle to separate her from her excellent performance in About A Boy!).
#2 Sarah Lancashire
Already touted by the Daily Telegraph as a possible Jane Bond last year, Lancashire is more understated than some of my other choices.
Despite a number of previous memorable roles – my favourite being strong willed headteacher Caroline from Last Tango in Halifax – it is only with the gritty BBC Drama Happy Valley that she has been able to showcase her more ‘kick-ass’ side, as Police Sergeant Catherine Cawood. Lancashire has a hard edge to her – best demonstrated in Happy Valley, and would certainly be a match for anything that the part could throw at her.
#1 Suranne Jones
Despite a number of award-winning TV performances, Coronation Street alumni Suranne Jones has never been given a crack at the big screen. It is difficult to see why – whether she is taking down baddies as Sergeant Rachel Bailey or uncovering a deceitful husband as Dr. Foster, Jones brings an irrepressible blend of intensity, drive and humour to her every role. I am a huge fan.
No, she isn't well known on the world stage, but the role of 007 is rarely taken on by a bona-fide superstar. It might be a risk, but I say – sign her up!