Monday, August 17, 2015

The Name is Bond, Jane Bond?

The name is Bond, Jane Bond??

Last week I saw an article in the internet about "the new James Bond". Being 5:30am, and not quite had my first sips of coffee, I thought the article introduced the new man to play (act) Bond in upcoming films, once Daniel Craig relinquishes the role. The actor named was David Oyelowo, a well-known British actor. He happens to be black. He played Danny in MI5, a BBC favorite show of mine, until he was killed by enemy terrorists. I was sad to see him go.

But I was actually appalled, when I thought he was to "play" Bond on screen. We have become so overly politically correct these days, that I thought the Bond franchise had decided it was high time for a black Bond. No matter how good the actor, or actress, there are some roles that HAVE to be played as they were always intended. Bond must be a white, well-tailored British man, more than slightly misogynist, though charming and irresistible. (Don't get mad now, it's only a story).

If you're Indiana Jones, you must be Harrison Ford. If you're The Thin Man, you must be William Powell. If you are Rhett Butler, you must be Clark Gable. And for that matter, if you are Scarlett O'Hara, you must be Vivian Leigh.
Can you imagine if Indy was an Asian; Captain Kirk was gay; Hannibal Lector was Jeffrey Dawmer (haha ...just kidding).

So I started thinking about political correctness from the 18th Century, and how certain characters in literature just have to be who they are to "get it right". 

The Scarlett Pimpernel is set in 1792, during the early stages of the French Revolution. he is actually Sir Percy, a wealthy English baronet who rescues people sentenced to the guillotine. He's a master of disguise, a fop, great swordsman, escape artist, kind of the Bond of his day. He always leaves behind his card showing a pimpernel flower. Now, you can't have a rugged, Neanderthal, he-man type play the part; he must be rather dignified, precise, elegant. The choice of calling card art says a lot. And so, in the movies, Leslie Howard was the perfect choice.

The successful 1988 film "Dangerous Liaisons" was based on French author Francois Choderlos de Laclos' 1782 novel Les Liasons Dangeureuses, based on a cruel wager plotted by the beautiful but debauched Marquise de Merteuil, played bGlenn Close, and her misogynistic former lover, the Vicomte de Valmont (John Malkovitch). Valmont should seduce a very moral virgin before she can be wed. Of course, typical of stories of this nature, and from this time, there are twists and turns, but Malkovitch played the part to manipulative and dangerous perfection. Imagine if the Vicomte was Tom Hanks. Too good-natured, sweet, noble. That's why Hanks plays the quintessential American hero, and not a villian.

So, this being said, we better stick with Bond as we know him, and forget being politically correct.I mean, even though he was pretty hot back in the day, we wouldn't want Shaft as Bond. He's better off left on the mean streets of Harlem, and not the international haunts of Monaco or The Bahamas. If we're not careful, next thing we know, Bond might have to be Jane!

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