When it was announced last year that Phoebe Waller-Bridge – the fourth wall-breaking, female hero-writing, all-round creative genius – had been drafted to work on the script for No Time To Die, wild speculation immediately arose.
Did this mean Bond was going woke? Was it a sign that the film's female characters would have personalities and smart lines and not just be there for Bond to shag then shoot? Or was this just an under-fire franchise paying lip service to a post-#MeToo world?
Well, speculate no more (OK, speculate a little bit less) because the Fleabag and Killing Eve creator has finally revealed exactly what her role was on No Time To Die. Speaking to Chris Evans on his Virgin Radio breakfast show, she explained her job was to offer "dialogue polishes" and "alternatives", rather than wholesale rewrites.
“They did give me some scenes and then be like, can you write some alternatives for this or have another idea about where it could go in the middle or how it would end. And then I would just give them options and various scenes and then they would take what they want. But there was a lot people writing – the director [Cary Fukunaga] was a writer on it as well. And there’d been a few writers before.
Which hopefully means a Bond film in which the characters speak like actual people, rather than sociopaths. "That's a waste of good scotch" remains Bond's death quip nadir.
Somewhat astonishingly, Waller-Bridge is the only the second woman to get a writing credit on a Bond film. The first, Joanna Harwood, worked on Dr No and From Russia With Love.
Even before Waller-Bridge got involved, the scripting process for No Time To Die had been fairly convoluted. Longtime writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who've been involved in every Daniel Craig iteration of Bond, were originally tapped to write it, before being ejected when Danny Boyle was drafted to direct – he wanted to work with his longtime partner John Hodge. When Boyle left – supposedly because he wanted to kill Bond off – Hodge's script went too.
That meant Purvis and Wade were brought back, and later joined by Paul Haggis (Casino Royale; Quantum of Solaceim电竞官网-) and, later, Scott Z Burns, who both provided uncredited rewrites. Finally, Waller-Bridge joined the team, after she was requested by Craig. As he later put it: "she the best fucking writer around". No arguments there, Daniel.