Phoebe Waller-Bridge: Bond didn’t need me to improve female storylines

Telegraph Reporters
Phoebe Waller-Bridge in May - PA

When it was announced that Phoebe Waller-Bridge was being brought on to the writing team of the forthcoming James Bond film, No Time to Die, many assumed that she would be updating the franchises’ notorious sexual politics for a post-#MeToo world.

Waller-Bridge, however, has said that wasn’t the case.

In an interview with Radio 4’s Today programme, Waller-Bridge played down her efforts on the Bond script, saying that “They were just looking for tweaks across a few of the characters and a few of the storylines”.

Asked if she was encouraged to update the concept of Bond, Waller-Bridge maintained that she was not  told to change the culture of the films.

“They were already doing that themselves,” she said. “They’re having that conversation with themselves the whole time. It (her involvement) was much more practical. Just, ‘You’re a writer, we need some help with these scenes. And you come up with some dialogue for these characters’.”

Nevertheless, Waller-Bridge’s involvement is somewhat historic: she is only the second woman to earn a writing credit on a Bond film since the franchise began 57 years ago. Johanna Harwood previously contributed to Dr No and From Russia with Love. 

The film will give considerable screentime to a female agent, played by Lashana Lynch, who was also hopeful that Waller-Bridge’s writing would boost her script. “I very literally squealed when I first heard her name,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, British girl just like me. She’s going to know how to actually take care of women onscreen’”.

Waller-Bridge ended up having the last laugh on Today, however. Surprised by the question of what Fleabag's “Hot Priest” would give as a Thought for the Day, she replied with simply one word: "Kneel".