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Koroush Ghazi
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Posted: 17 July 2019 at 5:53am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Thanks for clearing that up Brian. Seems I wasted my time getting an Economics degree, as all of this was totally new to me :(

Just kidding mate. At no point did I assert that making money is bad, nor that movies should EITHER make money OR be empowering. I even pointed out that these concepts are not mutually exclusive.

Regarding Bond: isn't the entire premise, the world of Bond, based around his character being a certain type of man, from a certain background? Slap the 007 designation on somebody else, like Rowan Atkinson, and you get Johnny English, not a James Bond movie. Slap 007 on a black woman and you get something else, not a Bond movie.

So who precisely is this movie being made for? Bond fans? Women? Rubberneckers?

In terms of identifying with the character, isn't it generally known regarding James Bond that the catchphrase is "Every man wants to be him, and every woman wants to be with him".

OK, so I think we've established that one motivation is making money. Again, my question is that, apart from cashing in on a recent phenomenon, which may help certain producers and actors enhance their bank accounts, what purpose does gender swapping 007 serve? Does it enhance the Bond franchise story-wise and character-wise? Does it respect Fleming's wishes and suit his style? Does it do justice to the concept of women achieving things on their own merit?

What next? Indiana Jones' sister Montana? A 2001 spin-off featuring the SAL 9000 computer? An all-female Dirty Dozen remake?*




* To any studio heads reading this, I have treatments for all of the above, please contact me.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 17 July 2019 at 6:11am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

SAL appeared in 2010.
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Mario Ribeiro
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Posted: 17 July 2019 at 8:35am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Kurosawa made Japanese movies from Shakespeare, Truffaut made French polar from American crime novels, Spike Lee made a Black American version of Lysistrata... Forget money, movies reflect what's around you. Hell, that's how Jesus became white: Italian painters from the 13th century had no National Geographic.

We're living in a diverse world (good), movies are gonna reflect that (good) including all those numerous movies (and there are too many of them) made from sources that come from our less diverse past.

That said, I do think that a lot of those changes are lazy and obvious (let's get a minor character and make him black!), but then I think there's a lot of lazy and obvious filmmaking nowadays.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 17 July 2019 at 9:09am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

What’s more important, diversity or accuracy? A Black 007 accurately reflects society. A Black Jim West does not.

“But these are not meant to be history lessons,” some say. Sure. And then we get HAMILTON.

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DW Zomberg
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Posted: 17 July 2019 at 12:32pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Hopefully we'll soon see Asian actors playing the role of slaves during the Civil War. 

Don Z
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John Byrne
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Posted: 17 July 2019 at 3:02pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Asians and Native Americans don’t seem well served by this quest for diversity.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 17 July 2019 at 6:50pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Hey, Koroush, sorry for the over-emphasis. 

But still, you're keeping to the "cashing in on a recent phenomenon" bit? Haven't you heard? These days, if you "get woke," you "go broke." It is deeply weird to me that you have opponents of this casting working both sides of the economic argument. On one hand, they want to save the studio from making a disastrous financial decision, since nothing could be clearer that these endeavors do nothing but fail on an epic scale, creating "cost-sunk fallacies" that could only exist if the "liberal agenda" were trying to "socially engineer" our very lives. Money matters nothing to these LGBTQ/Diversity-crazed madmen! They will stop at nothing to cram their politics down our unwitting gullets! Oh, woe is us that ever a day such as this should come!

Yet, here we have to defend against the opposite charge, that somehow the studio is throwing the 007 property under the bus, not because they are the mindless automatons of eeeeevil puppet master George Soros, but because they are... making a grab at somea' dat lovely lovely low-hanging fruit on the pop-culture money tree, junking decades of character integrity for the sake of easy money, right there for the picking. They could just make a straight-up 007 film with either Craig starring again or pick a new white guy, but no... They're selling out instead to those crazed crowds of diversity-hungry young folks who flood the theaters every time one of these things is announced, threatening to flood the box office with so much filthy lucre that the cash drawers spill out onto the floor and up to the knees of the hapless seventeen-year-old ticket takers.

Like I said, weird.

In any case, I don't know what the cash returns on projects like these are. STAR TREK: DISCOVERY is a win. GHOSTBUSTERS was not. I don't know where OCEAN'S 8 fits into the rubric. I hardly think the box office is a guarantee, no matter what approach is taken to diversity. They may simply be shooting, as studios do, to generate some buzz and hope that translates to sales at the box office. Raise some curiosity. Kick up some dust. Which is standard practice, no? 

"Slap 007 on a black woman, you get something else, not a Bond movie." I don't know that we can say that at this point. Bond is a character in the film. And we have no idea how this new 007 is going to be written or played. Fleming didn't simply create a single individual in his books. He created the world in which Bond operates as well, and made him part of an organization that sanctions him to do the sort of awful things that he does so well. He gave it all a veneer of class and sophistication intermixed with the moments of brutality and allowed the hero a measure of sardonic celebration of his successes along the way.

All of that is still very much on the table with this casting. Yes, we've moved on from the Cold War era, during which a Black secret agent would have seemed unlikely ("But that's what makes me such a good one," as someone once said) But that's been written into the films since the Brosnan era. The game has moved on and passed Bond by. Surely that was not in keeping with Fleming's original aims and intentions, but now... We've introduced race and gender and suddenly people are up in arms. They were fine with the modern-day settings and attitudes, so long as everyone remained White. And male. This happens, and well, now we have to start calling into question all those things we took in stride throughout the Brosnan and Craig years. 

Not because we hate diversity, of course, the critics protest, but because we love the property. Yet no one said anything about a modern setting until now. 

Like DOCTOR WHO, the 007 franchise prepped us for this move by switching up long-established members of the supporting cast like "M" and the Master (Heyyy... waitaminnit!) and yet this, this is a bridge too far. Too far. A little social change around the edges is fine, throw the disenfranchised a bone now and again, what the hey. But give them the keys to the Tardis or the Aston Martin, and suddenly something must be said! 

"Does this do justice to the concept of women achieving things on their own merit?" Well, now you've pissed me off. Why wouldn't it, Koroush? Why is it okay to hand over a multi-billion franchise to a guy but not to a woman? Why does she have to work harder? Find a different path to "earning it?" Why does he get to coast on the coattails of a massively successful franchise but the woman must stand aside and let him go by while she struggles in her low-budget indie world? 

Would you buy Lashana Lynch in "Atomic Blonde 2: Not a Blonde" but insist she not be allowed on the 007 gravy train because, well... reasons? Until when? Ever? Can she never headline an established franchise? She has to build her own from scratch in order to play with the big boys? As far as the studio is concerned, she's right for this. Do they know anything at all about what they're doing? Or is there an "order to things" that this upsets? 

She won the part. That's all it takes. Had it gone to, say, Henry Cavill, we might question his suitability for the part, but would we be asking if he's really earned it? Does it do his people a disservice to make things so easy for him, giving him a big role in a big franchise? Shouldn't he, y'know, struggle for us a bit more? Doesn't this encourage Cavill's type to be lazy and shiftless, as they are, simply giving them this undeserved prize? Just handing them something everyone else had to work for? Was there a quota? It's still a mixed bag of compromises and shared screen time with the guy who previously held the top spot. Maybe you can take a quantum of solace in that. 


Edited by Brian Hague on 17 July 2019 at 6:54pm
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 17 July 2019 at 6:59pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Asians and Native Americans don’t seem well served by this quest for diversity.

——

TV has gotten better. Movies still need to do some catching up. 
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Koroush Ghazi
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Posted: 17 July 2019 at 7:36pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

 John Byrne wrote:
SAL appeared in 2010.


Looks like I outsmartassed myself :( Completely forgot about that JB.


 Brian Hague wrote:
Well, now you've pissed me off. Why wouldn't it, Koroush? Why is it okay to hand over a multi-billion franchise to a guy but not to a woman? Why does she have to work harder? Find a different path to "earning it?" Why does he get to coast on the coattails of a massively successful franchise but the woman must stand aside and let him go by while she struggles in her low-budget indie world?


Woah, easy there Brian, I'm not trying to piss you off. This has nothing to do with handing over a franchise "to a woman", it has to do with transforming the central male character in a franchise into someone who is not the character that established the franchise - a bait and switch basically.

I repeat, I see this current gender swapping trend in movies motivated almost entirely by greed, with possibly a small amount of misguided altruism, and giving entirely the wrong signal.

The simplest way I can put across what I'm saying is this: I think it's actually incredibly insulting to women, minorities, and any one else who may be marginalized, to say that a new, original, interesting character who is a woman, or an asian, or black, or handicapped, cannot become successful/popular on their own merits.

If the audience wants a female spy, they should get an all-original female spy, not a female shoehorned as the new 007 into the world of Ian Fleming's James Bond. Want to cross-promote her? Sure, have her appear as a cameo in a Bond movie. But she isn't 007.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 17 July 2019 at 9:43pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

There is someone they could've starred in a film who was a leading secret agent in a franchise that began in the '60s...


Lady Penelope of Thunderbirds!
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Paul Kimball
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Posted: 17 July 2019 at 9:54pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Hmmm. I'm interested to see how this works out.
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Koroush Ghazi
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Posted: 17 July 2019 at 11:25pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

 Rebecca Jansen wrote:
Lady Penelope of Thunderbirds!


Modesty Blaise, another '60s female spy, could also easily be modernised:



Too hard, let's just make 007 a woman because the publicity (positive or negative) = more $$$.
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