Fleabag creator reportedly working on Bond 25

The Mail reports Phoebe Waller-Bridge is now working on the Bond 25 script.

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Over the weekend a number of papers reported that Phoebe Waller-Bridge is now onboard Bond 25, the latest in a string of writers to work on the script.

The actress, writer, playwright and director is best known for Fleabag and Killing Eve.

Curiously, Catching Bullets author Mark O’Connell mentioned on episode 4 of the James Bond & Friends podcast (on which I also appeared) that Waller-Bridge would be a great choice for 007. Given that Barbara Broccoli also co-produced the recent off broadway stage version of Fleabag, it doesn’t sound like too much of a stretch that she already had the same idea and asked Waller-Bridge to give the script a final polish.

The problems with the story are multiple, starting with the fact it first appeared in the Daily Mail. The paper is notorious for poor quality journalism with stories that have little or no basis in fact. The one exception with regard to 007 in Baz Bamigboye, who usually turns out to be correct when he reports on Bond. This story wasn’t by him.

The Mail writes:

One plot being considered involves Craig’s ageing Bond retired and now living in Jamaica – the island where 007 author Ian Fleming had his Goldeneye retreat. The 007 number has been taken up by a new agent – a woman – who embarks on a mission which forces Bond to come out of retirement.

This sounds suspiciously like a discussion from one episode of James Bond & Friends, although I don’t recall whether it was the same episode as Mark made his suggestion. If you’ve got a better memory for these things than me then please leave a comment!

The paper also states the script will receive a “comprehensive makeover for the MeToo era”, which has many fans up in arms. I’ve also seen complaints on twitter about bringing in a female writer for the series.

Here’s some 50 year old news: Johanna Harwood worked on the screenplays for Dr No and From Russia With Love. You might also recall that one of the bosses at Eon Productions is female.

While the claims made in the Mail have been repeated by various websites, so far it seems like Chinese whispers. I haven’t yet seen anything to suggest a real source for this story. On the other hand Mark may have been ahead of the curve on this one and made a startlingly prescient prediction.

I’d like to think that the Mail has some basis to make these claims, but what is certainly untrue is that the script is being radically rewritten at this stage.

If Waller-Bridge is indeed working on Bond 25 it will be to knock the existing script into place and/or polish the dialogue, not emasculate 007. But I wouldn’t put it past the Mail to simply publish in an attempt to to enrage part of the fan base.

David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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