Sunday, 5 June 2016

Character Gender Switch

The other day I was watching Ocean's Eleven (2001) for probably the hundredth time. It is one of my go to movies when I just want to watch something and I can't pick (the others are Dredd, Soapdish and Rear Window). While pondering why Tess Ocean (Julia Roberts) was with Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) in the first place or how those two even met, I thought, what if all the male roles were switched to female? The story would still work. The story is not based on gender, its a heist film with a bit of revenge. Think about it. Do the entire cast (apart from Roberts) really need to be male? You wouldn't even need to change any lines. Tess Ocean could be switched to male also. The only thing would be the name, Ocean, it might have to be the lead's maiden name. But that's a very small thing is a very big film/story. Personally, I think it could work.

This leads me on to the recent attack on female lead films that have been making waves. I'm sure everyone has heard about the Ghostbusters attacks. An all female lead cast instead of the male cast from the 80s classics. This vision of Ghostbusters has been damned by haters since the cast was announced. People hated it before anything was even made! I'll admit now that years ago when this was rumoured I didn't like it because it was called a 'remake'. BUT the upcoming film is a reboot of the Ghostbusters story while still paying homage to the classics. The film even has involvement from Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd, this bring hope that the film will be good. With every new bit of news, posters, stills, trailers, the haters have come out and trolled the internet with their bs. I say, give it a chance before you damn it. I did that with Twilight. Watched it, hated it, end of story. But I suppose haters gonna hate. Or as Judd Apatow said 'Ghostbusters haters are probably Trump supporters'.

Unfortunately, the rally against female leads continued with the release of the amazing looking first trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Felicity Jones is Jyn Erso, a solider of the rebel alliance, she takes the lead in this story which takes place before A New Hope. She, along with a group of other rebels, is tasked with stealing the plans for the Death Star. I;m sure everyone is aware of this film too and probably the negative backlash. Though not as big as Ghostbusters negative wave, Rogue One had the trolls commenting bs.

Saying 'oh great another female lead - really original Star Wars' is probably the one that stood out for me. I cannot comprehend a stupid comment like this. Aren't there countless science fiction and action films where the leads are men? Oh another male lead? So original Hollywood! This sort of comment and the others too, is beyond ridiculous. I've had a few Facebook arguments/discussions with someone but they just say the same old thing and try and sound clever while trying to belittle my opinion.

I had a few arguments surrounding female roles in film and feminism in general. Sometimes a fair point is raised but most of what is said is grandstanding bs. He says that things are exaggerated but I think its the opposite. There may only be a few comments visible but he is, in a way representing those unseen voices or 'haters'.

It doesn't stop there.

With the announcement from Gillian Anderson that she would like to play Bond, the internet has been slowly buzzing. Emilia Clarke has also said that she would like to be considered for Bond too and I think this is fantastic. Either of those two actresses would be brilliant in the role.

After my disappointment with Spectre, I said to my family, who all saw it and has similar ideas about it, why can't Bond be a woman? My Dad said back 'but, he's a bloke'. So? Why not have a female Bond? There was a female M - nothing wrong with that. Seeing that Gillian Anderson had thrown her hat into the ring, it felt like she read my mind. But I'm surely not the only person who was thinking this. Time Out had an article about all the actresses who they think could play Bond so I shared this on Facebook. That same guy wanted an argument/discussion, see below. This is just a snippet of what was said.

All I learnt from this was there is apparently 'NO NEED' for a female Bond. Who said anything about need, I WANT a female Bond. I would also be equally happy with a decent actor playing Bond, but I think now is the time for a female Bond to revitalise the franchise. His comment about Bond being 'an institution' really irritated me. I know it is but it doesn't have to be an 'old boy's club'. The comment that its not believable that a woman could fight a man and win. I think I was just sick. Please tell me if I'm crazy but that is a rather sexist comment, right? Female spies who are highly trained could fight a man AND win.

P.S. Remind me to just delete my FB account as I'm fed up with it.

With all this hate and closed minded-ness, I can only come to the conclusion that these trolls do not like seeing women in powerful, exciting, interesting roles. Women are only there to play the wife or the girlfriend or the neighbour or the secretary. Of course. Amy Schumer's brilliant awards skit rather summed it up.

I feel that there is still plenty of room in film and TV for great lead roles for actresses. So, in order to lead the way, I think Bond could and should be a woman.


  1. My thought is that if it doesn't specify in the source, having a female play the lead is fine. However, I'm pretty sure Ian Fleming specifies that Bond is a male.

  2. Bond is male in the books but, if its an originally story what's the harm in casting a woman?

  3. I have to agree with Jessica. Call me old-fashioned, but Bond movies were created based on the books. I would not pay to see a movie where they cast a woman as a very historically defined, iconic character. I know for a fact that I would be extremely upset if in 20 years they were to remake Harry Potter, and people thought it was OK to cast Harry as Harriet instead. If we (as females) want an awesome female spy movie, why does the character have to be Bond? Let's create something new and not overdone.

  4. Thinking "what if they just switched every male to female" while watching movies is interesting not only to imagine whether or not the movie would still work, but it also highlights the difference in how men and women are portrayed.

    I think a female Bond would be fantastic, especially if she'd be played by the amazing Gillian Anderson. That something has "always been that way" is no reason to keep doing it.
    Look at all the different interpretations of Sherlock Holmes for example. The BBC drama Sherlock takes place in modern times, while the show Elementary shows a modern time Sherlock and a female Watson. If we're not "allowed" to change a characters gender because we want to stay true to the original works, shouldn't there also be a problem with changing the time period? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle most certainly didn't write Sherlock Holmes with mobile phones and the Internet in mind.

    No matter how famous a character is I see no reason why we couldn't continue to poke them and see what new things we could make of them. Sometimes we take familiar characters and put them in new settings and new times just to see how it works. Switching genders is just one other way of exploring those characters and their stories.

  5. Agreed Sadie - females view the world differently than males, and a female spy would react to things differently than a male would/does. Think about your boyfriend/husband/brothers...any male in your life, when facing the same problem as you - do they deal with it in the same way?

  6. I asked my sister about this too and she thought a 008 story with a female agent/spy. To me, it sounds like a great concept but I can't help thinking that it feels like a bit of a spin off. I know what mean though, about men and women reacting differently to things. But do you agree that woman cannot realistically fight a man and win? I found that guy's comment offensive.

  7. There are some movies that I can't see the switch but there are some, like Ocean's Eleven where it isn't exactly imperative that they are all men.

    Everything else you said YES! I agree with you. If we aren't allowed to change things and try new ways of representing characters, we'd end up with the same old stories, same old characters. Dare I say that we could have a female Sherlock at some point in the future? Sometimes these changes are made and they are perfect - Katee Sackhoff played Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica and nailed it! Everything evolves, even stories and characters, so I'm glad you pointed this out. Also yes Gillian Anderson would be a brilliant Bond.

  8. Whether or not a woman could beat a man in a fight or not has nothing to do with my stance on this subject.

  9. Fair enough. The argument I had with the guy on Facebook escalated to things like this. His reasoning for was that a woman couldn't realistically play Bond.

  10. No, you're not - guys don't like to believe that a girl can beat them at anything. However, if I'm not mistaken there are certain fighting styles that don't rely on brute force as much. Regardless, it also doesn't change my view on the subject - plus don't you think that a woman would figure out a way to defeat the enemy/bad guy without resorting to violence?

  11. Yes, exactly - evolution happens (and should happen) everywhere, even in fictional universes.
    Since we already have a female Watson we should definitely get a female Sherlock! Personally, I'm mostly longing for the day we get Doctor Who regenerating as a woman. :D

  12. I think I'm waiting for that day too :)

  13. I think thats the first thing they'd do, violence second, if its needed (in Bond world of course). But if you're Melinda May then I think violence comes naturally. I didn't think this would change your view as what you said is fair. Both you and Sadie brought up points that didn't demean woman in the role.

    After all this discussion I'm now dying to know who gets cast in the new Bond film. I'm pretty sure its will be a male actor but I still want to know :)

  14. I definitely agree that a woman could beat a male. You're correct, my issue with casting a woman as Bond is really more on my fundamental with respecting the original artist's (in this case the author's) work. I'm not ok with guys just being a**es about men being superior to women. That's a different story.