There are long running film franchises, and then there's James Bond. Eon productions has been bringing 007 to theaters for decades, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Quite a few iconic actors have taken on Bond's signature tuxedo and martini throughout the years, with Daniel Craig playing the MI6 agent for the past decade and change. His time as 007 will come to an end with Cary Joji Fukunaga's No Time to Die. While the Bond franchise hasn't had a great history in regards to its treatment of women, actress Léa Seydoux actually believes that it's the protagonist who is overly sexualized in the current incarnation, rather than the Bond Girls.
Léa Seydoux debuted as Dr. Madeleine Swann in Spectre, and will reprise her role in No Time to Die. Daniel Craig's tenure as Bond saw the franchise embrace serialized storytelling, and give some more agency to the female characters-- rather than reducing them to sex symbols. And according to Seydoux, its actually Bon who is the sex symbol in the modern movies. As she tells it,
What we forget is that James Bond is also a sexual object. He's one of the few, maybe one of the only, male characters to be sexualized. I think that women, they love to see Bond, no? To see his body. No? Don't you think? I love to see sexy men in bathing suits.
Well, she's got a point. James Bond has been a sexual figure in the past as well. And considering Daniel Craig's hulking physique and penchant for wearing small bathing suits on screen, he might be more sexualized than the women for the last five movies.
Léa Seydoux's comments to Harpers Bazaar addresses the way that women have been treated in the James Bond franchise. In the classic days of Sean Connery, there was some blatant misogyny shown onscreen, with the Bond Girls being over-sexualized with names like Pussy Galore and being slapped on the ass. The women haven't always been fully realized characters either, as the anthology movie set up replaced the women with each new release.
But the Bond property stepped into the modern age during Daniel Craig's time as 007. The franchise embraced serialized storytelling, allowing the protagonist to grow and change with each of his new experiences. The women were more than just place holders, with Dr. Madeleine Swann set to make her second appearance alongside the other dynamic female characters in No Time To Die. What's more, Fleabag writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge helped with the dialogue, and ensured that a female perspective was present during the story's development.