Inverse spy flick


I was reading this treatment for a gender-reversed James Bond-style movie, and it made me feel funny. It also made me want to spend money at the movie theater.

This is a bad thing, right?

Comments

  1. dianne says

    I would watch this. I would break my no Hollywood rule to watch this. I would stand in line on opening day cosplaying one of the characters to see this. Please, Hollywood, do it!

  2. Gregory Greenwood says

    Someone needs to make this. Now. *Insert obligatory take my money meme here*

    I am sure Dame Mirren could be persuaded to take the lead if Hollywood throws enough money and beautifully muscled young men at her. They should start with Kit Harrington (the ladies like him and his abs, right? Those and his dreamy eyes… er… what were we talking about? Ah yes, gender-reversed Bond Movie), and then see how many more beef cakes they have to hire before she cracks…

  3. says

    That could be an epic movie! But you’d need someone who gets black humor. Someone who can make you laugh while you’re knee deep in blood and gore. I think wee need to see for ourself how absurd things really are.

  4. lotharloo says

    Sorry to be pessimistic but Hollywood may try to do this at some point in close or distant future but it will undoubtedly suck horribly as a movie.

  5. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I would certainly welcome such an offering and be first in line at the box-office.
    yet. Haven’t there been an occasional female Bond going all Bond, that may have been criticized as a copycat movie? Recently, Angelina Jolie did a pretty good Bond imitation with Salt. Not quite female Bond. still worth mentioning.
    The proposal presented at the link, is full up inverse-Bond-ian that I would bet against ever happening, regardless of clamor for it to happen.
    Seems Hollywood only producers what they want, and spend gobs on advertising: telling us we want it; rather than listening to what people want and figuring out how to produce it.
    ack, grumpy me, just overgeneralizing…nevermind

  6. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    searching for Salt in IMDB, was reminded of the female Bond they had back in the early ’70’s.
    Emma Peel, was more the Bond, with Steed performing the inverse Moneypenny. No matter how much they tried to sell it as Steed being Bond, and Peel as an active Moneypenny.
    Quite a missed opportunity. Rigg is killing her performances in GOT, yet far removed from Emma Peel.

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    rats. once again. html tag fail. only Salt was to be italicized, not the rest of that

  8. taraskan says

    PZ and Slithey, why exactly do you want to see this? I would feel as uncomfortable watching this as I do watching Bond.

  9. Siobhan says

    @1 dianne:

    I would break my no Hollywood rule to watch this.

    I don’t think you’d have to, because no one in Hollywood believes a project like this would turn a profit. :P

    That said, 12/10, would watch all the times.

  10. taraskan says

    Everyone seems to be echoing the same thoughts, so please, help me out. Does anyone here care to explain in a little detail why you would want to see this beyond the novelty of it just the one time? Or are you saying it would be cool just so that a thing like this exists and then not become normal? The idea of the thing, the post linked in the OP, is a useful tool/thought experiment to show the sexism inherent in Hollywood, and it is indeed funny, but if what it is describing were replaced as the norm, it would be just as terrible, wouldn’t it? Isn’t that what this blog has been saying for ten years? Or is social awkwardness stopping me from seeing something obvious here? When someone says “12/10 would watch all the times”, I get the impression they mean something like liking it for itself and not as a commentary on sexism in film.

    Feminism is about equality. Why do people have to see the world through this dumbfuck sub/dom lens? I, too, want to see films where the female protagonist can be kick-ass awesome incidentally instead of Strong Female Character defined only by her for-some-reason-bizzare ability to do Man Stuff owing to having four brothers, but sweet fancy moses this isn’t it.

    Here’s an experiment; the film Spy already hits most of the things on that list. It’s a fine movie, and I laughed throughout, but it shouldn’t have escaped anyone paying attention that every male character was either a liar, oblivious, or eye candy, which Paul Feig has said was the point. That can totally happen now and then and be fine, if it’s incidental, and I can certainly think of hundreds of films where it’s the other way around and due to sexist male writers, but do you want that to happen even most of the time, in most films?

    Another experiment, think of a film with an all white cast. That probably took all of two seconds. Is it acceptable for that to be a thing, outside of Iceland? Maybe a few times a year just by sheer randomness, but if it happens as a rule in a society where everyone isn’t one color, you have a problem, and you should feel uncomfortable.

    And because people can be a little testy here about the sort of things I post let me include this disclaimer (I got accused of rape culture in another thread for saying I’d rather write-in Elizabeth Warren’s name than vote for Clinton in the primaries, so who the fuck knows anymore). I am not an MRA. I identify as male. I am not a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I’m an atheist, feminist, socialist academic who accepts the fluidity of sexuality and gender. I read these posts because I usually agree with them, but this one has me wicked confused.

  11. Nick Gotts says

    the female Bond they had back in the early ’70’s. Emma Peel – slithey tove@7

    1965-7. I knew your dating was wrong, because Diana Rigg as Emma Peel was one of my early crushes! (I was born in 1954.)

    OTOH, I have never watched a Bond movie – a record I now treasure and carefully maintain. So I’m not sure a gender-reversed one would mean much to me.

  12. Nick Gotts says

    Interesting, now I come to think of it, that she was always “Mrs. Peel” to Steed. I can’t remember if her marital status (still married/widowed/divorced/separated) was ever specified, but if he’d called her “Emma” or “Miss Peel” the implied relationship would have been quite different. She called him “Steed”.

  13. =8)-DX says

    @taraskan #12

    Does anyone here care to explain in a little detail why you would want to see this beyond the novelty of it just the one time?

    I’ll give my take. First some premises:
    1. It’s not necessarily intrinsically immoral or wrong to portray sexualised characters in films, or to have characters who are part of the stylistic/visual experience and whose personality is not relevant to the story.
    2. What is problematic is the disproportionate representation of women this way, and adherance to misogynistic gender roles and sexist stereotypes.
    3. We all suffer from subconscious biases learned from society. Constantly challenging these biases allows us to be better aware of them and counteract their influence.

    So for me this kind of film would be great not only as a one-off novelty film, but as a useful reminder of all the things we wrongly take for granted. In the ideal egalitarian utopia of the future, films would portray sexualised men AND women without them being reduced to dehumanised tropes and the anti-Bond film would be seen as a kind of historical joke. But since we’re not their yet, the more media that turns upside-down the preconceptions of gender roles in film, the better. Furthermore it seems like your problem is with any portrayal of a sexualised dehumanised “eye-candy” character. What makes the OP linked film idea attractive to me is however its exploration of male sexuality/ fragility/ emotions. I want to see more of the “female gaze” in film, I want to see how my own perceptions of sex and gender break down when conflicted with others. Heck, women do sometimes objectify men: I want to see what that looks like, want that to be part of media storytelling even if I don’t think it’s a good thing.

    Case in point: the parody versions of Thicke’s rape-quote lyrics hit Blurred Lines, see: here,
    here and
    here. Which are all role-refersal male-female parodies of the original song, with sexualised male dancers in their underwear, copying all the sexually-objectifying poses and camera angles of the original. Do you think any of these parody versions dehumanise men? I’d say they don’t, because the context makes it obvious how absurd such sexualisation is while at the same time showing a playful and interesting view of male bodies in a culture where men are dominant. These parodies where created with willing and enthusiastic participation from the male actors and create a refreshing counterpoint to the mess that was Blurred Lines, a videoclip that is still up on YouTube and I rewatch these every now and again for a good laugh and to counteract the bad taste in my mouth after hearing Blurred Lines play in the radio at the pub, in the club. Similarly shooting a fem-Bond film wouldn’t erase the existence of actual Bond films, the culture of female objectification or the number of run-of-the-mill male hero-worship films coming out each year, but would act as a lasting counterpoint.

    Finally I guess you’re right that Spy already does many of the same things the suggested anti-Bond film would do, but it required a strong slapstick-comedy bent to pull that off and make it acceptable to a sufficient audience. What the suggested film would do would be to make a full Bond fiml – i.e. one that appears to take itself seriously in plot, acting, settings, but eventually reveals the unsavoury absurdity of the actual Bond formula (also only pretend-serious films).

    cheers,
    =8)-DX

  14. Dunc says

    Nick Gotts, @15: Emma Peel was married, but her husband was a missing pilot, lost in the Amazon. His surprise return was why she left at the end of season 5.

    Whilst the precise relationship between Steed and Peel was kept carefully ambiguous on-screen, I understand that Patrick Macnee believed that they were occasional lovers, whilst Diana Rigg thought they just enjoyed flirting with each other. Brian Clemens supposedly wrote them with the idea that they had previously had an affair.

    I don’t think you can really compare Steed and Peel with Bond and Moneypenny, no matter which way around you put them – the dynamic is entirely different. Steed and Peel were equal partners, both very active, just with different operating styles and skill sets. Moenypenny was just a secretary.

  15. Anri says

    Sadly, I would imagine that the only way this would get done is if the guys from Scary Movie did a purely parodic version of it. A sort of “This is why James Bond movies would be silly if the genders were reversed” kind of thing. The punchline at the end being that at the climactic struggle over the McGuffin, both sides are amazed to discover it’s not there/already deactivated/no longer relevant. You see, while the female main cast, baddies and heroes alike, were showboating around in classic Bond fashion, a quietly grim briefly-glimpsed-once (all-male) Seal Team Six very professionally slipped in and took care of the mission behind the scenes, thus showing the silly womenfolk up.
    Bonus points if one (or both) of the main female characters are presented as being well past their prime, preferably with jokes about body odors.

    *sigh* I just wrote a successful screenplay, didn’t I?

  16. Just an Organic Regular Expression says

    I hope y’all watching the currently-showing mini-series “The Night Manager”? Because the boss spy, managing the heck out of everything and everyone, is a heavily pregnant female. Olivia Coleman[1], last seen as the tormented cop/mother in “Broadchurch”, is playing the heck out of this role.

    The series also features Hugh Laurie as the slickest, most seductively evil person you can imagine, and eye candy in the shapes of Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Debicki, but Coleman dominates every scene she’s in.

    [1] http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1469236/?ref_=tt_cl_t4

  17. moarscienceplz says

    Steed and Peel were equal partners, both very active, just with different operating styles and skill sets.

    Weellll….I think that is true for some of the episodes, although it is never in doubt that Steed is the leader. I suppose Steed constantly telling Mrs. Peel where to go and what to do next could be excused because he is the experienced professional spy and she is the “talented amateur”. However, there are far too many times where the bad guys are stalking Emma through a haunted house/abandoned factory/desolate quarry where she spends all her time running around like a frightened bunny bleating, “Steed! Steed! Steed!”

  18. Rich Woods says

    @JaO RegExp #19:

    but Coleman dominates every scene she’s in

    That tends to be true with almost anything she does. Tyrannosaur is a fine example.

  19. chigau (違う) says

    running around like a frightened bunny bleating, “Steed! Steed! Steed!”
    huh
    I must have missed that episode.

  20. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Read the whole thing:

    10/10 Would watch… 1010 times.

  21. Dunc says

    I must have missed that episode.

    Me too, and I’ve got the 50th Anniversary box set…

    Sure, The Avengers was not an absolutely perfect model of gender equality (how could it be?), but it was a lot better than most things produced today… For its time, it was really quite remarkable.

  22. rq says

    What makes the OP linked film idea attractive to me is however its exploration of male sexuality/ fragility/ emotions. I want to see more of the “female gaze” in film, I want to see how my own perceptions of sex and gender break down when conflicted with others. Heck, women do sometimes objectify men: I want to see what that looks like, want that to be part of media storytelling even if I don’t think it’s a good thing.

    Exactly this.
    Plus I hardly think there’s any danger of these sorts of movies becoming the tipping point into a women-dominated, man-objectifying universe where all men are forced into semi-nudity and perfect abs.
    Or something. I may be feeling slightly distracted right now.

  23. dianne says

    a women-dominated, man-objectifying universe where all men are forced into semi-nudity and perfect abs.

    (Blink, blink.) Yeah, that’d be…terrible. All those lovely perfectly sculpted muscles, displayed for the female gaze. How…awful. Clearly, I’ll have to think about the horrific implications a bit longer.

    Well, actually, it kind of would be awful if men were objectified in the same way women are, but given that there’s little danger of that, I feel pretty safe contemplating the occasional sweaty male ab.

  24. chigau (違う) says

    I’m concerned about how they will display their abs and their butts
    at the same time.

  25. dianne says

    I’m concerned about how they will display their abs and their butts
    at the same time.

    That requires…flexibility. Flexibility can be quite lovely, especially in men wearing clothing that has an abs window.

  26. taraskan says

    Thanks @16 for a serious response.

    @15
    That’s fine, because I can’t tell if you’re joking.