In the modern era of “woke” cultural appropriation with longtime characters and historic figures being reimagined for the times, there is much buzz that the next actor who will portray the iconic secret agent James Bond will be a choice based on diversity and left-wing bomb thrower Elie Mystal isn’t going to take it very well if the future 007 isn’t black.
The role of Ian Fleming’s suave British spy recently opened up when actor Daniel Craig who has played the character in the last five installments of the decades-running series decided to hang up his tuxedo and Walther PPK, leading to speculation that it was time for a complete reboot of the character who many have called to be reimagined as black or gay, and a discussion of the future of the movie franchise was a topic of that turned heated on a recent edition of “Cuomo” on NewsNation.
Host Chris Cuomo welcomed the highly combustible Mystal, the justice correspondent for leftist publication “The Nation” and conservative political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes for a discussion of the next Bond that started well but soon flew off the rails.
“The word must kind of bothers me, what do you make of this situation?” Cuomo asked of the demands for a black Bond, lighting Mystal’s fuse.
“Nobody is saying, ‘oh my God, James Bond can never be white ever again. That’s not the issue here.” Mystal said. “The issue here is he’s been white for like six actors and now maybe it’s time to open up the casting to like the global community,” Mystal said. “You’ll notice that the people freaking out about the possibility that James Bond will be black did not freak out about the reality that they made James Bond blonde,” arguing that Craig’s hair color was completely different from all of the previous Bonds.
“Where was the freak out then?” Mystal asked. “They’re opening up the casting, I don’t see why anyone can have a problem with that.”
Hughes then noted the insistence by an industry exec saying the new Bond won’t be white, “And I think that once again we are sitting here and we are putting race and gender as a priority over actually talent and merit and that is what the issue with this is. If Hollywood thinks they’re gonna continue to be woke and cover up their sins by the past by just recreating a character and putting a different skin color on him, I think that’s actually insulting to the black community.”
“I mean, why is there this expectation that he has to be a black actor?” Cuomo later asked.
“I don’t think there’s an expectation that he has to be a black actor,” Mystal answered. “Again. I disagree with the premise here. The idea is that he has been white for six iterations and there is no problem in opening it up to other people.”
“The idea that you’ve just suggested that anybody who plays him is doomed to fail either tells me that you have not watched the Timothy Dalton James Bonds or that you did not watch “No Time to Die,” the last James Bond, which was horrible, or you have not watched the amazing performances given by people like Regé-Jean Page, who I think is one of the people in the running for this role. He was in the, he’s in “Bridgerton.” He was in “Dungeons and Dragons.” He’s fantastic. He has perfect diction. Like what? The idea that anybody black is doomed to fail is the definition of why it’s about time somebody black was James Bond. Just to prove you wrong,” Mystal ranted.
Hughes shot back, “You’re not. You’re not. You’re totally misrepresenting what I said. I didn’t say anybody black. I said anybody! And I’m an originalist. I like Sean Connery. I said, anybody. And we are only talking about black characters. We’re not talking about any of the other actors to take this place. And every character that’s been replaced has been black. So there’s a reason why people are saying that it’s going to be a black person that is going to replace him. So that, but it’s all based on…”
After some crosstalk, Mystal said, “Every character who has been replaced, has been black like in like in global history? Like, I don’t even know. You say.”
“Have you seen a Hispanic replace a white person in one of the recent films?” Hughes asked. “No. And yet what.”
Mystal replied, “What recent film are you talking about? Of course, we have so much more opportunities given to Hispanic actors. We’ve seen more opportunities given to. But once the I just saw “Kenobi” which had one of its key persons be an AAPI actor like this is happening…”
“But this is the placement of old original characters on diversity,” Hughes responded. “It’s not diverse. It’s only one sector that is getting it…”
“Is the argument that there aren’t enough opportunities for white people in Hollywood?” Mystal raved. “Is that what you’re going with?”
Cuomo was then able to get things under control and ended the contentious segment.
The James Bond character was first played on the big screen by the legendary Sean Connery who helmed the franchise through six of the first seven films in the 1960s including such enduring classics as “Goldfinger,” From Russia With Love,” and “Diamonds are Forever,” with Australian George Lazenby taking over for one shot with “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Roger Moore then took the wheel for the next seven movies beginning with 1973’s “Live and Let Die” and ending with 1985’s “A View to a Kill” before he called it a career.
Also portraying the character were Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan before Craig’s version of a humorless, bad-assed Bond more faithful to the Fleming novels debuted in 2006 with “Casino Royale” and ended in 2021’s “No Time to Die,” possibly the end of an era for the traditional 007.
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