Gillian Anderson
Gillian Anderson shook up the Internet by tossing her fedora into the ring for the role of Bond, tweeting along to the hashtag #NextBond,

Gillian Anderson seeks an iconic movie role.

He’s one of the most iconic figures in movie history.

So what about…Jane Bond?

Someone told me there couldn’t be a Jane Bond because then there wouldn’t be Bond girls. After I stopped rolling my eyes and the fantasy tape stopped playing, I said, “Why not?”

I’d never thought about who I might like to see as Jane Bond, but when Gillian Anderson shook up the Internet by tossing her fedora into the ring for the role of Bond, tweeting along to the hashtag #NextBond, she seemed perfect.

Anderson is already the heartthrob of millions of lesbians, bisexuals and straight women (men, too) after her years playing Agent Dana Scully on The X Files. The cult series made a brief reprise a few months ago, which merely whetted the appetites of myriad fans of Anderson for more.

Anderson has also starred as the maybe lesbian detective Stella Gibson in BBC’s The Fall with Archie Panjabi, who starred for several seasons on The Good Wife and is herself a lesbian heartthrob.

When Anderson tweeted herself as 007 on May 21, thousands of people were totally down with it. Last year there had been immense controversy when black British actor Idris Elba was floated as a possible Bond. Few have objected to the prospect of Anderson, but that may be because no one is taking it very seriously.

Except for me. And a bazillion people on Twitter.

And Anderson herself.

The current Bond, British actor Daniel Craig, has been in the role since 2005, taking over from the previous Bond, Pierce Brosnan. Craig has starred in five Bond films: the remake of Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Blood Stone, Skyfall and Spectre.

Last week it was reported that Craig had turned down £60m to make two more films with the franchise. However, the Guardian reported, “Craig was yet to make a decision on his future as Bond.”

Elba was the subject of much speculation and numerous articles as a possible Bond. So much so that the star of BBC’s Luther finally said in an interview last year with the Daily Telegraph, “I’m probably the most famous Bond actor in the world, and I’ve not even played the role. Enough is enough. I can’t talk about it anymore.”

I like Craig as Bond – and he is one of the best, if more rugged and less elegant than some of the previous Bonds. Yet that is more in keeping with Ian Fleming’s novels upon which the series is based.

But the thought of Anderson as a female Bond set my heart aflutter. In recent years there has been much discussion over the dearth of female superheroes on screen.

Isn’t the time ripe for Jane Bond?

Anderson herself seems to think so.

But other Bonds have weighed in. Roger Moore, who previously disliked the idea of a black Bond when Elba’s name was floated, and who is viewed as the quintessential Bond, says Jane Bond won’t work because Jane is…not male.

The Telegraph’s Tim Stanley put it more succinctly–if misogynistically. “Give Bond breasts and we lose the magic behind the character, the reason why he’s lasted so long. Bond is not like Doctor Who, a character that regenerates and reinvents itself every few years – with no logical reason why he couldn’t be a female.

Bond is cast in primeval stone, unchanged by the centuries. He’s an alpha male who kills bad guys with foreign accents and beds beautiful ladies… with foreign accents.”


Anderson, who lives in England and the U.S. and switches accents the way other women switch purses, can do foreign accents. And she’s proven she’s attractive to all genders. And she’s a stupendous actress.

Her as Lily Bart in Terence Davies’ languid film of Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth left me sobbing in the theatre. I literally couldn’t leave my seat for ten minutes after the credits had rolled, she was that good.

Stanley thinks Anderson is one of the best actresses of her generation (she’s 47), but is averse to her as Bond because, well, tradition.

“The tag line on the Fleming paperbacks read: ‘James Bond: The man every man wants to be and every woman wants between her sheets.’ He’s Lancelot, Siegfried, Mike Hammer. He’s a man. You could turn him into a woman but it would be an entirely different film cycle. And I suspect no one would go to see it.”

You suspect wrong, Mr Stanley.

The failure to think outside the box of what is and is not changeable on the big screen (or small screen) has kept Hollywood and the film industry looking a lot like those 1950s-style sets in which Bond flourishes. The failure to see women in roles of power – especially mythic power, like James Bond’s or Jason Bourne’s – is a failure to grow an industry and also to reach 50 per cent of an audience.

Geena Davis proved how much women want to see superheroic characters on screen in Thelma & Louise. Davis runs the Institute on Gender in Media. She commissioned a study on women and girls in film and the results were disheartening: women and girls are only on screen 17 per cent of the time.

“We are in effect enculturating kids from the very beginning to see women and girls as not taking up half of the space,” she told the Hollywood Reporter.

Davis says women have to be present on-screen and she makes the clear case for a Jane Bond to filmmakers and producers:

“Go through the projects you’re already working on and change a bunch of the characters’ first names to women’s names. With one stroke you’ve created some colorful unstereotypical female characters that might turn out to be even more interesting now that they’ve had a gender switch. What if the plumber or pilot or construction foreman is a woman? What if the taxi driver or the scheming politician is a woman? What if both police officers that arrive on the scene are women — and it’s not a big deal?”

What if the next Bond is Jane?

Tim Stanley might not go to see her, but I guarantee millions of women and girls will be waiting in line to see what they know is true: We can be anything on screen and off. But seeing ourselves on screen makes us feel included, makes us feel noticed, makes us feel powerful. And who doesn’t want that?