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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Random Thoughts On... A Black James Bond? – An Opinion


‘Sup, guys. I think it’s time for something a little different on the Random Boat of Randomness. So, I recently watched Spectre a couple of weekends ago. I have to admit that it left me a little cold. I wouldn’t say it was bad, but something did feel lacking. I don’t know if it was the direction or the story, but it felt off especially towards the end. Since Daniel Craig has hinted that he may be done with Bond, the look for another woman-loving, butt-kicking, alcohol-drinking dude is probably on right now. A few names have been tossed here and there. 

One thing that has been a bit of a thing for the last few years is the idea of a black man as James Bond or a James Bond who happens to be black. Take your pick. I thought about talking about this here a few years ago, but I didn’t know what to say on the matter. In a way, I still don’t know what to say. As you can tell, that’s something I’m really good at doing. Just ask anyone I know. Would something like this be possible? Should it even happen? My answer is yes… and no. I’ll go into why below.

Now, I think it would be pretty cool to see a black James Bond. We don’t get a lot of lead roles in action movies. If we’re in them, we’re sometimes relegated to side characters. In fact, you could probably say the same thing about other minorities in Hollywood. Now, we do get them sometimes with guys like Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Idris Elba, and a few others. It’s not like there aren’t any leading brothers out there. Still, I’d like to see more than Random White Dude #39 aka “Channing Tatum” kicking butt and taking names in these types of movies.
I can definitely see it.

So, it’s all good right? Well, don’t sign up Tyler Perry for the role yet. In fact, don’t do that at all. None of need to see “Madea Joins MI-6” anytime in the near future. One thing that could blow in the production team’s face is the whole racebending thing. This in itself has been a topic for debate especially lately. It’s more of a problem when white people are brought to play roles that were done by another race in the thing being adapted. I can point to a few movies where this has been brought up. The Last Airbender, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Gods of Egypt, and the soon-to-be Ghost In the Shell are some examples. Mind you, Last Airbender’s race-changing issue was actually the least offensive thing in it.
I think this is the only time where someone changing into another race would work for me. Downey Jr. was hilarious in this.

Personally, if the character’s race is something that is essential, then the casting should reflect that. Still, I don’t have a big problem with changing the race of a character unless it’s something really egregious or just dumb. I think we can look at Hollywood movies of old and a couple of current ones for some horrid examples. I will say that have been times where changing the race of a character has worked. That ultimately depends on the actor and direction though. Is Bond’s race really that important to who he is and what he does? That’s a matter of debate but then we get to another problem with this venture: reboots.

In order for something like this to happen, they’d probably have to do another reboot. One could say that the franchise has had soft reboots throughout the years by replacing actors. Still, all of that can fit in one weird messed up bag pre-Casino Royale. The franchise was already officially rebooted once quite successfully with Casino Royale. Personally, I don’t need another reboot of Bond especially since this one’s barely a decade old.  Also, I think I can safely say that most folk are tired of reboots especially needless ones. 

Could they suddenly explain how current James Bond changed races while using the current continuity? I don’t know. Hair color, eye color, and a couple of other things can be explained away, but race and ethnicity is another thing. I don’t think you can just brush over something like that. No one wakes up looking a different race/ethnicity one day without it being some really weird reason behind it. I doubt the creators would want to go the route taken with Gustav Graves from Die Another Day.
Yes, the guy on the left became the guy on the  right... that's Die Another Day for ya!

Probably the biggest worry I’d have about this is the direction. Would it be the standard Bond flick or would it go in other areas? Hopefully, the production team would go do the usual Bond path. Hopefully, they’ll let this Bond be his own man in the same vein as the rest. I know I’d be annoyed if they turned it into something comedy-based. I don’t need to see the Wayan Bros.’ version of a Bond movie. Besides, we had Roger Moore for that… yes, I’m being a little snarky. Moore was fine. He was how I was introduced to James Bond but it was A View to a Kill.

Then, there’s the actor himself. It’d have to be someone who’s British or at least someone who could do a good British accent. I don’t need to see Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, or anyone else from here in the role.  I could have maybe seen a younger Denzel, but I don’t know about that. I’ve seen most of the big guys enough as it is. No musicians either. I’d probably boycott it if I saw a rapper in it.

I guess the last obstacle, if it would be one, would be the fanbase. If there’s one thing fans don’t like sometimes, it’s change. I know because I’m a fan of many things and change is debatable. Sometimes, it can be good and sometimes it can go bad. I think most fans wouldn’t care if someone of another race was Bond. They’d probably like it if he’s a good actor. Others might not and it might be because of the race. It could also be related to the source material. It could be any reason and I could understand that while not agreeing with it. If it was a bad call all-around, I’d probably be with them too.

In the end, it would be cool to see someone like Idris Elba, Chiwetel Ejiofor, or David Oyelowo take on the role of James Bond. It’d be cool to see a man of any minority take on a role like that. I doubt we’d see it but I'm not worried about it. Besides, this isn't something I must see in my lifetime. Even If it isn’t the role of James Bond, then let it be a role that is similar or even cooler. I think that’s my ultimate take on the whole thing. Hollywood is supposed to have diversity and it’d be nice if we see more of it. Besides, the big guys can only do so much.

If you want to comment on the subject or my “meh” writing, leave one. Just keep it civil since I know race is a touchy subject these days. You don’t want me to go all “random” on you. Well, I’m outta here. I have time off and a house to patch once more. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and just know that Williams: Man of Action is unfortunately a fleeting dream. Still, it would be nice.

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