Way Before Angelina Jolie’s Rumored Demands, A Female James Bond Movie Almost Took Flight Until No Time to Die Did the Impossible

A female James Bond almost happened 60 years ago.

Way Before Angelina Jolie's Rumored Demands, A Female James Bond Movie Almost Took Flight Until No Time to Die Did the Impossible

When it comes to the James Bond franchise, progressive is not the first word that comes to mind. Despite this, the 2021 film No Time To Die revolutionized the film series after it introduced the first female 007 in the form of Lashana Lynch. There have been conversations around the same topic for quite some time, with Angelina Jolie famously stating that she did not want to play a Bond girl but the spy herself.

Sean Connery in From Russia With LoveSean Connery as James Bond

It would seem, however, that the Maleficent actress was not the first to voice these wishes, as over 60 years before the Lynch film, there were conversations about a Bond film being led by a female James Bond.

A Female James Bond in the 60s

Nicholas Shakespeare released a biography titled Ian Fleming: The Complete Man via Variety, where he went into great detail about the life of the author of one of the most iconic series in Hollywood, James Bond. In an excerpt, he revealed that in the 1960s, producer Gregory Ratoff was deeply interested in creating a version of James Bond that would be played by a woman.


Daniel Craig as James Bond in a still from Spectre
Daniel Craig as James Bond in a still from Spectre

“Since the mid-1950s, many well-known actors had been approached [to play Bond]. Gregory Ratoff had the arresting idea of having Bond played by a woman, Susan Hayward.” Shakespeare wrote.
“Ian had entertained several possibilities, from Richard Burton (‘I think that Richard Burton would be by far the best James Bond’), to James Stewart (‘I wouldn’t at all mind him as Bond if he can slightly anglicise his accent’), to James Mason (‘We might have to settle for him’).”

Sean ConnerySean Connery as James Bond

It would seem that it wasn’t necessarily about the gender of the actress he was considering. During this time, several actors were in the running, and I Want to Live! actress Susan Hayward seemed to be in the lead for him. Ratoff also had a vision for what he wanted the movie to be, as he wished to specifically adapt the first book Fleming ever wrote about the character, Casino Royal.

Creative Differences Poured Water On The Plan

Although Gregory Ratoff had a plan for what he wanted to do with his James Bond film, it would seem that his intentions did not match what Ian Fleming wanted to do. The producer had a reason why he wanted the character to be played by a woman; he believed Bond, as a character, to seem off-putting for several reasons.

“frankly, we thought [Bond] was kind of unbelievable and as I recall, even kind of stupid. So Gregory thought the solution was to make Bond a woman, ‘Jane Bond’ if you will.”


No Time to DieDaniel Craig in No Time To Die
He believed that if the woman played him instead, as Jane Bond, the problems would be solved. However, Fleming did not agree with this sentiment and went with a different actor altogether. Richard Burton was chosen as 007, and Ratoff’s vision took 60 years to complete.

 

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