I’d like a diversified Bond film, shaken, not stirred.

Every boy wants to grow up to be James Bond: the British spy never seen with a “Bond girl” too far from his side. He has it all — the money, women, booze, impeccable timing and cool gadgets. It is easy to see the appeal. He also, according to former Bond actor Roger Moore, must always and forever be a heterosexual white English male.

Moore’s comments have come under fire recently as people have accused him of being racist and homophobic, among other things. But, he’s defended himself by claiming that his words have been taken out of context; he only said they — referring to an actor that would play James Bond — can’t be anything other than what was specified because “that wasn’t the way Ian Fleming wrote him.”

I’m sorry, I didn’t realize we were still stuck in the 1950s when not everyone had equal civil rights. Fleming constructed a misogynistic male character who was originally dealing with Soviet Russia and other problems in the post-World War II era. A lot has happened since these books were published, and any future movies made should reflect of modern times.

I’m fully aware of the fact that Bond is an iconic figure, and to destroy that image people have of him is practically calling for trouble. I’m not saying to tear away everything that makes him who he is, but Bond doesn’t have to be just another, more sophisticated, version of the typical male lead seen in every major movie. Yes, he has to be English; but that doesn’t mean he has to be white. There are other races that live in Britain and perhaps having someone of a minority background be the hero instead of the bad guy for once would do wonders for diversity and equality in the movie industry.

A popular name that has been thrown around by fans for the next James Bond is Idris Elba, an English actor who may be recognizable from his work on “Pacific Rim,” “Thor” and “Beasts of No Nation,” just to name a few. In a Reddit “Ask Me Anything,” Elba said that if he was ever offered the role he would “absolutely” take it. Daniel Craig has made it very clear his Bond days are over after the release of “Spectre,” so why not offer the role to Elba next? In terms of acting versatility, he’s already proven himself capable of taking on any role he’s given and providing a spectacular performance. He would be the perfect Bond; he’s English and his confidence and ability to look dashing, yet dangerous in a suit already give him the edge. There’s just one problem with casting him, according to Moore: Elba isn’t “English-English,” or to be blunt, he isn’t white.

That is an outrageous comment and the reasoning behind it is so flawed that I’m shocked it hasn’t shattered yet. Moore’s mindset of having something done “the way it was written” is not always the best way, especially if you’re drawing on material from so long in the past that India was still fighting Britain for independence, the United States was in the middle of a Civil Rights movement and the Iron Curtain was just beginning to crumble.

Moore also complained that Bond villains have become so generic for fear of offending anybody. You know what could solve that problem and still add diversity to the movie? If a non-white actor played Bond, that could easily lead to having a non-white person play the villain. Regardless of what people believe of history and what recent events prove, it’s not just one race that’s dangerous or crazy.

If we want to go further in terms of diversity, why not have a female Bond? Men complain all the time that women are so-called “sluts” — with the amount of people Bond’s slept with, it would make perfect sense for it to be a woman. It would be nice for a female in the Bond movies not to just be a delegated hot “Bond girl,” though if there are going to be complaints about that, I do have a solution: Female Bond can sleep with both men and women. That way, we get our reconceived “Bond girl” and diversity in terms of gender and sexuality representation — both of which are sorely needed across the cinematic realm.

Now that I’ve offended and angered every person who’s a fan of James Bond, I want you to take a step back. The Bond films are just an example of the problem. One doesn’t have to look far to see that the heroes of the movie industry are white males who “get the girl.” The reason I’ve come after Bond is because these movies have been around for so long and continue to be released to a new audience over the past five decades. There is such a loyal audience base that, if the typical “white heterosexual male” mold is broken, the gate holding back actual development of diverse characters would finally be opened.

If a revered and successful film franchise can give representation to groups that often aren’t in the spotlight or shown in a generally positive way, it is proof that it can be done and is accepted by the people. This would embrace everyone who watches these types of films, not just represent a specific group, allowing the diversity of the audience to be reflected in the casting and roles of the films that they love.

We need to stop taking something at face value because of the way it was written. The mindset of Fleming, a man who has been dead for over 50 years with some questionable morals and character issues, is not the person I want to be following. We need to accept that times have changed, and movies can be a positive reflection of this change — if properly utilized.

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--- Senior | Executive Editor Emeritus --- Finance/English

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