Phoebe Waller-Bridge had no time to research the James Bond franchise ahead of “tweaking” the “No Time to Die” script.
The “Fleabag” creator was tasked with rewriting the film’s female characters, including roles played by Ana de Armas and Lea Séydoux, as well as adding more jokes into the script that marked Daniel Craig’s final turn as 007. However, Waller-Bridge found the feedback “frustrating” at times.
“I should naturally have done a lot of Bond research [but] I didn’t do a huge amount of research for it. I’m not very good at homework. That says a lot,” Waller-Bridge said during a Masterclass talk at London’s Haymarket Theatre (via The Daily Mail). “Sometimes it is frustrating when you say, ‘I think this is genius,’ and they are like, ‘Next time.’”
She continued, “It is fun playing in someone else’s sandpit for a while as you learn stuff. I certainly learned what my Bond film would be like. I learned how mine might have been slightly too camp. A bit misogynistic really.”
The “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” star added, “Daniel [Craig] knows that character better than anyone. I read the script not knowing. They had not told me and I was reading it and I was like, ‘No.’ I was angry, then I thought, ‘What the hell, everyone is going to blame me anyway.’ I definitely want to be involved.”
Lead star Craig brought Waller-Bridge onto the project and introduced her to producer Barbara Broccoli to do “dialogue polishes,” as Waller-Bridge explained in 2020. “They did give me some scenes and then be like, ‘Can you write some alternatives for this or have another idea about where it could go in the middle or how it would end?’ And then I would just give them options and various scenes and then they would take what they want,” she said. “But there was a lot people writing — the director [Cary Fukunaga] was a writer on it as well. And there’d been a few writers before.”
Director Danny Boyle originally signed on to the project in 2018 alongside longtime screenwriting partner John Hodge. Boyle revealed in May 2022 that “they want you to freshen it up a bit, but not really challenge it,” in terms of the proposed script offering a new take on the franchise. Hodge’s script was set in Russia, and Boyle called it a “shame” that the film did not get off the ground as imagined.
Boyle later stepped away from the film, with rumors that producer Barbara Broccoli’s Eon Productions did not approve of Boyle’s alleged conclusion to kill off Bond, played by Daniel Craig. However, after Fukunaga helmed the 2021 feature, Bond met the same demise.