The new 007 adventure “Skyfall” features a curious exchange between James Bond and the villain du jour.
Javier Bardem is Silva, a former agent gone bad, and he’s trying to unnerve Bond (Daniel Craig) during an interrogation shortly after their initial meeting.
Silva feels Bond’s leg in a seductive fashion, to which Craig’s Bond eventually replies, “‘What makes you think this is my first time?”
It’s a battle of wills, plain and simple, and Bond isn’t giving an inch (no pun intended whatsoever). If anything, the sequence shows Bond as being utterly comfortable with his own sexuality.
Now, we’re seeing press accounts where Craig is asked if Bond is gay, could be gay, etc. Craig offers a flat “no,” but that won’t stop more media outlets from asking the question. And, more likely, we’ll see a few think pieces saying why Bond should be gay.
I haven’t an ounce of gay panic in me, but the whole conversation feels more ridiculous than making Craig’s Bond in “Skyfall” hold a bottle of Heineken for a brief but pricey product placement.
Bond is a ladies man, first and foremost. The character has evolved over the years, to the point where he occasionally falls for the targets of his seduction (memorably so in “The Living Daylights” and “Casino Royale”).
Would the Broccoli family, who keep tight control over the spy franchise, jeopardize its loyal fan base by making Bond gay, or even bisexual? It would clash with everything that’s come before it, essentially telling us to ignore the first 22 Bond films and pay attention to no. 23, 24, etc.
Bond has changed in moderate ways over the years, giving up the jokey punch lines and silly gadgets for a grittier approach typified by Craig’s ice glare. And in “Skyfall,” we see more of Craig’s torso than that of his Bond Girls.
“Skyfall” does some more tweaking to the legend, including some minor reveals about Bond’s past. What it doesn’t do by any measure is show 007 stepping so much as a toe out of the closet.