Phoebe Waller-Bridge Reveals She Did Not Do Research For James Bond Movie

Phoebe Waller-Bridge helped punch up the script for Daniel Craig's last James Bond film, No Time To Die, even though she did no research beforehand, didn't watch the previous movies, and had no idea what the franchise's current status was.

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

james bond

When the award-winning creator of Fleabag was offered a chance to work on Daniel Craig‘s final James Bond film, No Time To Die, Phoebe Waller-Bridge could not say no. FandomWire reports that the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny star made a frank admission during a masterclass talk at London’s Haymarket Theatre. She didn’t do enough research for the film, hadn’t watched Craig’s previous movies, and wasn’t aware of the current status of the spy franchise.

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.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge on her lack of James Bond research

Waller-Bridge was brought onto the project at the direct request of Daniel Craig in 2019 to “punch up” the script. Primarily, her job was to improve the female characters and add some humor to the film. During the process, she at least learned that if ever put in charge of writing a James Bond film herself, it would be misogynistic.

By the time Phoebe Waller-Bridge was assigned to work on the script, it had already been through several rewrites, and her task boiled down to providing some good alternatives to end scenes and provide wittier dialogue. The problem is, if she hadn’t seen the previous films, of which there are four more, then she was missing a lot of context for Craig’s nuanced agent. Compared to Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan, Craig’s 007 had much more guilt over his past actions and failures, which heavily informed his performance as the secret agent.

How could the most recent Bond be written without knowing the impact of Eva Green’s Vesper’s passing had on his development? Or the importance of Skyfall and Bond’s attempt to retire from espionage? Thankfully, No Time To Die turned out to be yet another hit for Daniel Craig, so if Waller-Bridge was truly that unprepared, the rest of the team handled the details while she added some humor and excitement.

No Time To Die went on to make $774 million worldwide, which is impressive, but it needed to pass $800 million to break even. It’s the second-highest-grossing Bond film in the U.K. and the third-highest-grossing film in the country.

phoebe waller-bridge
Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag

The expansive cast featured many holdovers from the previous films that Phoebe Waller-Bridge did not see, including Jeffrey Wright, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Lea Seydoux, Christoph Waltz, Rory Kinner, and Ralph Fiennes. Additions to the cast that likely watched the previous films included Rami Malek, Ana De Armas, Lashana Lynch, Billy Magnussen, David Dencik, and Dali Benssalah.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge may not have watched enough James Bond films to know what she was working on, but even if she had done the research, the film would still be a blockbuster hit. The franchise sells itself, and except for Quantum of Solace, every Daniel Craig outing was a critical and commercial success. Though no one knows who the next Bond will be(though we know it won’t Idris Elba or Charlie Cox), the next era for the decades-long franchise will hopefully build off of the success of the one that just finished.

Waller-Bridge will next star in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny as Helena Shaw, goddaughter to the world’s most famous archaeologist. Following what will likely be her big breakout role, she’ll be part of the all-star ensemble of IF, a fantasy comedy from John Krasinki starring Ryan Reynolds, Louis Gosset Jr., Fiona Shaw, and Bobby Moynihan.