James Bond writer labels Phoebe Waller-Bridge 'very witty for a woman'

Danny Thompson
Phoebe Waller-Bridge attends the 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards - Press Room at Barker Hangar on January 12, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

James Bond writer Robert Wade appears ‘shaken’ and perhaps a little ‘stirred’ about Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge being drafted in to spruce up his initial No Time To Die script, after he said “for a woman, she is very witty”.

Wade was discussing the much-anticipated new 007 film on the James Bond Radio podcast when the subject turned to Waller-Bridge and he made the comment - which he added was “a joke”.

Wade, who has co-written seven Bond movies with Neal Purvis, said: “It’s like a relay race, Phoebe did the bit where you get the prize at the end. For a woman, she is very witty.”

Read more: Phoebe Waller-Bridge shoots down claims she was hired to help write 'No Time to Die' because she's a woman

When the host expressed shock at the comment, Wade responded: “It’s a joke.”

He went on to say the process of making the film coincided with the MeToo movement and that it was a “good thing” for women to be included in the process.

Wade said: “There haven’t been many women involved and obviously it’s a good thing for women to be involved.

"When we were in the middle of this whole process, the MeToo thing came about.

Writer Robert Wade attend the launch of 'Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style', a new exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise, at the Barbican Centre on July 5, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)

“It was interesting for me to reflect on because I’d never worried about the portrayal of women in our movies.

"If they are not strong characters, then it makes Bond look weak.”

He said the process was “slightly experimental”, adding: “We had an idea of what the next Bond film should be.

Read more: The 50 most exciting movies coming in 2020

"It was a very specific idea but a very brave idea.

“We spent a lot of time thrashing it out. It was slightly ­experimental and felt like that’s what we needed to do.

“We went to New York to talk to Daniel and he was on board for doing something kind of different.

“I’m not sure we fully pulled it off. But there was a certain amount of ­nervousness about it.”

No Time To Die has been hit by a series of setbacks, the latest of which has seen the release date pushed back six months due to concerns about coronavirus.