I wasn’t making an original observation to note that so many Bond villains have been disfigured or disabled, from the relatively subtle third nipple to a range of facial scarring, but it is something that bears discussion.
Sitting down with Bond series producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson this week, I saw an opportunity to hear their take on why the trope has been so regularly repeated and right into the Daniel Craig era.
Here’s what Michael had to say in response.
Michael: It’s very much a Fleming device that he uses throughout the films, the idea that physical deformity and personality deformity go hand in hand in some of these villains. Sometimes it’s a motivating factor in their life and what makes them who they are. He had that as part of the characters that he devised and it’s something we use from time to time, not all the time of course, just if it seems appropriate. The question is, with all the ideas of handicapped people being in the Olympics and things like that, it’s kind of an old idea but it’s just part of a writing tradition.
Associated were Barbara’s follow-up comments on reading the films politically, both in relation to this particular issue but also in general. Here’s what she said.
Barbara: I don’t think we ever want to have real politics in these movies because these are fantasy, action adventure films. Bond lives in a slightly heightened version of the real world… that’s where we feel very comfortable.
Skyfall is very much a Bond film. A particularly exciting and well crafted Bond film, mind. It also feels fresh and smart and is rather self-aware, for better or worse. You can go see it from Friday October 26th in the UK, or Thursday November 8th in the US.