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It's Daniel Craig as you've never seen him before. The James Bond star and former GQ Man Of The Year faces arguably his toughest mission yet - fighting gender inequality in support of International Women's Day. Shot by artist turned director Sam Taylor-Wood, scripted by Kick-Ass scribe Jane Goldman and overseen by 007 producer Barbara Broccoli, the stunning short was commissioned by the Annie Lennox-led charitable coalition Equals and boasts a creative team which frankly wouldn't disgrace the 23rd instalment of the film franchise.
In the clip, Dame Judi Dench's M interrogates the philandering secret agent at least as hard as Le Chiffre ever did, hitting him where it hurts - his male pride - with some damning statistics about the treatment of the opposite sex in our supposedly progressive society: "For someone with such a fondness for women, I wonder if you've ever considered what it means to be one?" Clearly the campaigning Bond has come a long way since M memorably labelled him "a sexist, misogynist dinosaur" in GoldenEye.
Directed by acclaimed âNowhere Boyâ director/conceptual artist Sam Taylor-Wood, scripted by Jane Goldman (âKick Assâ) and featuring the voice of Dame Judi Dench reprising her role as âMâ, the film will be screened in cinemas and streamed online in a bid to highlight the levels of inequality that persist between men and women in the UK and worldwide. It is the first film featuring Bond to be directed by a woman.
In the film âMâ interrogates Bond with a series of searching questions on gender issues, from pay inequality to domestic violence. âMâ asks: âFor someone with such a fondness for women, I wonder if youâve ever considered what it means to be one?â Bond then appears in a blonde wig, a dress and womenâs shoes, in a sequence that is both highly emotional and deeply disturbing. As he/she stands silent, Dench continues to read a list of brutal statistics relating to the role of women and their treatment in our society.
Sam Taylor-Wood said: âBond is challenged by âMâ to think about gender inequality, and I hope that the film encourages viewers to do the same. Despite great advances in womenâs rights, statistics show that when it comes to the balance of power between the sexes, equality is far from being a global reality. As âMâ reminds Bond, facing up to gender issues and the sometimes covert nature of sexism in the 21st century is something that we all have to recognise, confront and challenge.â
The film was commissioned by EQUALS, a coalition of charities and organisations brought together by Annie Lennox to step up the call for equality between men and women. Produced by Barbara Broccoli, the woman behind box-office hits âCasino Royaleâ, âQuantum of Solaceâ and the forthcoming âBond 23â, and shot by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, the film will be released at midday on Monday 7 March to mark the centenary of International Womenâs Day the following day.
EQUALS spokeswoman Esme Peach said: âWe are thrilled that Sam Taylor-Wood, Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench and such a prestigious production team agreed to create this powerful short film for EQUALS. We feel it is crucial to involve men in the movement for womenâs rights and EQUALS is about men and women working together for positive change. So who better to convey that message than the partnership of Bond and âMâ, two iconic British characters with global appeal and influence â and who better to conceive and direct the film than Sam Taylor-Wood, an artist and film-maker whose work is questioning, often provocative and deeply moving?â