Daniel Craig shuts down suggestion Phoebe Waller-Bridge was diversity hire for Bond film

Daniel Craig has insisted Phoebe Waller-Bridge was hired for her talent, not her gender.

Daniel Craig has hit back at the suggestion Phoebe Waller-Bridge was brought in as a diversity hire on new James Bond movie No Time to Die.

The Fleabag creator was drafted in to finesse the script written by director Cary Joji Fukunaga and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns - which was an update of an earlier draft written by Bond veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

Since then, it's been suggested Phoebe was brought in to make the film more representative of the state of the world today, but when a reporter for Britain's The Sunday Times asked Daniel about the claims, he insisted her hiring had nothing to do with her gender.

"Look, we're having a conversation about Phoebe's gender here, which is f**king ridiculous. She's a great writer. Why shouldn't we get Phoebe onto Bond?" the 51-year-old said.

As the reporter pushed on with questioning about whether Phoebe's hiring was largely because of the studio's desire to hire more women, Daniel hit back: "I know where you're going but I don't actually want to have that conversation. I know what you're trying to do but it's wrong. It's absolutely wrong. She's a f**king great writer. One of the best English writers around. I said, 'Can we get her on the film?' That's where I came from.

"She's just brilliant. I had my eye on her ever since the first Fleabag, and then I saw Killing Eve and what she did with that and just wanted her voice. It is so unique - we are very privileged to have her on board."

During an interview with Deadline in May, Phoebe denied she would be making the spy more of a feminist.

"There's been a lot of talk about whether or not (the Bond franchise) is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women. I think that's b**locks," she said. "I think he's absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow. It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn't have to. He needs to be true to this character."

No Time to Die recently finished filming. It is slated for release in April 2020.

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