Ben Whishaw Says the Way His Bond Character’s Gay Identity Was Addressed Was “Unsatisfying”

"Maybe some things were not great about that decision," the actor admitted about a scene in "No Time to Die"

Ben Whishaw and Daniel Craig in "Skyfall." In a new interview, Whishaw, who plays Q, said the way his gay identity was addressed in "No Time to Die" was "unsatisfying."
Ben Whishaw and Daniel Craig in "Skyfall"
Eon Productions

When No Time to Die was released last year, actor Ben Whishaw made history as the first person to portray an openly gay main character in a James Bond movie, thanks to a brief scene in the film in which his character Q is seen cooking dinner and preparing for a date with a man. But in a new interview with The Guardian, Whishaw admitted that the way the reveal of his character’s sexual orientation was handled was a bit “unsatisfying.”

The revelation about Q’s sexuality was limited to one sentence, in which he references his date’s gender by saying, “He’ll be here in 20 minutes,” after being interrupted at his home by Bond and Moneypenny. It’s never addressed further in the film, and some fans felt as though it was a way for the studio to get credit for including a gay character without fully committing to it, limiting it to one tossed-off line that could be easily edited out for foreign markets.

Whishaw, who is openly gay in real life, told the publication he hasn’t received many comments about the scene, save for one positive text message. “Otherwise, no one has given me any feedback,” he said. “So I’m really interested in these questions. And I’m very happy to admit maybe some things were not great about that [creative] decision.”

The actor said he remembered being bothered by how short the scene was when he read the script. “I think I thought, ‘Are we doing this, and then doing nothing with it?’ I remember, perhaps, feeling that was unsatisfying.” 

He also clarified that he thought producers were coming “from a good place” by including a gay character and admitted that he considered saying something about it but ultimately decided not to.

“For whatever reason, I didn’t pick it apart with anybody on the film,” he said. “Maybe on another kind of project I would have done? But it’s a very big machine. I thought a lot about whether I should question it. Finally I didn’t. I accepted this was what was written. And I said the lines. And it is what it is.”

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