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Blake Lively plays an action hero out for revenge in her new movie The Rhythm Section

By Benjamin VanHoose
January 29, 2020 11:48 AM
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Men can keep James BondBlake Lively wants her own pantheon of complex female action icons.

Though the actress, 32, stars in the new film The Rhythm Section — a frenetic revenge thriller that’s also produced by Barbara Broccoli, who’s behind the British spy franchise — she said she never channeled 007 when building her protagonist, Stephanie Patrick.

“You have the producers of Bond, but there’s femininity [and] humanity to Stephanie,” Lively told Variety at the film’s New York City premiere on Monday. “There’s emotionality. You see her emotions in a way that you don’t often in movies like this where a man is at the center.”

Lively explained that, while men are capable of creating well-rounded female heroes on the big screen, a woman’s perspective adds a whole other layer.

“Men have told some of the most beautiful stories about women that I’ve ever seen,” said Lively. “But sometimes you get that thing where they want to make her likable or they want to be sure she seems strong or still seems attractive.”

She added: “They’re worried about these things because they’ve never been a woman.”

Blake Lively attends "The Rhythm Section" New York Screening at Brooklyn Academy of Music on January 27, 2020
Blake Lively
| Credit: Dominik Bindl/WireImage

The mom of three — who suffered an injury while shooting the movie — cited one standout car chase sequence in the film that is handled differently than previous, more masculine action flicks.

“I’ve never seen a man in a car chase screaming the entire time because he’s terrified,” she said. “And what’s honest about that?”

Directed by Reed Morano, who previously helmed pivotal episodes of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, The Rhythm Section depicts a realistic, complicated action character. And as far as the director is concerned, she isn’t gunning for a gender-swapped Bond either.

“It feels like a consolation prize to give us a female James Bond,” Morano also told Variety. “Why can’t we make new movies that simply star women in these roles? Let women have their own person. James Bond is James Bond.”

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The Rhythm Section
Blake Lively in The Rhythm Section
| Credit: Bernard Walsh/Paramount Pictures

As Daniel Craig closes out his run as 007 with April’s No Time To Die (which adds Captain Marvel actress Lashana Lynch and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge to the mix), the question of the franchise’s lead replacement looms.

“He can be of any color, but he is male,” Broccoli recently told Variety. “I believe we should be creating new characters for women — strong female characters. I’m not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think women are far more interesting than that.”

The Rhythm Section, which also stars Jude Law and Sterling K. Brown, is in theaters on Friday.