09 April 2021 2567 Views

Indiana Jones and the Phoebe Waller Bridge.

by James Murphy

A million actresses in the world. WHY oh WHY is it THIS one they choose to be Indy’s last muse??



Caveat here. I don’t ‘do’ trolling or bashing a reputation of actors /directors etc. I leave that to prima facie trolls like the one I saw today on twitter who thought it a great idea to post memes about the late, great Duke of Edinburgh (RIP). You know who you are and why you are a complete tosser imho. Shame on you! See for yourself: https://twitter.com/actionanderson

In same way as it’s ok to say ‘James, I profoundly disagree with the direction you took with Movie-Viral: can I offer suggestions for improvement?’ etc.. or ‘James: terrible review of such and such a movie mate..must try harder’ (fine). So it is ok for me to criticise certain actors /directors/other creatives in Hollywood, albeit occasionally with a dash of biting satire. Am I ‘right’: course not, because it is subjective.

But am I allowed to vent, unfettered about their deployment? Damn sure!

And it is in that very spirit that I am to rant about this latest casting on Indiana Jones 5. PHOEBE WALLER BRIDGE.

WHYYYYYYYY?? This girl now has near monopoly on the franchise film. She was parachuted into ‘fix’ the latest Bond movie. Fine, except the trailer showed nothing to indicate that her polish on the script had yielded the kind of one liner that defines a solid movie tease.

I know people seem to like Phoebe’s flagship show, FLEABAG . So I did watch it btw, I loathed it. We are free to disagree. The whole thing felt to my mind, like Richard Curtis without the warmth via Bridget Jones without laughs. Dash of Anna from This Life but lacking the legal insights. Miranda without the h(e)artThere was lots of sex but none was sexy. Lots of wealth on display viewed by a character without much money or purpose  yet mingling with those who do? Zero joy, pathos or organic identity.

What annoyed me was the speed with which Fleabag seemed somehow embraced as progressive poster product. It wasn’t. The story did not break glass ceilings so much as enforce them, with bells attached. It is NOT  a #metoo era product! Rather, to my mind, a MASSIVE regression that does little, if anything, to curtail the middle class complacency that has facilitated elitist abuse.

Healing, wellness, therapy: all thrown away as past it punchlines rather than truly pastoral lifelines. The lead character in Fleabag defines herself as a failure and at least in large part, through her interactions with men. THINK about that for ONE second.  Just coz you have a WOMAN as lead, does not mean u r a proper feminist asset, yeah?

Above all? In a gag beneath even mediocre Jack Whitehall / James Corden routines, the Fleabag series launched with Phoebe’s character masturbating to footage of Obama. Wow! How edgy and cool. If a man filmed himself simulating that to footage of Hillary Clinton? There would be hell to pay, surely? Moving swiftly on..

..Waller Bridge is somehow now in EVERYTHING. EVERYWHERE. She was a low point in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY for me; over-egging her scenes and lines like a kid in a school play who has a small role because they are not quite sixth form yet. Timelord fans seem to think her an ok candidate for the next Doctor Who. What’s next? Have her play God? Nothing would surprise me at this stage.






And that brings me to INDIANA JONES, who often glimpses divinity and beauty. Fine if Phoebe is a cameo, a comedy sidekick, a grad student to Dr Jones. But no. Looks like she is literally being sold here as the film’s USP. Given joint star billing to Harrison Ford. This is surreal in its presumption of her pulling power.

And no. Casting Waller-Bridge does not boost ‘diversity’ or ‘inclusion’. In fact? One could make a case that it does the opposite. Well, I can and will make that case, anyway..



It’s like someone googled ‘who is trending’ and just pasted her in. Granted, I might be mistaken and this girl might very well be the magic that defines the movie. Cate Blanchett was cast in the 4th film and that just did not ‘work’ when it ought to have been an epic clash between Dr Jones and a most worthy, sexy nemesis.


By same rationale, Waller Bridge might, just might kick arse big time in this 5th film.?..

..In a manner that Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Alice Lowe, Lucy Punch, Cameron Diaz, Audrey Tatou, Zooey Deschanel, Gemma Arterton, Daisy Ridley, Keira Knightley, Keri Russell, Sienna Miller, Lea Seydoux, Michelle Williams, Maggie Q, Naomie Harris, Kate Winslet, Rashida Jones, Cynthia Preston, Brie Larson, Emma Stone, Sophia Myles, Carey Mulligan, Julia Roberts, Miranda Richardson, Hattie Morahan, Sally Dynevor, Tilda Swinton, Diane Kruger, Aishwarya Rai, Eva Green, Hermione Corfield, J-Lo, Kaya Scodelario, Zoe Saldana, Beyonce, Elisabeth Shue, Anne Hathaway, Paula Patton, Jennifer Connelly, Heather Graham, Charlize Theron, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mel Martin, Rene Russo, Jane Moore, Joanna Lumley, Kirsten Dunst, Sandra Bullock, Annette Bening, Kate McKinnon, Jane Asher, Gabrielle Anwar, Marisa Tomei, Mira Sorvino, Hilary Swank, Kate Bosworth, Vera Farmiga, Sharon Stone, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange, Charlotte Rampling, Sally Phillips, Emmanuelle Beart, Julia Stiles, Claire Skinner, Jane Fonda, Kylie Minogue, Victoria Abril, Joan Collins, Stephanie Beacham, Lena Olin, Olivia Colman, Sophie Marceau, Hayley Atwell, Amanda Davies, Amy Adams, Nathalie Emmanuel, Rachel Weisz, Helen Mirren, Leslie Mann, Lisa Kudrow, Fiona Lewis, Kate Beckinsale, Noomi Rapace, Kate Lyn Sheil, Polly Walker, Nancy Travis, Lindsay Duncan, Mena Suvari, Letitia Wright, Molly Parker, Elizabeth Debicki, Julia Ormond, Kim Basinger, Janette Krankie, Genevieve O’Reilly, Kat Dennings, Aubrey Plaza, Emily Mortimer, Rebecca DeMornay, January Jones, Maria Bello, Meryl Streep, Sonya Walger, Michelle Borth, Greta Scacchi, Catriona Balfe and Rosamund Pike.. and co perhaps could not have done?


See what I did there? Basically, named a LOT of actors. All of whom, in very diverse ways, could have been a perfect foil to Dr Jones /Harrison Ford. It also truly begs the question imho: DID Indy casting HQ truly do due diligence here? Using Ms Waller Bridge yet again, in ANOTHER film series, in haste?

Feels alarmingly like an in vogue, on message ‘name’  was chosen at Lucas-Film?  WHO appointed Waller-Bridge the ONLY voice in movie franchise salvation? It’s a BIT odd, frankly. Just sayin’.

And no, it’s not another post bemoaning the front and centre place of a WOMAN in a new sequel. Nor is it an attack on Phoebe btw. I just loathe monopoly casting. I’d prefer ANYTHING to this display in lack of imagination /innovation (the so far absent qualities here; the presence of which incidentally, defined the genius of the original Spielberg/Lucas vision).

BRING BACK KATE CAPSHAW / ALISON DOODY? Heck, stick Hiddleston/Cumberbatch/Tennant/Sheen/Branagh/ Shia / Harrrry Potttter in a dress? Why not cast an ‘unknown’, even (worked pretty well before for Star Wars/Indiana Jones/James Bond et al, before they discovered Phoebe?) .

Indeed, though this might shock you, given general point made in the article..I did ‘spot’ Waller-Bridge years back, around 2010/11. My casting tip dispatches cited her as a name to watch; advising prominent filmmakers to cast her, pronto, before she made the big time. I just did not foresee her single handed domination of the industry.

I keep an open mind on the conclusion and cannot truly ‘judge’ a movie before one reel is shot. I am just not mad about the premise, is all. That said? Phoebe is too young to play an Indy love interest. So presumably, it’s either a daughter or antagonist that she is playing?

Outside bet on a sister, conceived late in Henry ‘Sean Connery’ Jones Sr’s life (makes sense; possibly she is a similarly inept yet mischievous and clever adventuress?). Possibly some reincarnated /rejuvenated Marion Ravenwood (makes sense if they do go the fountain of youth route, alas). Or just someone for Sallah to shout at? 😉


Fine. Ok!  So long as we do not have to endure  an entire movie of our favourite hero being teased, emasculated, humiliated and possibly, killed off in the name of handing her the reboot. Jez Butterworth is on writing duties. He is fine at adaptation (Edge of Tomorrow) but gave us a substandard James Bond script in SPECTRE. Maybe he has some killer genius pitch soon to be made known for Indiana Jones’ last ride. Or maybe not. Russell T Davies /Curtis and Freud would have done a great job on this imho (see WAR HORSE for the Spielberg stable meeting the King and Queen of romcom in a great fusion of ideas). 

Anyway: announcement was made official here. They even managed to release it sans added hype /fanfare and use a terrible pic of Harrison Ford (seriously, there are pap shots out there doing him better justice). 

I am sorry. But it does not bode well. My interest in and appetite for a movie I have hyped since its predecessor was released just waned, almost entirely. Best of luck, all the same (see what I did there: a civil coda to a subjective criticism; try it!). 


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