No Time To Die Sparks Calls To Ban Movie Villains With Disfigurements | TOTUM
Ben HaywardSeptember 30th
2021

Following the release of new Bond film, No Time To Die, campaigners are calling for a stop to disfigurement being used as a villain's identity on the big screen. 

Changing Faces, a UK charity campaigning to end discrimination against people with visible differences, has contacted producers of the Bond franchise to request a ‘good’ character with a facial disfigurement be incorporated into their thinking for the future.

The charity say the use of disfigurement as an identifier for evil characters stirs up ‘harmful connotations’ for people who are living with facial disfigurements every day. 

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The debate comes following the premiere of No Time to Die - Daniel Craig's final appearance as 007 - in which Bond faces assassin Safin, played by Rami Malek and Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), both of whom have facial disfigurements.

Speaking to Sky News, Changing Faces campaigner and burn survivor Tulsi Vagjiani, said: “Often we get messages saying, 'I've experienced a negative message, I've been compared to a villain in a film', myself included - I got referred to as Freddy Kreuger.”

Tulsi went on to explain that back in 2018, the organisation launched a campaign called 'I am not your Villain’, leading The British Film Institute to reportedly pledge that it would no longer fund films with facial disfigurements.

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"We need to change this - not just for the generation now, but for those who are really young at the moment and going through their own journey with having a visible difference,” she added. 

Using disfigurement as a defining characteristic for villains has been long used in the Bond series, from Jaws to Skyfall's Raoul Silva, played by Javier Bardem in the 2012 release.

Taking to Twitter, Author Jen Campbell called out the practice writing: “Every time a new James Bond film is made, the producers are asked to reconsider their representation of disfigurement. Every time, they say they don’t care. The new film, out this week, is no exception. This time, two villains with facial disfigurements. Lucky us.”

While presenter Adam Pearson, who has neurofibromatosis, a disorder in which tumours form within nerve tissue, told ITV News: “When the only character with a scar or disfigurement is shown on screen as the villain, it’s perpetuating the use of an old-fashioned and outdated trope.

“This isn’t about banning baddies from having scars or telling people not to enjoy a trip to the cinema, it’s about putting a line in the sand and saying now is the time to ensure other characters can be seen on screen with a visible difference too.”

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