No Time to Die called out over Rami Malek's villain facial scarring
30 September 2021, 12:00 | Updated: 23 May 2022, 17:24
James Bond has come under fire for featuring another villain with facial scarring.
The new James Bond film, No Time to Die, is facing backlash over the fact that its villain, Lyutsifer Safin, has facial scarring.
James Bond viewers will likely already be aware that the franchise has a long history of villains with facial disfigurements. People have regularly criticised the movies for painting people with scars, burns or marks in a negative light and using them as a trope for villainy. Four of the five films that Daniel Craig has appeared in feature villains with facial disfigurements.
Now, UK charity Changing Faces, who support people with visible differences, is calling out No Time to Die for playing into the stereotype with Rami Malek's character.
Speaking to ITV for Changing Faces, actor Adam Pearson opened up about the negative impact that portraying people with facial disfigurements has. He said: "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with a scar or disfigurement is shown on screen as the villain, it’s perpetuating the use of an old-fashioned and outdated trope."
Adam continued: "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."
Adam also spoke to Channel 5 and said that the franchise is "lagging behind when it comes to the portrayal of people with disfigurements, scars and markings, and these kind of portrayals are archaic, lazy and belong in the museum."
He then added: "Where are the good guys? Where are the heroes? Where are the love interests? Where are the winners?"
Changing Faces have also launched a campaign called 'I Am Not Your Villian' to fight against the stereotype.
As No Time To Die hits cinemas, @FaceEquality are asking Bond producers for better representation of people with facial disfigurements.— Channel 5 News (@5_News) September 29, 2021
They've released their own film - showing that those with visible differences can be the hero, not just villains@Adam_Pearson | #5NewsTonight pic.twitter.com/vuzjHBd1jV
In an interview with Total Film magazine, Rami Malek defended his character's disfigurement and said it was "important to have." He argued: "We didn’t pick a mask off a wall willy-nilly. We had to think extremely specifically as to what would make the most sense. If it doesn’t make sense to the story and to the character, then arguably it loses impact."
However, he and the team behind No Time to Die are yet to respond to Adam or the criticism at large directly. We shall update you if they do.