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Phoebe Waller-Bridge to Polish ‘Bond 25’ Script

“Fleabag” and “Killing Eve” creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge has been brought in to polish the script for the next James Bond film, Variety has confirmed.

News of Waller-Bridge’s involvement on the currently untitled Bond film, the 25th in the long-running franchise and the fifth to star Daniel Craig, first appeared in Britain’s Observer newspaper on Sunday. A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed that the British writer was indeed taking a pass through the script and that director Cary Fukunaga was fully aware of the decision. The source said production remained on track to begin at the end of April.

Waller-Bridge’s involvement came at the direct request of Craig, according to the Observerwhich said Craig felt the script needed a polish to add more humor. The Emmy- and BAFTA-nominated writer is known for her offbeat, caustic humor and strong characterization.

She recently concluded an off-Broadway run of her award-winning one-woman play, which formed the basis of the hit show “Fleabag.” The off-Broadway production was produced by Annapurna, which is a co-distribution partner on “Bond 25” in the U.S. via United Artists Releasing, its joint distribution venture with MGM. The TV incarnation of “Fleabag” recently concluded its second, and reportedly final, season in the U.K. and will stream on Amazon Prime in the U.S. from May 17. Season 2 of “Killing Eve” began airing on BBC America on April 7.

This latest wrinkle on “Bond 25” follows a troubled script process that saw original director Danny Boyle bring in frequent collaborator John Hodge (“Trainspotting”) to rework the original screenplay by regular Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. Boyle and Hodge then left the project over creative differences with producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, resulting in a delay to the start of production and a subsequent delay to the planned release, from October 2019 to April 2020.

Speaking to Empire magazine earlier this year, Boyle confirmed that he preferred to leave the film than replace Hodge as his writer. “I work in partnership with writer and I am not prepared to break it up,” Boyle said. “What John Hodge and I were doing, I thought, was really good, but they didn’t want to go down that route with us. So we decided to part company.”

Fukunaga was announced as Boyle’s replacement in September 2018, with “Bourne Ultimatum” writer Scott Z. Burns reportedly brought in to do a rewrite in February this year.

It is not yet known whether Waller-Bridge will receive a screen credit for her work on the screenplay. No female writer has been credited on a Bond title since Irish writer Johanna Harwood, who was brought on to rework original Bond title “Dr. No” and received an adaptation credit on its 1963 follow-up, “From Russia With Love.”

Matt Donnelly contributed to this report.

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