The 10 Biggest Gender Swaps in TV and Film
4. M in the James Bond Franchise
For decades, the role of super-spy James Bond’s boss was played by men: first Bernard Lee and then Robert Brown. That is until the first, and best Pierce Brosnan Bond film, Goldeneye.
Bond was plunged into the post-Cold War era and Dame Judi Dench as M was the one to drag him into it. Dench became iconic in the role, one which she filled throughout Brosnan’s tenure, sharing a cheeky chemistry with the Irishman.
Yet it wasn’t until the Daniel Craig films that Dench truly defined the M role. Her relationship with Craig’s Bond was a much more complex pseudo-mother/son type of chemistry which brought the best out of both characters. A lot of people, including Dench herself, were upset when M met her untimely death in Skyfall.
3. Mason in Snowpiercer
Many didn’t recognize Swinton as Mason when she first appeared on screen. The character was originally described by director Bong Joon-Ho as a “mild-mannered man in a suit,” but he asked Swinton to play the character anyway. If you play close enough attention, you’ll notice that throughout the movie Mason is referred to as “sir” and “him,” as well as “her.” They actually never rewrote the script to change the gender, making Mason a fluid character!
2. Ellen Ripley in Alien
Ellen Ripley is perhaps the greatest heroine in cinema history, although Sarah Connor — and now Wonder Woman — may have something to say about that. Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver is a woman in a male dominated, confined space (in space) struggling to be heard over her “we-are-right” male counterparts.
Even though she seems to be the most logical in the group, the men don’t listen to her, which ultimately leads to disaster. A different future was narrowly avoided as Ripley was originally a man in an early draft of Alien.
Would Ridley Scott’s haunted house in space movie be as beloved as it is without the gender issues made obvious by Ripley as a woman? Thankfully, we’ll never know.
Honorable mention: Although not a gender swap in the script, the only other female onboard the Nostromo was a transgender woman.