[Interview] How ‘MOONRAKER’ Found Its Way Into ‘BLACK WIDOW’

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Courtney Howard // Film Critic

The tone that decidedly marks Natasha Romanoff’s (Scarlett Johansson) stand-alone journey in BLACK WIDOW is very much influenced by that of the James Bond franchise. It even includes slight nods to the popular serial. There’s lots of espionage, a villainous baddie seeking world domination and a serious hero laser focused on their task to save the world, and a Q-inspired guy, Mason (O-T Fagbenle), who procures all of Nat’s goods she ever needs to be set up for her high-stakes missions and life outside of her job.

Not only does the actioner feature a third act moment that pays direct homage to MOONRAKER, but it also features a clip from the Roger Moore-headliner early on in the movie. Screenwriter Eric Pearson told me during our recent phone interview that the Bond film they chose proved to be a task within itself.

“There were so many hours wasted about what Bond movie she should be watching. Everyone had an opinion – especially because we were shooting in London. Everybody had an opinion over there.”

Where the clip from the 11th Bond film is deployed was also important for the purposes of character development. He says,

“There’s a point at the very beginning of the movie where Natasha is going off the grid and she’s got someone who sets her up with what she needs to hide out for a while. One of the things was her entertainment. For me, I love the idea that she watches old Bond movies. Natasha is this unknowable Avenger. She chooses how much people get to know her. I thought it was a really human moment to have her in private, be silly and speaking the lines of a Bond movie to herself. It made her human.”

The reasoning behind why Natasha has Mason bring old videotapes of Bond movies to her to watch in her secluded hideaway found its way into a scene that was eventually cut, but housed one of Pearson’s favorite lines.

“The guy who got it for her says, ‘Really? Bond movies?!’ And the line that I loved was, ‘You know how real housewives watch THE REAL HOUSEWIVES? These are kinda like that for me.’”

Pearson further elucidates,

“The idea that Bond is her reality TV. I loved it! I don’t know why we cut it. Maybe for time, or something.”

BLACK WIDOW is now playing in cinemas and available through Disney+ Premiere Access.

About author

Courtney Howard

Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, CCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.