As recently as mid-February, news was coming from the James Bond camp that the director of Skyfall, Sam Mendes, would be returning to direct the as-yet unnamed 24th James Bond film. Source noted that, following the extreme success of the film (high critical ratings, the highest box office grosses of any Bond film ever, two Academy Award wins and three more nominations), Mendes was “75%” committed to returning to the 007 series. Well, apparently that’s not happening now.
In an talk with Empire (via Cinema Blend), Mendes stated that his commitments to various theatrical productions in the coming years will require his attention—attention which the Skyfall follow-up would require in order to be anywhere near as successful as its predecessor, rather than being another Quantum of Solace:
“It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael [Wilson] and Barbara [Broccoli]’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie. Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (a new musical adaptation, in the West End) and King Lear (at the National Theatre in London in 2014, to star Simon Russell Beale), that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond.”
So, it looks like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and King Lear will have Mendes’ focus for the next two years, meaning that Bond 24 (currently being written by Skyfall scribe John Logan) will require a new director. It will be interesting to see who producers Wilson and Broccoli select, for as Cinema Blend notes, the franchise is now at a unique place—Skyfall essentially connected the first two “dark and gritty” Daniel Craig films into the overall continuity of the earlier, classic Bond films.
Who would you like to see direct Bond 24?
Source: Cinema Blend