Director Of Skyfall Turns Down Bond 24
Last year Skyfall (read our review here) greatly surpassed everyone’s expectations, both critically and commercially. Historically Skyfall is the first Bond film to break a billion dollars at the box office, beating out The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and its level of success was widely unanticipated. Sam Mendes directed Skyfall, the fantastic 23rd Bond film that saw the hero face a more personal threat in the form of Javier Bardem‘s snarling villain. We also got a completely new M, Q and Moneypenny for the franchise, and a better song than last time!
So, it seemed natural for the studio to want Mendes to return to the directing chair for the next instalment considering his great success. The question of Mendes’ future involvement in the franchise has been up in the air for a while, with various reports stating that he was very close to signing a deal. However, it has come to light that he has officially passed on the offer, citing that he needs to focus on his theatre productions, but says that he would be interested in returning to the franchise in the future. He says:
It has been a very difficult decision not to accept [producers Michael G. 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 and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond.
It’s no secret that Skyfall caught the “Nolanitis” bug going around Hollywood, (Mendes even cites Christopher Nolan‘s work on his The Dark Knight Trilogy as a huge inspiration behind his approach to Bond) so it would seem like a natural conclusion to get Nolan in for the next film. Nolan has even stated in the past that it’s on his bucket list to direct a Bond film, and his love for the franchise is very visible in the final action scenes Inception. In fact it could be argued that those scenes were Nolan’s way of offering Tom Hardy for the role to the populous and he makes a strong argument.
However, Nolan is currently working on a new original science fiction project with his brother called Interstellar, as well as shepherding to the screen whatever Warner Brothers is trying to do with the DC comic universe. So, he’s out for now then.
Personally, so long as they don’t choose Paul Greengrass I’ll be ok. If they do choose him, or someone who follows his school of thought, we can expect another hot mess like Quantum Of Solace. Wonderful.
Honestly, while everyone obsesses over the big name director at this point, it’s worth noting that a franchise like Bond lives and dies by its stories. We’re officially out of great Fleming material, so original stories need to be created. Skyfall was very successful because of it’s more personal approach and its darker, more character focused leanings. However, would that really work as well a second time in a row? I believe part of what made Skyfall so successful was because it was unexpected for a Bond property to contain that level of depth and focus – at the same time, while Skyfall was a very welcome deviation from the norm, it’s not the type of formula that could realistically continue. It was a very fitting farewell to Judi Dench and a good way to forget about the mistakes of Quantum Of Solace, but it’s not a structure that would likely work again so soon. Detractors of the film have felt that it severely lacked the charm and audacity that the franchise is more known for and in some ways, I would be inclined to agree. I loved Skyfall for its more delicate touches, but to juxtapose it effectively I’d like to see a return to a more wider spanning plot and diabolical villain in future instalments.
Bond 24 will be written by John Logan and star Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw. It’s due for release in November 2014 via MGM and Warner Brothers.