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Sam Mendes in Talks to Direct Next James Bond Film

Skyfall was a smash, and naturally EON Productions, MGM and Sony want to get a new James Bond film rolling with all due speed. All the companies involved want to get their money’s worth out of Daniel Craig while they’ve got him. The Bond machine doesn’t move quickly, however, and it’s no easy task to choose the path for the new installment of a franchise that is 50 years old and almost two dozen films along.

The scoop is that Sam Mendes is in talks to direct.  Deadline is saying categorically that  “Mendes will be the director of the next Bond.” John Logan is writing the script. There’s also the mention that producers want Mendes enough to wait for him to finish the U.K. and Broadway runs of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Whether that means the next Bond film is further off than we had previously assumed is open to question.

EON was talking to a variety of possible directors, and some of the names being reported included Ang LeeTom Hooper, David YatesNicolas Winding Refn, and Shane Black. That didn’t mean that any of them would be the person who next brings Bond to life, but it gave us something to think about.

Firstshowing talked to Refn, who made some vague hints about doing Bond. But there was hardly anything conclusive. And Refn’s own working methods are, by his own admission, not quite in keeping with the big machine of a Bond film, so he seemed like a wild left-field choice. (Especially after his new film Only God Forgives was ripped apart at Cannes for being all style and little substance. Then again, that approach has worked for Bond before.)

Variety also reported that Refn was part of the conversation, but focused on the other directors. Ang Lee just bailed on making the Tyrant pilot because he said he needed time to rest after working four years on Life of Pi. Making a Bond film is not anyone’s idea of rest, which made Lee seem like a longshot. He might actually be the best choice for the job, however. Under Lee, there’s little doubt that Bond 24 would have all the qualities that audiences respond to, from action to the deeper touches of character that set the Craig films apart from others…

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