After Sam Mendes opted not to return to helm the upcoming 24th installment of the James Bond franchise, Eon and Sony Pictures have been on the hunt for a new director with an eye towards getting the next film out by 2016. While rumors swirled recently that Christopher Nolan was considering the job, the notion seemed highly unlikely because A.) he’s busy prepping to shoot Interstellar this summer and B.) he has already stated in the past that he’d like to direct a Bond film when he can reboot the franchise with a new actor.
Following Mendes’ Skyfall will be no small task, but it appears that Eon and Sony are aiming for the cream of the filmmaking crop as directors such as Ang Lee, Nicolas Winding Refn, and Iron Man 3 helmer Shane Black have reportedly been considered for the director’s chair. Hit the jump for more. [Update: Now Deadline reports that Sam Mendes has changed his mind and is in talks to return to helm Bond 24. Read the full story here.]
Following a report from FirstShowing earlier today that had Refn squirming on camera when asked about rumors that he might direct the next Bond film, Variety reports that the Drive helmer is just one of a group of talented directors that Eon is interested in. Apparently Refn has been considered for the job alongside Ang Lee, Shane Black, Tom Hooper, and Harry Potter helmer David Yates. Let’s take a look at the viability of each option individually, shall we?
Refn just recently debuted his latest film, Only God Forgives, at the Cannes Film Festival, but he hasn’t yet announced a follow-up. Only God Forgives suffered from a fairly negative critical reaction from the folks at Cannes and Refn might have trouble reigning in his artistic style in order to make something more commercially viable with Bond 24, but he’s a fascinating choice nonetheless.
Coming off the smashing success of Iron Man 3, Black has now committed to finally making his passion project Doc Savage as his next film. Black has always marched to the beat of his own drummer, and he’s already put Doc Savage on hold once to helm Iron Man 3, so I’m not so sure he’d postpone the project again to direct Bond 24. That said, both Bond and Doc Savage fall under Sony’s roof, so it’s possible that something could be worked out.
As for Lee, he has yet to pick a follow-up project after the grueling process of getting Life of Pi made (not to mention subsequently winning the Best Director Oscar), but he recently backed out of helming the FX pilot Tyrant due to his own exhaustion, so whether he’s up for another Herculean undertaking or if he’d rather go small scale is unknown. That being said, Lee is a master of transcending different genres, and I’d love to see him get another crack at an action-oriented pic after Hulk.
Hooper has also yet to settle on his next project following the release and awards season run of his musical Les Miserables, but the previous Oscar-winner suffered a pretty brutal critical shellacking for his directorial choices on Les Mis and I’m not quite sure he’s the right fit for a Bond film—though I guess the same could’ve been said for the drama-oriented Mendes before he tackled Skyfall. Hooper has most recently been mentioned as a contender to direct the Freddie Mercury biopic, but is not officially attached to anything just yet.
After directing four Harry Potter films back-to-back, Yates has been taking his time in settling on his next project. He was developing a Tarzan redo at Warner Bros. that was poised to start production this year, but the studio recently pushed that film back due to budget concerns. Yates has certainly shown a knack for balancing thrilling action sequences with character-centric drama, so one imagines he could make one hell of a compelling Bond film.
There’s also the possibility that Eon could settle on a different director entirely for Bond 24, and Variety notes that it could be some time before the studio settles on a choice. Not only is Eon still meeting with directors, but apparently Daniel Craig’s deal for Bond 24 is still being worked out following the massive box office success of Skyfall. Part of his new deal with the series could include director approval, and so a filmmaker decision will likely have to be made after Craig’s new Bond deal is signed.
Skyfall scribe John Logan is still attached to pen the script for Bond 24 with an eye towards releasing the pic by 2016 at the latest, and nearly all of the aforementioned filmmakers sound like interesting choices to take the helm of the franchise (I’m not quite sold on Hooper). Hopefully we hear some kind of firm word in the next few months, but sound off in the comments with who you think should direct the next Bond film.