Well here’s a development that’s surprising for a couple of reasons. Though he outright turned down the offer to return and direct the next James Bond film following last year’s Skyfall, it appears that Sam Mendes has had a change of heart as he is now in negotiations to direct Bond 24. This comes just hours after a report from Variety, which claimed that an impressive lineup of directors—including Nicolas Winding Refn and Ang Lee—had met with EON Productions and Sony about taking on the Bond 24 directing gig. Hit the jump for more.
After Skyfall opened to overwhelmingly positive reviews and raked in over $1 billion at the worldwide box office, Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael H. Wilson approached Mendes about returning to helm the next installment of the franchise. Mendes declined to return this past March, citing his commitments to stage productions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factor and King Lear as obstacles that would prevent him from making the 2014/2015 release date that EON was aiming to hit.
Now Deadline reports that Mendes recently got back in touch with Broccoli and Wilson, and the filmmaker subsequently changed his tune and is now in talks to direct the 24th James Bond film. Apparently the producers have agreed to wait until Mendes has completed his stage commitments before moving forward with Bond 24, which is in keeping with the hoped for 2016 release date that we reported on earlier today. Mendes is currently knee-deep in prepping the West End launch of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factor musical, after which he is expected to move on to helming a stage adaptation of King Lear.
This is a refreshing development, not only because Mendes crafted one of the best Bond films ever made with Skyfall, but also because a studio is actually willing to wait and not rush a franchise entry in order to ensure that it is creatively up to snuff. This is rare nowadays, as studios frequently begin work on the next installment of a series before the current one is even finished filming. With Mendes not having to rush towards a firm release date, the director should have plenty of time to collaborate with Skyfall screenwriter John Logan in order to put together a hopefully worthy follow-up film.
We learned back in November that Mendes and Logan already had a story idea for Bond 24, so it’ll be interesting to see how they deliver on the many developments that occurred in Skyfall.