Sam Mendes Will Not Direct the Next James Bond Film

     March 6, 2013

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Last year’s Skyfall was a massive hit in every single sense of the word.  The film was met with universal praise from critics, with many hailing it as one of the greatest Bond films of all time, and enjoyed an equally enthusiastic response from audiences as the film has thus far grossed over $1 billion worldwide.  Much of the film’s success is due to director Sam Mendes, who crafted a take on the character that was at once familiar and exciting as the filmmaker was able to call back to the Bond films of old while also exploring the question of where a spy like James Bond fits into our modern society.  It’s a wholly thrilling moviegoing experience, and it’s a testament to Skyfall’s quality that it stands as one of the best films of the very crowded 2012.

Soon after Skyfall’s success, the question began to turn to whether Mendes might consider returning to the franchise for the next film.  The director went so far as to come up with another story idea for Bond 24, but it appears that he ultimately won’t be getting back into the director’s chair this time around.  Hit the jump to read on.

sam-mendes-judi-dench-skyfallSpeaking with Empire, Mendes confirmed that after considering a return, he has decided not to helm the next Bond film:

“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.”

Though I understand that Mendes has a very busy schedule in the near future, it’s still disappointing to hear that he won’t be coming back to the franchise.  Skyfall is impressive enough on its own, but it’s crazy to think that the pic marks Mendes’ first foray into the action genre.  Though Mendes rules out a return in the next film, he admits he’s still open to coming back to Bond sometime down the road:

“I feel very honoured to have been part of the Bond family, and very much hope I have a chance to work with them again sometime in the future”.

John Logan—with whom Mendes hatched the idea for Bond 24—is still onboard to pen the script as longtime Bond screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have also exited the series following Skyfall.  Hopefully Wilson and Broccoli can rope in an equally exciting filmmaker to take the helm of this next installment.  Mendes certainly set up a lot of new players in the Bond universe, and I’m eager to see where they’re taken in subsequent films.  What about you, readers?  Who do you think should direct the next Bond film?

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