'Skyfall' Director Sam Mendes Will Not Be Back for James Bond 24
Last month we heard that director Sam Mendes was seriously considering a return to the James Bond franchise after his stellar installment Skyfall wowed audiences last year (it was also my favorite film of 2012). However, it sounds like the filmmaker has now had a reluctant change of heart. Empire recently spoke with Mendes and he will not be returning to direct James Bond 24. He said, "It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael [Wilson] and Barbara [Broccoli]’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie." It sounds like commitments to the theatre will keep him busy over the next year or so.
Mendes (who we interviewed last year) explained, "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." The question is whether or not this changes the plans for Bond 24. One of the reasons Mendes was reconsidering returning to the franchise was because the next film would be a standalone sequel, abandoning the idea of a two-part back-to-back story, written by John Logan (Skyfall). Could this back-to-back Bond tale come back if a new director decides to agree to a two-picture deal? Only time will tell.
As for how producers Wilson and Broccoli are handling the news, they said, "We thoroughly enjoyed working with Sam, he directed our most successful Bond movie ever, Skyfall. We would have loved to have made the next film with him but completely respect his decision to focus on other projects and hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with him again." So now there's a very promising job opening across the pond. Who can step up to follow the box office and critical success of Skyfall? It's a tough job, but there's plenty of great filmmakers out there. Any suggestions?