Top 5 Directors Perfect to Replace Sam Mendes on James Bond 24
by Ethan Anderton
March 6, 2013
Earlier today we learned that Skyfall director Sam Mendes would not be returning for James Bond 24 to continue the British secret agent franchise. While that leaves the sequel without a director, we're also still wondering whether or not this means the proposed two-part back-to-back story, written by John Logan (Skyfall), might come back into play with Mendes stepping away from what he would have wanted to be a standalone film. More importantly, we're wondering who will step up to sit in the director's chair for 007's next venture. Daniel Craig is already slated to return, so who is the best director be to keep him in action?
Yes, it's the most obvious choice, but the director of The Dark Knight saga, Inception and more has expressed more than a fleeting interest in directing a James Bond film. Personally, I think Mendes came pretty close to directing what a Christopher Nolan version of 007 would look like, but there's likely fans who will disagree. The only issue here is that Nolan is now slated to direct Interstellar, the sci-fi script from his brother Jonathan Nolan which has both Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. behind it. Of course, Nolan is producing through is Syncopy banner so he does have a certain amount of control and might be able to delay the project if James Bond should come his way.
By the time producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli are ready to get James Bond 24 off the ground, Cuarón should be finished with his sci-fi film Gravity, leaving him with plenty of time to take on James Bond's next mission. The Mexican filmmaker has already shown promise by picking up a franchise and being respectful of its mythology and characters while still adding his own style with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, so this should be a piece of cake for the visionary director. Plus, maybe Cuarón can take Bond to Mexico to get in trouble with some of the locals.
Sure, this guy is supposed to be retiring after he's done with the HBO film Behind the Candelabra with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, but something as tempting as James Bond might be able to coax the Ocean's Eleven and Contagion director into taking on one more film. Some his films like Haywire, Out of Sight and The Limey all act as proof that Soderbergh would be great behind the camera for 007, and his visual style would certainly fit in with what Mendes, Martin Campbell and Marc Forster accomplished with the earlier films featuring Daniel Craig.
Though we were waiting on a new director to board the project before talking about this news, Rupert Wyatt is no longer attached to direct The Equalizer with Denzel Washington. While one would think that would leave him wide open to take on James Bond sometime in the near future, the reason Wyatt can't take on the film is due to his World War I drama Birdsong. That film might make scheduling difficult, but we're not sure when Columbia & MGM are looking to get the project off the ground. Wyatt has proven to be a surprisingly great filmmaker after Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and James Bond would be the perfect follow-up to a lower key drama like Birdsong. After all, Wyatt made a film that paid tribute to an old franchise, had its own style, heart and some great blockbuster action as well. It's a pretty good fit.
You might not be thinking that the director of Atonement, Pride & Prejudice and Anna Karenina would be fit for a James Bond film, but let's not forget Hanna, the alternative, action-packed fairytale. If that's what Wright can do with action when his protagonist is a trained teenage girl, imagine when he can do with Britain's most decorated secret agent. Plus, you have to wonder what a director like Wright, who delivered this stunning sequence in Atonement (with the help of The Avengers cinematographer Seamus McGarvey), could do with the thrills and danger that come with 007.
So those are my picks for the next James Bond director. But of course, there are likely plenty of other worthy names out there. Others that I considered included Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), Steve McQueen (Shame) and David Yates (Harry Potter franchise), but these five names seemed to be the best of the bunch. But some hardcore James Bond fans and cinephiles out there might have more to say on the subject of a new director. So we'll toss it up to you. Who do you think should direct James Bond 24?