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Sam Mendes Won't Direct Bond 24
Exclusive on 'a very difficult decision'

06 March 2013  |  Written by Phil de Semlyen  |  Source: Exclusive

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Sam Mendes, Skyfall

Bond may be back, but Empire can exclusively reveal that Sam Mendes won't be joining him. At the BAFTAs recently, basking in the glow of Skyfall's triumph for Outstanding British Film, it seemed that Mendes, who had previously claimed he would make just the single Bond entry, could be tempted back for another go. But, having bumped into the Oscar-winning director on a barren Scottish glen - or was it a glitzy Macau casino? - he confided in us that he won't be returning to direct Bond 24.

“It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie," explained Mendes. "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."

With Skyfall freshly crossing the $1.1bn mark at the box office and still hoovering up plaudits - it dominates the nominations at this year's Jameson Empire Awards - the news will no doubt be a blow to producers Broccoli and Wilson. Then again, with a freshly reinvigorated franchise to oversee and actors of the calibre of Daniel Craig, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw and Ralph Fiennes to work with, there'll be no shortage of high-calibre applicants to pick from for Bond 24.

If his gifted direction of dramatic beats came as no surprise to movie-watchers, Mendes' adroit handling of Bond's action sequences wowed fans and elevated Skyfall to critical and commercial echelons previously never enjoyed by a Bond movie. For his part, the 47 year old director refuses to rule out the possibility of a Martin Campbell-like return to the franchise in years to come. "I feel very honoured to have been part of the Bond family", said Mendes, "and very much hope I have a chance to work with them again sometime in the future".

A response from Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli has just reached us, and it more than leaves the door open to a Mendes return. "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 there you have it. It's a sad farewell - for now - from Mendes to Bond, and a big question about who will direct the next film. Share your thoughts below.

 

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Your Comments

yes to Bird!
Bra Bird would have a good take on the Bond series, as his work on The Incredibles was great, but he could end up making it too much homage and not enough originality and modern flare. Perhaps Nolan or Fincher? More

Posted by FilmMaster at 13:30 on 20 March 2013 | Report This Post

Brad Bird? Does action well, and The Incredibles was pure homage to 60s Ken Adams Bond sets. If not, Vaughn would be great - he is technically a fabulous director, I love watching anything he directs. I wonder if Nolan would be too gritty for 007? I'd expect EON to have no problem attracting talent after Skyfall's success. More

Posted by Moonbucket at 23:26 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

I agree with Eric
Remake On her majesty's secret service. Great movie. Has everything. Give it to Nolan to direct. More

Posted by stucy at 22:58 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Let Kenneth Branagh Direct the next one
I have a feeling that Kenneth Branagh could be approached for the next Bond, since he did a good job with Thor. I'm sure once studios see how he handles the Jack Ryan reboot. His phone will soon be ringing. More

Posted by IKEOBI at 21:17 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

I think what most people are forgetting here, is that the next Bond will be in the wake of Skyfall, bigger directors (Nolan, Danny Boyle etc) would rather create/imprint their own take (new Bond, new style), rather than being responsible for continuing Mendes' legacy. I vote Vaughn or Campbell. More

Posted by weekendatbernies at 17:46 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

I think what most people are forgetting here, is that the next Bond will be in the wake of Skyfall, bigger directors (Nolan, Danny Boyle etc) would rather create/imprint their own take (new Bond, new style), rather than being responsible for continuing Mendes' legacy. I vote Vaughn or Campbell. More

Posted by weekendatbernies at 17:42 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

RE: Campbell Hatrick
I agree. I know a lot of the dialogue was inspired by the 50th anniversary and was maybe put in to keep the fans happy, but my wife ( who isn't really a Bond fan) was a bit irritated by the self-referential dialogue and in-jokes- and we agreed that me having to explain some of the references and " ohh isn't that clever" bits wasn't necessarily a good thing ( Dr Who is the same). I say that we're done with the whole reboot/exploring Bond's origins and character bit. Any more and it will tip ove More

Posted by mjj at 16:56 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Other choices
If Campbell doesn't get the gig, I'd go for Matthew Vaughn or Danny Boyle. Joe Wright is very overrated, and Paul Greengrass never misses an opportunity to slag off Bond, so I don't know why anyone would suggest him. Plus, his shakycam bollocks is played out. More

Posted by Garth_Marenghi at 16:45 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

He did a great job, but I think Campbell should come back for another go
He's spotty outside of Bond, but Martin Campbell has directed two of the best Bond films ever. I don't think Craig liked him very much though, so I doubt it will happen. Certainly get David Arnold back in the fold, if nothing else. Newman's an excellent composer, but his effort was very forgettable next to Arnold's superb Casino Royale score. More

Posted by Garth_Marenghi at 16:42 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

I'm with MonsterCat - Joe Wright would be a great choice with his character driven style. More

Posted by jem0013 at 16:38 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

PS Can we have David Arnold Back Please...
I love Thomas Newmans music but it didn't have the exciting edge needed for a Bond flick, whereas David Arnold IS Bond. So bring him back with the next director please. More

Posted by Blyman at 16:32 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Campbell Hatrick
GoldenEye and Casino Royale - two awesome Bond Films, get Campbell back to complete his hatrick. Say what you want about Skyfall, the action was pretty unmemorable. Bond is all about the setpieces so more punchy less talky next time I say. More

Posted by Blyman at 16:28 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

RE: Exclusive: Sam Mendes Is Off Bond 24
Joe Wright could do it. More

Posted by MonsterCat at 16:11 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

RE: Get a director who understands what it is to be British
Tomas Alfredson please. More

Posted by UTB at 16:09 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

RE: Get a director who understands what it is to be British
Thirdeded, although I wouldn't say no to Nolan either, both would do a fine job. Nolan has been itching to make a Bond film (see: Inception) and the only trouble with Boyle is his hesitance to deal with big budgets (The Beach) - saying that, he did make Slumdog into a huge film, but for me it ruined it a bit. The story felt like, to quote Mr Baggins, butter scraped over too much bread. But Bond is a whole world in itself, and maybe Boyle could do something with that. It feels like Boyle's tryin More

Posted by FoxDhoj at 15:46 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

RE: Get a director who understands what it is to be British
Seconded. Boyle would be a great choice. More

Posted by Mr Gittes at 15:40 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Get a director who understands what it is to be British
Loved what Mendes did with Skyfall as did most of the world. Get Danny Boyle to do the next one. He's an incredibly talented Oscar-winning filmmaker AND has innate understanding of what makes the UK proud. Bond is a British icon and Boyle would know this. More

Posted by darthmax1 at 15:11 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Matthew Vaughn
Just watched XMen 1st Class and it towers over any of the others. KIck Ass... kicked! He's just damn good and given the Bond toybox I think he could do great things. As for the Mendes/Skyfall hates - you have your beliefs and I'll have mine. Personally I think Skyfall was incredible and a big old slap in the face for any other action/adventure movie out there. Bond is still on top - just where he likes to be (please raise a single eyebrow now) More

Posted by leroythemasochist at 14:56 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Matthew Vaughn
It has to be him! He's only producing the Kick-Ass and X-Men sequels and he ain't doing Star Wars so he'll have some free time. Fassbender's Magneto was played like 007 and Vaughn got that style spot on. I think he'd make a marvelous Bond film. More

Posted by jimbojofre at 14:49 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Well that sucks
I was looking forward to a follow-up. And after Skyfall, he's the most bankable director they could've gone with. That is, unless they can snag either Chris Nolan or Danny Boyle, both ideal directors for the franchise. More

Posted by FoxDhoj at 14:48 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Matthew Vaughn or Danny Boyle please... More

Posted by ciarandunne9 at 14:06 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Matthew Vaughn or Danny Boyle please... More

Posted by ciarandunne9 at 14:04 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Farewel. No Loss.
He didn't bring anything fresh or even a unique identity to it. It was made just like all the others. If i didn't know any better it could of been made by anybody. On top of that it was a poor Bond movie. Weak story and it felt like more of a reboot the Casino Royal. More

Posted by burtbondy at 13:59 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Danny Boyle, Paul Greengrass or Duncan Jones More

Posted by JimmyThe Saint at 13:38 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Probably a good thing
Great as Skyfall was, I think that having him back straightaway wouold be a mistake. The Bond films occasionally get themselves into a creative rut and the series thrives on change and renewal. I think the producers should allow a gap of at least 2 films before re-using a director.The Spy Who Loved Me was followed by Moonraker, which used the same director and writer ( and pretty much the same plot) with much less success. Guy Hamilton and Tom Manckewiz did 3 films on the trot, which resulted i More

Posted by mjj at 13:34 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Is Skyfall really so great
Just to add to some of the other comments....is Skyfall really that much better than Casino Royale? Or is it that it came after such an absolute turkey as QofS? To be honest it isn't as good as On Her Majesty's secret Service, the only Bond to feature a genuine romance and the only film where Bond seems genuinely in jeopardy, at times seeming lost for an escape and wondering where to turn. I think they would be better off remaking that or at least having some real female characters for once. More

Posted by ericcoyle at 13:10 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

I 2nd the Gareth Evans vote!
Loved The Raid, best action film in years. More

Posted by seven28uk at 12:54 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

RE: Skyfall was good
Paul McGuigan. His episodes of Sherlock are superb More

Posted by Ulmaceae at 12:46 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Skyfall was good
but it wasn't great. I didn't get a chance to watch it until recently and was a bit disappointed. I loved the retro touches and would love to see a 60's feel in modern day. For me Casino Royale was better. I'd like to see Tarantino have a go! I kinda like the idea of revisiting an old Bond movie like The man with the golden gun and re-doing it. More

Posted by stucy at 12:31 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Gareth Evans
The Raid cost $1.1m. Skyfall cost $200m. That is all. More

Posted by ChesterCopperpot at 12:19 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Rupert Wyatt...
More

Posted by Primus at 12:17 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Bond's New Clothes
Good, I'm glad. Skyfall has to be one of the most overrated films in recent years. It was good, but no where near as good as the praise it receives, and I believe this was, in part, due to that fact it was directed by a 'respected' director such as Mendes, so all the critics had their rose-tinted glasses on. As for the public reaction? Well, just look at Transformers 3. More

Posted by cunningmunki at 12:16 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Rupert Wyatt...
...has just dropped out of The Equalizer adaptation. 'Nuff said? More

Posted by Primus at 12:10 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

I think Kathryn Bigelow would be a good choice. More

Posted by bradcam72 at 12:06 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Not surprised.
It would be foolhardy for Mendes to follow this up as he resided the bar impossibly high for himself. It almost certainly won’t make as much at the box office either as the culmination of the Olympics and the 50th anniversary really helped contribute towards the patriotism and enthusiasm for Bond. Skyfall was a great entry into the Bond cannon but I’d like to see someone else tackle the franchise. Although I really enjoyed it, it wasn’t The Best Bond Ever. Martin Campb More

Posted by Workshed at 12:02 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Someone always says 'Nolan', but ...
... personally I think Bond is at his best when he's emotional. That's when he's at his most dangerous. Nolan is wonderful but his movies are becoming great feats of engineering, like watching the gears of a Swiss watch. Fascinating to look at and definitely worth returning to, but lacking in humanity. My vote? Ben Affleck, of course. He's the man of the moment and Bond would be in his genre of crime plots and human drama. Obvious choice, but the right choice, and that's what counts. More

Posted by Nicky C at 12:01 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Let Ralph Fiennes direct it. More

Posted by VwikusM at 11:58 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

Chris Nolan anyone?? More

Posted by Palmer_zan at 11:42 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

It's completely understandable. The amount of pressure that would be on him to equal if not better Skyfall would be ridiculous, just like one of the reasons Peter Jackson didn't want to direct The Hobbit in the first place. If he does return after a few like Campbell from Goldeneye to Casino Royale, the 'Mendes hype' might have died down to a point where he can come back into the franchise with a fresh head and make the film he wants to make, with substantially less pressure. More

Posted by Whistler at 11:40 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

He's gonna be a tough act to follow More

Posted by shadozfest at 11:00 on 06 March 2013 | Report This Post

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