Back in the early days of the James Bond movie franchise, EON was pumping out new installments almost every year and a handful of trusted filmmakers were given the opportunity to direct several Bond flicks in a row. John Glen is the current reigning champ, having helmed all five 007 films released in the ’80s, but in recent years that same kind of consistency has simply not been possible. I’m not sure if this is because the directors were not invited back or if they were simply unwilling to be tied down, but it looks like the pattern will be repeated once again with Sam Mendes. Even after Skyfall became the most successful Bond movie of all time, earning over $1 billion worldwide, Mendes will apparently be moving on after just one film.
According to Empire, Mendes has confirmed that he will not be returning for Bond 24. This is contrary to comments that he made at the BAFTAs last month, where Skyfall won Outstanding British Film. Although he seems conflicted, he has decided that he needs to focus on his upcoming theatre productions instead:
“It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara’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. 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.”
Clearly he is leaving the door open to take on another 007 movie in the future, but he will not get to directly continue the story that he told in Skyfall. Personally I think this news is unfortunate, but not unexpected. Skyfall proved that recruiting accomplished art house directors can give inspired results, but these kinds of filmmakers are probably less likely to do multiple installments. I just hope that they keep an open mind as they search for a new candidate for Bond 24. Are you disappointed that Sam Mendes won’t be back? Who would you like to see take on the next Bond movie?