Jan 5, 2010

Tradecraft: Sam Mendes To Direct The Next Bond Movie?

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that American Beauty director Sam Mendes is in talks to direct the next James Bond movie.  Mendes previously worked with Bond star Daniel Craig on The Road to Perdition in 2002. 

Mendes is another surprising, sort of left-field choice for 007, but not as surprising a choice as it once would have been, now that Marc Forster has paved the way for maverick independent directors to helm Bond films with his unfortunate misfire Quantum of Solace.  I love the idea of letting big-time directors handle James Bond, but I do kind of wish they'd go with more action-savvy choices.  (I would still love, love, love to see Tom Tykwer try his hand at Bond!)  Some of the guys who have supposedly jockeyed for Bond directing gigs over the years would seem better suited: Tarantino, Spielberg, Scorcese.  I thought both Michael Apted and Marc Forster were intriguing director choices, but sadly I felt they both ultimately missed the boat.  While they proved adept at handling story and character, which are obviously crucial and have historically sometimes been neglected in Bond movies, in my opinion their films (The World Is Not Enough and Quantum of Solace, respectively) had the least exciting action sequences in the series' history.  And action is also a crucial ingredient in the series' formula.  Sam Mendes, on the other hand, has had a bit of experience directing action sequences in the midst of dramas, both in Road to Perdition and Jarhead.  I'm still thrilled about Frost/Nixon screenwriter Peter Morgan's involvement in Bond 23, and hopefully this Academy Award-winning director will knock it out of the park.  It's a bold choice that shows that the producers now trust directors more than they used to.  This is a good thing.  Let's just hope it doesn't go the way of the Forster experiment. 

I'm glad to see movement on the next Bond film, which the trade says "is being fast-tracked and could begin as early as June."  There have been a lot of rumors swirling lately about the film being delayed indefinitely due to studio MGM's uncertain future, so talks with a director look promising!

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