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6 Directors Who Could Helm The Next James Bond Film

The Playlist By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist March 6, 2013 at 12:02PM

Somewhat shocking (to fans), but not completely surprising news this AM. Sam Mendes, the director of "Skyfall," the highest grossing -- by a large margin with $1.1 billion -- and arguably most popular James Bond film ever decided to pass and won't be directing "Bond 24." While the "American Beauty" director suggested in recent interviews he might take on the next installment -- something the Bond producers would have loved, we're sure -- he had flipped and flopped and it doesn't come as huge surprise Mendes moved on if you've paid attention to his creatively peripatetic career.
13
Joe Cornish

Joe Cornish
Why He Could Do It: The British comedian/DJ turned director has been one of the hot prospects out there in the last few years. Having turned screenwriter with pal Edgar Wright to pen " The Adventures of Tintin" and " Ant-Man," Cornish made his directorial debut midway through 2011 with " Attack The Block," a glorious John-Carpenter-in-a-hoodie action-horror that became a serious fan favorite. Since then, Cornish has been courted for several blockbusters, including " A Good Day To Die Hard" and, yes, " The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," but has pretty much preferred to stick to the beat of his own drum to date. But, and I say this as a Brit, 007 holds a very special place in the British psyche, and as Mendes has shown, directors who might not otherwise dream of making a franchise picture would still consider it. And Cornish is a confessed and avowed Bond fan -- witness his loving ribbing of the series in a faux " Quantum Of Solace" theme song composed for his radio show with Adam Buxton a few years back. Furthermore, the sensibilities shown in his debut, for thrills and laughs in equal measure, all with real directorial skills and a firm sense of Britishness (one of the refreshing things about Mendes' entry), suggest a Cornish Bond could be something truly excellent.
Why He Might Not: Cornish's next film is slated to be the " E.T"/" Iron Giant"ish sci-fi " Rust." Word has been quiet since it was announced a little while back, but it's presumably intended to shoot sometime during 2013. When exactly that film rolls may be the deciding factor for the director when it comes to availability, but even then, he's developing an adaptation of seminal cyberpunk novel " Snow Crash," and possibly a new original script too. So there's a certain amount on his plate. Furthermore, Cornish is cautious about jumping early into the big-budget world,  telling us late last year of his "Die Hard" offer, "Ultimately I think it would have been too big a step to take." Bond would seem to qualify similarly, unless he's able to fit it in after "Rust." And even then, we're just not sure how interested Cornish would be in actually directing a Bond movie, as big a fan as he might be of the series. Time, we suppose, will tell.

Other Contenders:  Well, everyone loves to throw his name up on the wishlist, but  Christopher Nolan  is a long shot. During the summer Nolan  said "it would have to be the right situation and the right time in their cycle of things," but we assume you can count him way out. Some fans are already screaming on Twitter out for Danish  helmer Nicolas Winding Refn (" Drive") but after three Hollywood-ish/big-budgeted films fell apart for him (the last one  being " The Equalizer") the last thing he probably wants to do is that song and dance again (especially when he has a few of his own original projects still brewing). You can also name some of the biggest directors in the world if you like, but Bond generally doesn't go there; Mendes being the biggest name director to helm these films ever and he wasn't all that "big" in this world to begin with (even as the only Academy Award-winning filmmaker to ever direct a Bond film).  So count out the Peter Jacksons, Steven  Spielberg's et al. They aren't realistic choices.

Who else might be a contender to helm? Our best guess is that the days of journeymen helmers like  Michael Apted and  Roger Spottiswoode are done. Producers have seen the benefits of bringing in an A-list auteur, and are likely to try and repeat the trick, even if they have to pay out for it. And yet they're going to need to be available relatively soon, with a release in 2015 being loosely targeted.

Given that he's made two of the great Bond movies, we certainly wouldn't be against the idea of " Casino Royale" director Martin Campbell coming back, especially as he's coming off the gigantic misfire of " Green Lantern," and could probably use a hit. Rising star J. Blakeson (" The Disappearance Of Alice Creed") is on a lot of shortlists these days, though he's supposed to be shooting the crime thriller " Bad Blood And Trouble" with Bradley Cooper in the latter half of next year, and we suppose Rupert Sanders might be feasible, but we'd rather someone with a firmer sense of story in charge.

Danny Boyle's been rumored for Bond in the past, and he's done with " Trance," but will 007 seem like a step down after Oscar and Olympic triumphs? Ang Lee could be an interesting choice, and is a theoretically free agent after " Life Of Pi" hits in a few weeks, while the idea of Tomas Alfredson tackling Bond is a very intriguing one, though he likely feels he's scratched his espionage itch after " Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." And for more leftfield choices, the great Jonathan Glazer (" Birth") should be finished with his long-gestating " Under The Skin" in the immediate future; he's possibly too sedate for 007, but we'd love to see his take on the franchise. British helmer Ben Wheatley could also be fascinating, though he seems happy carving out his own path for the most part. And with " Lawless" marking a more commercial side to John Hillcoat's work, he might be in the running in theory, which we'd like to see if only for a Nick Cave-penned Bond theme.

Anyone else you'd like to see considered? Let us know in the comments section below.  - Oliver Lyttelton with additional work by Rodrigo Perez

This article is related to: Bond 24, James Bond, Sam Mendes, Daniel Craig, Rupert Wyatt, Joe Wright


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