First up, and the most tenuous of the bunch, FirstShowing essentially ran an "exclusive reaction" piece featuring a segment from their Cannes interview with Nicolas Winding Refn, where they asked him about directing Bond and he gave a non-answer facial expression (see the video below.) They took at as possible confirmation he's been approached, but is Refn really going to jump a major, established, long running series? Especially in light of his recent comments that essentially compared blockbuster moviemaking to prostitution?
“Hollywood is like going into a hotel room and seeing the most gorgeous escort girl,” he said to Variety (also see video below). “She will say to you 'You are the greatest filmmaker in the world, I will do whatever you want’ and you’re so tempted, but you’re also like ‘Am I gonna catch something?’”
Cheeky? Yes, but he has a bigger point to make: “Creative control doesn’t mean a whole lot if what’s at stake is tremendous,” he explained. “If you make a movie that costs $100 million, you may have as much control as you want but if that movie doesn’t make half a billion, you’re going to have an issue.” So does he really want to make a movie that's definitely going to cost more than $100 million, if it comes with an unbelievable degree of expectation to hit it big? Something tells us that Refn would be more comfortable doing something that he can at least put his vision and brand on, without being compromised or risking his credibility or even his career.
But big name helmers are undoubtedly being looked at. According to the trade, Ang Lee, Tom Hooper, David Yates and Shane Black are being "considered" with Eon having apparently met with some of them. The common link between them? They are also massively successful helmers with either box office success and awards season honors (or both) between them, so duh, of course, they will be considered. Why not aim high? Bond producers definitely stepped up the game by ensnaring Sam Mendes, at Daniel Craig's suggestion, for "Skyfall." It of course became the most successful ever entry in the long-running franchise, and with negotiations still ongoing to get Craig back in the tuxedo, we'd guess that some of these folks are dudes he wants to work with.
So who will it be? It might not be any of these guys. As Refn suggested, you sorta have to work within an established format with the Bond movies (as well as various product placements, franchise signifiers and more) and while Eon would love a big name, that person won't be able to shake things up too much -- more like gently stir. No matter the name, we wouldn't expect a dramatic reinvention of what is already working just fine.