Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

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by Oliver Lyttelton
June 4, 2012 8:22 AM
18 Comments
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It's about six weeks to go before "The Dark Knight Rises" hits, closing up Christopher Nolan's Bat-trilogy, and it's likely only marking the end of the first act of his career (it's easy to forget that the director is only 41 -- a couple of decades younger than most of his A-list competition). Given that the film is a guaranteed hit, and it's off the back of "Inception," the most personal film of the director's career that also happened to make $800 million worldwide, the world is the director's oyster, as far as what comes next -- whatever he would like to make, he'll be given a handsome sum to do exactly that.

Of course, what that film could be remains shrouded in secrecy. The director was on Warner Bros' wish-list to direct their reboot of "The Twilight Zone" before Matt Reeves got the gig, but otherwise, the only project he's known to have in the works, bar a producing job for a new film from director Keith Gordon, is his long-in-the-works Howard Hughes biopic. Originally in the works after "Insomnia" a decade ago, and set to star Jim Carrey as the reclusive billionaire, the project got put on hold when Martin Scorsese moved on with "The Aviator," but got a new lease of life last year, when it was reported that Nolan was using Michael Drosnin’s "Citizen Hughes: The Power, the Money and the Madness" as source material for a new iteratation, and was planning to shoot sometime in 2012 for a release in 2014.

If it was true then, however, it seems to no longer be the case. In the new, must-read issue of Empire Magazine, it emerges that the Hughes project is now off the table, the director saying he was able to scratch that itch with the Batman franchise -- "Luckily I managed to find another wealthy, quirky character who's orphaned at a young age." A shame certainly, but we'd always wondered if the long delay would make Nolan move on to other things, and it's exciting to think of what else might be out there.

One possibility, albeit a way down the line, is a Bond movie. The director, as most Brits who grew up watching the Ian Fleming franchise on rainy bank holidays such as this one are, is a long-time fan of the series, mentioning Bond as a key influence on both "Batman Begins" and "Inception" (principally the snowy final action sequence in the film, which owes a lot to "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"), and a couple of years back, expressed an interest in directing an entry in the series at some point.

In the Empire interview, Nolan reiterates that he's serious about the prospect, and even says he's met with the franchise's producers at some point in the past, but cautions that "It would have to be the right situation and the right time in their cycle of things." To us, that would seem to suggest that Nolan would only like to take up the reins if he got to make a fresh start, including casting a new Bond, so as long as Daniel Craig is wearing the tux, we wouldn't hold up hope for a Nolan Bond. But maybe the next time they decide to shake things up...

The special "Dark Knight Rises" issue of Empire, with much more from the director, is on newsstands now, and the film hits theaters on July 20th.

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18 Comments

  • Jay | July 15, 2012 8:12 PMReply

    I'm more interested in a Warren Beatty rendering.

  • Jack | June 13, 2012 5:27 AMReply

    Sorry to hear Chris Nolan's Hughes project is dead. I was hoping to see if he had the stuffing to help find the picture taken of Hughes in Las Vegas in 1971. The details can be found on "Youtube". "Howard Hughes Looking for the Picture."

  • Mac | June 9, 2012 1:37 AMReply

    Absolutly!!! Love to see NOLAN's BOND. Any time!
    Fassbender would be first choice & Hardy would be 2nd (if Fassbender isnt interested or too old at that time)!!
    But I want Nolan to carry on making Grand scale intellectual Films; Action, SciFi, Physiological, Heist, kind of films!
    Other than Spielberg, Cameron & Nolan I don't think any studio would give any amount of money to Any filmmaker; blindly... & Big budgets stuff is impossible!
    Nolan is one of very few who can take 100s of millions without any problem... So he MUST continue big film... SURELY THEY'LL BE GREAT as well!!
    Cuz rest of directors are making small & good films... We need ones like Nolan who can take out 160 million$ for a film like INCEPTION!! Intellectual SciFi Action Heist Physiological complex film ... Big film & then it earns big as well!!
    Hope Nolan carrys on making Big & GREAT films!!

  • 2+2=5 | June 4, 2012 11:44 PMReply

    "To us, that would seem to suggest that Nolan would only like to take up the reins if he got to make a fresh start, including casting a new Bond"

    That's a stretch of your imagination right there.

  • Tom | June 4, 2012 6:45 PMReply

    Guy Pearce as Bond? I can see it.

  • spike | June 4, 2012 4:32 PMReply

    Jim Carrey as Howard Hughes?????????????? Whew! I'm sure glad Nolan tabled that project. Carrey's dramas typically tank, but he's the wrong actor for the role anyway.

  • Generous | June 4, 2012 2:37 PMReply

    Please more imagination and cool casting: Directed by Nolan with Beckham playing Bond. Bad Boy: Jose Mourinho coach soccer.

  • Sara | June 4, 2012 12:26 PMReply

    No!!! please no!!! he is so overrated... I slept at first Batman and Inception. He doesn't know how to do actions scenes and emotions scenes as well...

  • PBR street gang | June 4, 2012 1:47 PM

    O you must not confuse your opinions with facts !

  • SR | June 4, 2012 1:30 PM

    Maybe your brain couldn't handle an actual story. If all you want is explosions and overacting go watch that Michael Bay crap.

  • Bryan | June 4, 2012 11:25 AMReply

    I'd rather see Tarantino's Bond.

  • Helgi | June 4, 2012 8:57 AMReply

    How about something low-key and personal, for a change? Not one more 300 million dollar special effect-blitz. An please, not another Inception, which should have been called ZZZZomnia.

  • cirkusfolk | June 4, 2012 1:35 PM

    I don't think he meant the Bond to be low-key...he just meant his next film. The Bond would more than likely be the biggest Bond of all time and rightly so.

  • Huffy | June 4, 2012 10:22 AM

    Why? I'm not against low key and personal (indeed, most of what I watch is just that) but if your going to make a Bond film why would you ever want to cut out the explosions and the ridiculous action scenes? That's the entire reason people watch those films. Sure, make Bond a more well-developed character but if you want a pure character-piece don't bother using a franchise that has excess woven into its very DNA. You might as well pension for Bela Tarr to direct the next Transformers while your at it.

  • Huffy | June 4, 2012 8:46 AMReply

    It would be interesting to see how much of his own personality producers would allow Nolan to inject into a Bond film. The franchise has never been director-driven but then they've never had a director as high profile as Nolan.

  • cirkusfolk | June 4, 2012 1:37 PM

    I think we have to wait and see how Sam Mendes' Bond turns out. If he put his stamp on it and it is well received, I'm sure they would be open to allowing more serious director's have a crack at the series.

  • cirkusfolk | June 4, 2012 8:40 AMReply

    Chistian Bale as Bond with Chris Nolan directing. The world would definitely end.

  • caro | June 4, 2012 10:05 AM

    you can be sure Bale never will act James Bond :he yet was approached before and he was not interested (for him, Bond is the worst cliched item about Britain)
    i guess that if Nolan is interested,he will take Hardy or Fassbender

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