By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com June 4, 2012 at 8:22AM
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.