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Sam Mendes Says He Won't Direct The Next James Bond Film

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist March 6, 2013 at 6:38AM

Even those with cooler feelings about the film itself have to acknowledge that Sam Mendes' Bond movie "Skyfall" was a wild success. With a BAFTA for Best British Film, five Oscar nominations (winning two), and a global box office of $1.1 billion, making it the seventh-biggest film of all time, and nearly twice as big as "Casino Royale," the most successful 007 film before that, few could argue that it's been anything other than a triumph.
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Skyfall, Craig and Mendes

Even those with cooler feelings about the film itself have to acknowledge that Sam Mendes' Bond movie "Skyfall" was a wild success. With a BAFTA for Best British Film, five Oscar nominations (winning two), and a global box office of $1.1 billion, making it the seventh-biggest film of all time, and nearly twice as big as "Casino Royale," the most successful 007 film before that, few could argue that it's been anything other than a triumph.

Even before the film was released, questions have been flying as to whether Mendes would come back for another installment. Few directors in the modern era have made more than one Bond flick (Martin Campbell is one of the few, but with ten years between his films), and Mendes initially suggested he was reluctant. Over time, it seemed like he might be softening; he was said to be developing a two-part script with writer John Logan, and only a few weeks back, it was said that he was getting closer to committing to the film (albeit only a single self-contained story at this point). But it looks Mendes has finally made a firm decision, and it's a no.

The filmmaker told Empire "It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael [Wilson] and Barbara [Broccoli]’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie. Directing 'Skyfall' was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of 'Charlie And The Chocolate Factory' (a new musical adaptation, in the West End) and 'King Lear' (at the National Theatre in London in 2014, to star Simon Russell Beale), that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond." Not mentioned by Mendes, but presumably very much on his slate too, is the pilot for the Showtime series "Penny Dreadful," which he created with Logan and is set to film later in the year.

Mendes doesn't rule out a return to the series down the line, saying ""I feel very honoured to have been part of the Bond family, and very much hope I have a chance to work with them again sometime in the future". But it sounds like the Eon team ultimately wanted to get moving on a 24th Bond flick sooner than Mendes' schedule allows, and the filmmaker has always sounded a little ambivalent about the possibility of returning.

So who should take the mantle for the next entry? Before you say 'Christopher Nolan,' you can cast an eye over some of the suggestions we made a few months back, who we think could all be viable candidates. But let us know your own thoughts below. "Bond 24" will be released, complete with a title and a director and everything, sometime in the next few years (November 2015 feels like the most likely bet). 


This article is related to: Sam Mendes, Bond 24, Skyfall