Mendes tells Empire he won’t direct Bond 24

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes told Empire magazine IN AN INTERVIEW he has opted not to direct Bond 24.

An excerpt:

“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 and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond.”

Skyfall had worldwide ticket sales of more than $1.1 billion. Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, the co-bosses of Eon Productions, had been courting Mendes to return for the next 007 film, which is being scripted by John Logan, one of the three Skyfall scribes.

No director has worked on consecutive Bond films since John Glen helmed For Your Eyes Only through Licence to Kill in the 1980s. Since 1995, only Martin Campbell has directed more than one and his two (GoldenEye and Casino Royale) were more than a decade apart.

Last month, Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail, who had a number of Skyfall scoops that were proven correct, said, “Mendes hasn’t firmly made up his mind about directing another Bond, but I’m reliably told he’s ‘75 per cent’ of the way towards doing it.” Evidently, the 25 percent won out.

For the full Empire story, CLICK HERE.

UPDATE: There’s a short STATEMENT on the official 007.com Web site. It repeats Mendes’s quote in Empire. It adds this from Wilson and Broccoli which was also in the Empire story:

Bond’s next director has yet to be decided, but producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli had nothing but praise for Mendes: “We thoroughly enjoyed working with Sam. He directed our most successful Bond movie ever, SKYFALL. We would have loved to have made the next film with him but completely respect his decision to focus on other projects and hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with him again.”

Mendes confirms Skyfall delves into 007′s `personal history’

Skyfall director Sam Mendes


Empire magazine, promoting its new issue with Skyfall star Daniel Craig on the cover, has a short article with comments from Sam Mendes where the director confirms the movie will get into Bond’s background. While not a huge surprise, there’s this passage about the audience can expect:

Mendes also adds that Skyfall will see 007 “physically pushing himself” and says that he takes the character “to another level where Daniel isn’t just playing things he’sdone before, where we felt we were pushing — I have to say this in a way that’s not giving too much away — the personal history of the character.”

This revelation isn’t a surprise to anyone who read about Skyfall call sheets that briefly described scenes or viewed photographs taken by a nature photographer during filming in March.

Still, it’s the first quote we’ve seen from one of the Skyfall principals that addresses the issue of how the 23rd 007 movie will explore the character’s history. It hasn’t come up much in previous films. GoldenEye had a passing reference to how Bond was an orphan, for example.

HMSS revised handicapping of spy movie projects

Back in mid-April, we did some handicapping on some spy movie projects in various stages of development.

Less than three months have passed and there have been some developments, some firm, some murky. So here’s a revised odds board.

Bond 23: This project is the latest in the news, though that would have to fall under the murky category. The Daily Mirror in the U.K. said Bond 23 had been “canned” because of MGM’s financial problems.

The paper cited a “glum insider” it didn’t identify and quoted a statement from Eon Productions that didn’t confirm but didn’t really deny it, either. Media reports about James Bond movies have a mixed record. Nearly 30 years ago, for example, there were reports that Eon was considering James Brolin to play 007 in Octopussy. In 1994, Brolin’s screen tests were shown at a 007 fan convention in Los Angeles, showing they were right even though Roger Moore ended up coming back for Octopussy.

It would be nice if we knew something, anything about the “glum insider.” Does he/she have direct knowledge? In theory, it could be anyone from Eon boss people Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, down to a grip. Still, even if you discount the Daily Mirror report, MGM hasn’t been making much progress on the financial front. Bottom line: the news isn’t good, the question is exactly how bad it is.

ORIGINAL ODDS: 4-1
FIRST REVISED ODDS (after Eon said Bond 23 was being delayed indefinitely): 10-1
REVISED ODDS (discounting Daily Mirror but noting lack of MGM progress): 15-1
REVISED ODDS (accepting Daily Mirror): 100-1

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 4: Some news has occurred since our original mid-April rankings. The Empire Web site quoted Tom Cruise as confirming that Brad Bird was definitely onboard to direct the film. But Paramount also announced in May the release date had been pushed back to December 2011. Still, all this showed that things were happening.

The biggest cloud now over the project may be whether Paramount is getting cold feet because of the disappoint box office receipts of Cruise’s recent Knight and Day movie, according to a story by Mike Fleming of Nikki Finke’s Deadline Web site.

ORIGINAL ODDS:2-1
REVISED ODDS: 3-2

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. A weblog of the Los Angeles Times reported June 28 that Warner Bros. likes a script commissioned earlier this year, wants to proceed with it but is still looking for a director.

We’ve been speptical since this latest version first surfaced earlier in the year, in part because have been lots of U.N.C.L.E. scripts that have gone nowhere. Things are still murky but something appears to be happening.

ORIGINAL ODDS:100-1
REVISED ODDS:25-1

New (serious) Matt Helm movie: Not much news on a movie that’d be a more faithful version of Donald Hamilton’s “counter assassin.”

ORIGINAL ODDS: 10-1, no revision.

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