Sam Mendes said just months ago that he was putting 007 on ice to focus on theatre. But now it seems that the Skyfall director was just being coy, as Sony Pictures and MGM have reportedly started talks for him to return and direct Daniel Craig in the next instalment of the James Bond franchise.
According to Deadline the director, who is currently preparing the West End launch of stage musical Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, and who had said he would take time out from Hollywood for a while to concentrate of theatre projects including directing King Lear, has been back in touch with Bond producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.
The next film, set to be the 24th in the 50-year-old franchise about the MI5 secret agent, is due to be release by MGM within three years, with Craig signed on again as 007 and John Logan writing the script.
Mendes’ first Bond film, 2012’s Skyfall, starring Craig, made $1.1 billion at the global box office making it the most commercially successful Bond film in cinematic history as well as the highest-grossing film at the UK box office where it took over £100 million.
In March Mendes told Empire Magazine: “It has been a very difficult decision not to accept [producers] Michael and Barbara’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 and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond,” he continued.
According to Deadline Wilson and Broccoli have now decided to wait for Mendes to complete his theatre projects in the hope that they can all work together on the next film.
MGM and Sony could not be reached for comment.