Danny Boyle 'quit Bond 25 after clash with Daniel Craig over casting of Russian villain'

The director and lead actor were apparently both on board with a modern Cold War-centred script, but disagreed over who Bond should face off against

Christopher Hooton
Thursday 23 August 2018 20:05
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Danny Boyle quits as James Bond director

More detail has emerged over the “creative differences” that led to Danny Boyle’s decision to quit the next James Bond film.

It has been reported that it was not so much the producers with whom the Trainspotting filmmaker clashed, but the film’s star, Daniel Craig, who was convinced to return as 007 one more time and is understood to have a large say in casting.

According to the Telegraph, the rift came down to whether or not Tomasz Kot should play the film’s lead villain.

The 41-year-old Polish actor is the star of Cannes Film Festival 2018 darling Cold War, and was apparently viewed as a “leftfield” choice, certainly being less well known than the franchise’s last two villains, Javier Bardem (Skyfall) and Christoph Waltz (Spectre).

It was not immediately clear whether actor or director opposed the casting.

Tomasz Kot stars in awards-tipped 1950s romance ‘Cold War’

Kot was reportedly lined up to play a Russian in a new script that riffs on the recent real world political tensions with Russia, imagining it developing into a “modern day Cold War”.

Boyle was on board with this – having insisted on bringing a new script in for his version of Bond 25 – and it is thought not to have been a clash precipitated by overarching narrative concerns but the comparatively minor issue of the supporting cast.

“It was telling the producers put his [Craig’s] name on their release saying that Boyle had been sacked,” a source told The Telegraph (tweet from the official @007 Twitter account below).

“I have heard that they wanted to bring that Cold War element in but update it to the modern day.

“Danny Boyle was in for that. That wasn’t the problem. The problem came in when they were making the final decisions about casting preproduction.”

Boyle apparently insisted on bringing in his frequent collaborator John Hodge to pen a new script, the existing one by long-serving Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade being put on ice. According to another industry source, this “infuriated” producer Barbara Broccoli.

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It remains to be seen whether Boyle and Hodge’s Cold War-centred script will remain after the former’s departure, or if the project reverts to Purvis and Wade’s presumably more traditional story.

Asked whether his Bond film would acknowledge a changing world and specifically the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, Boyle previously said: “You write in real time. You acknowledge the legacy of the world of Bond and you write in the world – but you also write in the modern world as well.”

Production on Bond 25 – which was set to commence on 3 December – will likely have to be pushed back. The film was scheduled for a 25 October 2019 release date but will potentially not reach cinemas until 2020, five years after the release of the last instalment, Spectre.

The Independent has contacted representatives for Boyle, Craig and EON Productions for comment.

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