After the blazing success of ‘Skyfall’, Sam Mendes has turned down the offer to direct the next James Bond movie, claiming that he wants to devote himself to theater for a while. All things considered, that’s probably a wise career move on his part. How do you top a billion-dollar blockbuster? Almost anything is destined to be seen as a disappointment. Better to go out on top. Nevertheless, James Bond will return, and somebody will have to direct the next movie. In this week’s Roundtable, we offer some suggestions.
Jonathan Mostow hasn’t had a hit in years, but he has a clean style that will fit Bond well, and he knows how to tell a story without too much muss or fuss. I don’t think the next Bond film will top ‘Skyfall’. Instead, EON should just focus on making a really tight, sharp picture that’s a lot of fun, and Mostow can deliver that in spades.
With all due respect to New Zealander Martin Campbell, I’ve always felt that – like James Bond himself – the best Bond directors come from Britain. Therefore, I’m nominating Joe Wright to helm the next Bond flick. Wright proved that he has a knack for action pieces with ‘Hanna‘, and has dazzled with his camera movement and visuals in films like ‘Atonement‘ and ‘Anna Karenina‘. He has the ability to infuse a Bond picture both with breathtaking action and the kind of emotional stakes that Mendes brought to the latest installment. I would love to hear his name announced as the franchise’s next director, but alas, I fear we’ll get some hack like Guy Ritchie (who gets my vote as the worst possible pick for directing Bond!).
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
Whenever I come across a headline reading “Who should direct the next _________?”, my kneejerk reaction is always to fill in that blank with “Edgar Wright.” He clearly has a knack for action, both on the visceral adrenaline rush end of things and in terms of pure craftsmanship. If only more action flicks could be as well-staged and coherent as the brawls in ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World‘! Wright’s stylish eye, boundless imagination and razor-sharp wit would be extraordinary assets as well. I know some might sneer at Wright not being a traditional choice to helm a Bond film, but he’s really not any further out of left field than Brad Bird taking the reins of ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’, and look how well that turned out.
Now that the Bond films have become a prestige franchise, I’d like to see Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson reinforce the transition by having a director with an even more distinctive style follow Sam Mendes’ perfect Bond outing. While I was a little disappointed with the American adaptation of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘. I’d love to see David Fincher and Daniel Craig re-teamfor a Bond picture (particularly since Bonds 24 and 25 will likely be delaying ‘The Girl Who Played with Fire’ whether Fincher directs that film or not).
Despite being a huge Bond fan, I tend accept that there really isn’t any single perfect Bond film. I also feel that the movies need to avoid either being too goofy or too serious, and have to balance incredible stunts with a degree of believability. All the Daniel Craig films are excellent in my eyes, but still have cringe-worthy moments. That being the case, why not reunite Craig with his ‘Layer Cake‘ director Matthew Vaughn? He’s a filmmaker who clearly knows how to handle character development, action and intrigue The worst thing that can happen is that people who think that ‘Skyfall’ is nearly flawless will complain, which is going to happen anyway.
For me, ‘Skyfall’ was nothing more than a Michael Bay movie without lens flares and slow motion. It’s way too long and full of plot holes that it tries to distract you from with pretty pictures. Because of that, I want to see what a Bond movie would be like if Michael Bay actually did one – not because I think he’d be good at it, but because that would reveal ‘Skyfall’ for what it really is, an effortless and rushed waste of time. With one of the writers returning for ‘Bond 24’, I’m sure that all of those flaws will continue. ‘Skyfall’ lovers were enchanted my Mendes’ direction, but the same wouldn’t fly with skepticism. They won’t expect a Bay movie to be any good, so when it turns out to be identical to ‘Skyfall’, the truth will be revealed and I’ll be vindicated.
Making a Bond movie can be a nearly thankless task for an A-List filmmaker. The director has to adhere to certain franchise standards and conventions without inserting too much of himself into the formula. Over the years, the producers have turned down requests by James Cameron and Quentin Tarantino, both of whom lobbied to direct Bond pictures. A Cameron or Tarantino James Bond movie would inevitably be more about Cameron or Tarantino than about Bond, and that wouldn’t be in the best interest of the franchise.
After Sam Mendes, I think the producers might have a shot with another past Oscar winner: Danny Boyle. The ‘Slumdog Millionarire‘ director has proven versatile in exploring many different genres, from dramas (‘127 hours‘) to thrillers (‘Shallow Grave‘) to horror (‘28 Days Later‘) and even sci-fi (‘Sunshine‘). He seems due for a spy movie. He’d bring some energy and verve to the action sequences while deftly balancing the dramatic bits. Yet I believe he’d be able to do that without imposing too much of his own ego on the production. And he’s even British, which is definitely in his favor.
Who do you think should direct the next James Bond film? Tell us in the Comments.