Sam Mendes directed the biggest James Bond film of all-time at the worldwide box office, last year’s mega-hit “Skyfall” brought in over $1.1 billion globally, but he won’t be back for an encore.
Mendes confirmed to Empire magazine that although producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli offered him the gig of directing the as-yet-untitled Bond 24, he has other commitments.
“It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie,” Mendes told the mag. “Directing ‘Skyfall’ was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theater 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.”
In the early days of Bond, only a handful of directors were trusted with the franchise. Terence Young directed three of Sean Connery’s earliest missions, Guy Hamilton directed two with Connery and two with Roger Moore, Lewis Gilbert directed one for Connery and two for Moore, and John Glen directed Moore’s final three and Timothy Dalton’s two entries. Only Peter R. Hunt, who directed George Lazenby’s one off in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” did not return to the series.
But two in a row for Mendes would have been highly unusual given recent history. Lately the films have been entrusted to a variety of directors, with only Martin Campbell doing repeat work as the director of both Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig’s first Bond films.
“We thoroughly enjoyed working with Sam, he directed our most successful Bond movie ever, ‘Skyfall,'” Wilson and Broccoli said in a joint statement. “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.”
The next Bond film will retain one key filmmaker from “Skyfall”: screenwriter John Logan has already committed to writing scripts for the next two Bonds.