British helmer Sam Mendes is being lined up to direct
the 23rd James Bond film starring Daniel Craig as 007,
could start this summer...
Update 1: MGM refuse to comment, but deny pre-production
Update 2: Mendes to board as 'consultant' to avoid
MGM payment trigger
Update 3: Publicist confirms Mendes
talks, MGM sets bidders deadline
Sam Mendes Lined Up To Direct Bond 23
5th January 2010
British director Sam Mendes is being lined up
to helm the 23rd
James Bond film, it was announced today by the Hollywood
According to the trade paper, he is in negotiations
with the production team to direct Daniel Craig's third outing
as 007. As with every blockbuster directing assignment,
Mendes' participation is contingent on the final script
Above: Sam Mendes, born on 1 August
1965 in Reading, Berkshire, England, UK, would be the
first Oscar winning director to helm a James Bond movie.
directors have preceded him.
23 would be Sam Mendes'
first major action adventure film, although his 2005 movie "Jarhead",
set during the first Gulf War, featured some stunt work.
His most recent films include "Away We Go (2009)
and Revolutionary Road (2008). In 2002 he helmed "Road
to Perdition" starring Daniel Craig, but his most
famous work is undoubtedly "American Beauty" (1999).
The production is now being fast-tracked
and could begin as early as June with an eye toward a 2011
release. Plans for the film are moving forward despite
a possible sale of MGM. This is a stark turn-around on
the previous line from producers, who had said earlier
was on hold due to uncertainty of MGM's future.
Sony, who co-produced and distributed the
last two films, "Casino
Royale" and "Quantum
of Solace", are out of the picture now that their two-film
deal under the previous acquisition deal has expired. That
is unless Sony is part of another MGM purchase, as the debt-ridden
studio is expecting bids later this month. Lionsgate, Liberty
Media and News Corp are rumoured to
be take-over bid front-runners.
In recent months, Daniel
Craig has said he expected
filming to start in late 2010, indicating a tentative release
window of late 2011. But
a production start date as early as June 2010 could point to
a release in summer 2011, making Bond 23 the first 007
adventure to be released in
since "Licence To Kill" in
As is the norm for the industry, MGM has refused to confirm
the reports that Sam Mendes is in discussions to direct. But
in a move perhaps aimed to please prospective buyers, the studio
has denied pre-production on Bond 23 had been on ice
since October due to its financial uncertainty, despite both
the writer Peter Morgan and
G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli confirming that to the press
in recent weeks.
As the news went viral around the industry today, Deadline
Hollywood is reporting that EON
is in final negotiations to bring Sam Mendes on board Bond
23 a 'consultant' for the
time being. According to sources, when EON assigns a director
to a film, it triggers a first payment from MGM. Given the
studio's terrible financial standing and the possibility of
signing Mendes as a consultant avoids MGM having any contractual
ownership of Bond 23 should EON gain the right to move the
away from the lion. The report also claims that Daniel Craig,
who worked with the director on "Road To Perdition", is the
driving force behind Mendes' hiring due to the critical reception
"Quantum of Solace" received.
Update 3 [6th January 2009]:
Sara Keene, Mendes' British publicist, confirmed
today that the
director had met with EON Productions to discuss the 23rd film
in the series, but said nothing had been finalised. "I can confirm that he has had a meeting, but Sam always
has lots of projects on the table that he might direct next," Keene
said. "Sam's method is to have a number of projects as possible
next films and at some point to confirm which film he's going
today set a January 15th deadline for potential buyers to say whether they are interested in acquiring
the company. A dozen parties, including film studios and investment
groups, are understood to have signed non-disclosure agreements
allowing them to examine MGM’s finances.
Bond 23 Fact Check
Bond 23 is being written by regular Bond duo Neal Purvis and Robert Wade,
and "The Queen" and "Frost/Nixon" scribe Peter
Daniel Craig will play 007 for the third
time, with Dame Judi Dench returning as MI6 chief 'M'.
David Arnold will compose the score for his sixth 007 movie.
It will be produced by Barbara Broccoli
and Michael G. Wilson under EON Productions. MGM is
expected to distribute, although the studio may come under
new ownership soon.
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