Following the news that Danny Boyle has left the director’s chair for the new James Bond film, people everywhere are beginning to speculate on who might fill the British auteur’s shoes from here. Some big names are being bandied about already – Christopher Nolan, Matthew Vaughn, Denis Villeneuve etc – but for the sake of generating a bit of internet traffic, here are my tips for the most likely candidate. Oh, and one that will never happen but I’d love to see.
The Ones That Could
Kiwi director Martin Campbell is already well versed in all things Bond, having been at the helm for GoldenEye – and of course Daniel Craig’s first outing Casino Royale. He could be persuaded to return and close out this era; Craig has already made it clear that this is his last time in the role.
Campbell is fresh off directing last year’s Jackie Chan actioner The Foreigner, so he’s already in the right place mentally to pull off the whole action-movie-about-someone-too-old-for-all-this schtick. As it stands, he’s the sensible choice for me.
The favourite choice for most, but for me this is a bit more of an outside bet. That said, after the rousing success of Skyfall and the slightly diminished return but still fun of Spectre, Sam Mendes could well be tempted back into Pinewood for one last hurrah.
It’s a tough one to have a lot of confidence in, however, as Mendes seems to have pretty much washed his hands of the franchise post-Spectre, but everyone has a price…
Should MGM et al be considering a director from outside the UK, they’d be foolish not to consider Liman. As the guy who revitalised the spy movie genre altogether with The Bourne Identity, and having proved his ability to get a great performance out of an established movie star in Edge of Tomorrow, he’s certainly got credentials.
Liman was lined up to direct the Justice League Dark movie after Guillermo Del Toro stepped off, but having walked away from that last year he might still be up for a different type of franchise movie. It’s a bit of a long shot, but he could be the one to get Bond 25 rolling.
Speaking of long shots, this one is a hell of a stretch but hear me out. Off the back of the well publicised firing from Guardians of the Galaxy 3, after a few poorly judged jokes were dug up on Twitter, any job that takes Gunn on will have heaps of free marketing – and boy does the Bond franchise love its marketing.
Sure it might be the kind of press that MGM will want to avoid courting now that a high-profile director has fled the scene, but if anyone can successfully ride the line between getting the most from a genre film and making bank for a mega-franchise it’s Gunn.
Again, this is a bit of an ambitious one. While he’s certainly well-versed in all things action and high-tension, Soderbergh is a guy who seems pretty much done with the studio film setup; having shot and produced his last two movies – Logan Lucky and Unsane – pretty much independently. It might be a bit of a tall order to lure him back to the establishment setup, but anyone who gets a performance as joyous as Daniel Craig’s in Logan Lucky deserves to have a pop at Craig’s last outing as OO7.
And One That Definitely Won’t Happen…
A Female Director
So here’s the sad truth: Patty Jenkins and Wonder Woman aside, the desire for any female input on the big franchises is rare to non-existent. It’s a shame as the franchise really could do with some reinvigorating, and a female perspective of the “archetypal man” would be a hell of a deconstruction of the character. Despite all that, as you can see from the list above, the brutal reality is that once again, we will most likely have a guy leading the production of the next Bond movie.
At the time of writing, Lynne Ramsay is one of the names hot on bookies’ lists, but it’ll come to nothing. At least for now. A man can always hope…