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007 needs a new director after Danny Boyle exits Bond 25

Well, this was unexpected. Less than 24 hours ago, the James Bond franchise suffered a blow. Filmmaker Danny Boyle has opted to step away from directing the next installment in the series. This comes after the producers opted to go with Boyle’s take on Bond, one he developed with writing partner John Hodge. Barbara Broccoli and company put aside their initial script, penned by regulars Neil Purvis and Robert Wade, going all in on the auteur. Now, they’re back to square one, and right as they were gearing up to begin casting. The legendary spy is now in a bit of a pickle. What to do?

Essentially, the Bond franchise needs to figure out what is next and just commit to that. They have a few options. The most dire option is to delay for a while, re-cast Daniel Craig, and start from scratch. I wouldn’t bet on that. Then, there’s finding someone who will come in and shoot the new script. That all depends on what Boyle was looking to make, film wise. That could either be a hit or a big miss. Most likely, at least in terms of potential success, is to go back to what Purvis and Wade wrote, re-approach the names initially on the directorial short list, and hope someone says yes (more on those folks next). That would be the most seamless transition, in all likelihood.

This is what I previously wrote, when the search was first underway, pre Boyle:

Rumors have the three names in contention for the gig being Yann Demange, David Mackenzie, and Denis Villeneuve. Demange has the top notch ’71 in his back pocket and is currently filming the baity sounding White Boy Rick. Mackenzie has made all sorts of little movies, notably Starred Up, though really hit it big last year with Hell or High Water. Villeneuve needs no introduction, bursting on to the scene with Prisoners and upping his game with Sicario and his Oscar nominated direction of Arrival. He’s currently finishing up Blade Runner 2049 and might be remaking Dune next. None of the three would be bad choices, that much is clear.

This is the original list from a few years ago of 25 names that I had speculated about:

Tomas Alfredson
David Ayer
Kenneth Branagh
Danny Boyle *(Go figure, got that one right)*
Gareth Edwards
Gareth Huw Evans
Stephen Frears
Paul Greengrass
Tom Hooper
Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Duncan Jones
Steve McQueen
Christopher Nolan
Matt Reeves
Nicholas Winding Refn
Guy Ritchie
Jeremy Saulnier
Ridley Scott
Steven Spielberg
Quentin Tarantino
Morten Tyldum
Denis Villeneuve
Taika Waititi
Ben Wheatley
Joe Wright

Turns out, I sort of called Villeneuve as a potential fit (plus the ultimate selection, at that time, of Boyle). Pie in the sky A-list options like Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, and Edgar Wright will only ever work if they get the opportunity to reinvent the franchise. If so, look for Nolan to one day give it a shot, as he’s always spoken of his affection for the job. That will come once Craig is done and everything is ready for a full on reboot. That situation lends itself to true auteurs and their one off imprint on a franchise. There’s no reason to assume this is likely, but it’s something to keep in the back of your mind.

So, here we are. In the next few weeks, we’ll probably determine if production is being delayed or not. Once they figure out which script they want to use, that will, in part, hint at who they might look at to direct. One has to assume they don’t want to delay too much, as then Craig might just call it quits. Whatever happens, it will sure be noteworthy. The 25th James Bond flick hangs in the balance. The franchise will figure it out, one way or another. Sit tight and we’ll soon have a better idea of what the future holds for good old 007…

Stay tuned to see who gets the gig!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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