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Who Should Direct the Next Bond Film?

March 8, 2013

Sam Mendes has stated he will not be directing the next James Bond film. Mendes had been widely expected to film Bond 24 after the success of Skyfall, but he is now concentrating on other projects. I can’t help thinking this is good news, partly as I thought Skyfall was overrated and owes much of its success to the Bondmania prevalent at the moment. So who should direct the next Bond film? A strong candidate would be Martin Campbell, who directed two of the best of the modern Bond films, Goldeneye and Casino Royale, both of which came out when the franchise was in need of re-booting. Quentin Tarantino’s and John Woo’s names have been mentioned in the past, but Tarantino would be too controversial and lack the lightness of touch and Woo’s Hollywood films have been generally disappointing. Which leaves? Well, there is one director who could make an outstanding addition to the series, and he just happens to be a Bond fanatic. In his memoir My Word is my Bond, Roger Moore describes a meeting with one of the leading ‘movie brats’ during the filming of Moonraker:

During my stay in Paris, at the Plaza Athenee, I bumped into a young director named Steven Spielberg. He was a huge Bond fan and said that he would love to direct one of the films. He’d recently had great success with Jaws and Close Encounters and was considered a very hot property. I was rather excited at this news and went looking for Cubby to tell him.

‘Do you know how much of a percentage he’d want?’ Cubby asked me, shaking his head.

It’s always been policy that no Bond director ever got a slice of the box office profits. So, Spielberg went off and made Indiana Jones, whom I reckon to be a period James Bond!

If I were advising Barbara Broccoli today, I would say to hell with policy! Do whatever it takes, fees, percentages, whatever, and hire Spielberg! I can’t think of another director who can handle spectacle and fantasy as well as he can. He seems to know and like Britain well enough to grasp the Britishness of the stories. In short, he is the outstanding candidate to direct the next Bond film. Of course it probably won’t happen. Spielberg is working on the Napolean biography, which was the late Stanley Kubrick’s dream project, and the producers will probably pick a relative unknown, someone who will be easy to keep in check. Still, it would be a movie event.

Incidentally, Moonraker contains a slight homage to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The keypad code for a security door which gives Bond access to Drax’s Venice laboratory plays the 5 tone alien contacting theme from Close Encounters. It may just be coincidence, but I wonder if this detail was added after Moore’s meeting with Spielberg. Clip below:

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