Sam Mendes Will Stick With The Bond Franchise
By far the biggest news of the past week has been Guillermo Del Toro's abandonment of The Hobbit in the wake of MGM's on-going financial/ownership troubles. But while the Tolkien series certainly is big business, MGM also holds the cards for one of the most successful franchises in film history: James Bond. On hold since late April with Sam Mendes still attached to direct, when we will see Bond 23 remains a mystery. So what is Mendes' mentality: does he take the lifeboat towards shore like Del Toro or go down with the ship? In this metaphor, Sam Mendes is a proud sea captain.
Deadline has confirmed that Mendes will not be leaving his contract and still plans to direct the next 007 film. According to the site, Mendes is confident enough that he has taken himself out of the running to direct Disney's The Wizard of Oz prequel The Great and Powerful Oz. While he waits for production to begin on Bond 23, the director plans on bringing a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical to the stage in London and to make an adaptation of On Chesil Beach, based on the novella by Ian McEwan. Negotiations are ongoing with Carey Mulligan for the feature, which centers on two virgins living in the UK during the 60s whose "attempt to consummate ends badly."
You really have to give credit to Mendes here. The short-term outlook for MGM is not great, with the company still on the selling block after seven months, but Mendes' passion to direct a Bond film is strong enough to outweigh other more viable options. The Mendes hiring has been questioned since it was first announced, as he is a director more known for exposing suburban dysfunction than filming action, but this news shows that he has a real desire to make this film and that quality is invaluable.
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