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The James Bond franchise has been one of the most enduring in Hollywood. While many in Hollywood would jump at the chance to be involved, Nicolas Winding Refn had a chance, but decided to decline. The director of Drive says the producers of the James Bond films originally approached him about directing Spectre, the most recent entry in the franchise. However, it appears that the director favors his own creative control over his projects, and the money that comes along with blockbusters just can't overcome that.
Nicolas Winding Refn's next project is a film called The Avenging Silence. Since the movie is a spy thriller, and it was co-written along with James Bond scribes Neal Pervis and Robert Wade, it might appear that Refn would actually be interested in making a Bond film. However, the director of The Neon Demon told The Telegraph that was actually given the opportunity to direct Daniel Craig in Spectre, but he turned it down. It would seem that Refn would prefer to make his own projects so nobody can tell him what to do.
I just know this way I can do whatever I want, and that outweighs any money anyone can give me.
When you're dealing with major film franchises, production companies keep a fairly tight grip on the reins. James Bond, with his 50 years of history, is as controlled a character as any. Eon Productions, who handles the James Bond movies, will always want to be sure that the character is handled in a particular way. While this will lead to a certain level of consistency in the production, it also means that creative filmmakers, like Nicolas Winding Refn, will never have a free hand to create whatever they want behind the camera of a James Bond movie. This may be part of the reason that director is making a spy film next; he'd like to make something similar to a James Bond movie, but this way he gets to do it entirely his way.
While Spectre didn't quite live up its predecessor, the fact that Skyfall had been such a huge success made the production of the most recent James Bond movie a big deal. Originally, Skyfall director Sam Mendes said that wasn't going to return to direct another Bond film, it was probably at that point that Eon Productions went to Nicolas Winding Refn and others looking for a new director. Eventually, Mendes changed his mind and returned to direct Spectre.
At this point, nobody really knows what's next for the James Bond franchise. Signs seem to indicate that Daniel Craig may be ready to hang up the role, though even that is not guaranteed. It appears the only thing that we can say with certainty is that Nicolas Winding Refn won't be directing the next film.