The big film news on Wednesday was that Sam Mendes would be stepping down from directing duties on the next Bond movie to focus on several theater gigs he has lined up. Mendes guided the latest film, Skyfall, to huge critical and commercial acclaim. It is the highest grossing Bond film to date, with over $300 million in the U.S. and $1 billion worldwide. Skyfall even came THIS close to nabbing a Best Picture nomination. Obviously, those are huge shoes to fill. Producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli aren't just going to hand over the keys to their prized franchise to just anybody. So, who is best equipped to tackle another Daniel Craig-led Bond adventure? Who can possibly top what Mendes did with Skyfall? Here are my top 15 prospects, any one of whom I would be more than happy to see get the job.
1. JOE WRIGHT (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, Hanna, Anna Karenina)
Why Him: Like Mendes, he has a refined, classical taste and makes beautiful films. Hanna proved he could handle action.
Why Not: Is he too much like Mendes? The producers might want to go in a different direction.
2. GUY RITCHIE (Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, Sherlock Holmes)
Why Him: He brings a lot of attitude and energy to his projects; has a good sense of humor.
Why Not: Has a tendency to draw too much attention to his directing choices, which can take you out of the movie.
3. BAZ LUHRMANN (Romeo & Juliet, Moulin Rouge, Australia, The Great Gatsby)
Why Him: I love this choice. He has a dynamic visual style, and knows how to create a spectacle.
Why Not: May be seen as too flamboyant for a Bond movie.
4. PETER BERG (The Rundown, Hancock, The Kingdom, Battleship)
Why Him: He knows how to make big-budget, audience-pleasing action flicks.
Why Not: Coming off a huge box office flop with Battleship.
5. NICOLAS WINDING REFN (The Pusher Trilogy, Bronson, Drive)
Why Him: Uh, hello. Have you seen Drive?
Why Not: His films veer more hipster arthouse. Does he even want to go mainstream?
6. MARTIN MCDONAGH (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths)
Why Him: Has a knack for getting into the heads of goodhearted but violent characters.
Why Not: Known more for his brilliant screenwriting than his directing.
7. BENNETT MILLER (Capote, Moneyball)
Why Him: Gives off the vibe as one of those everyman directors who can do just about anything.
Why Not: Hasn't really proved himself yet with action, effects, or stuntwork.
8. NEIL MARSHALL (The Descent, Doomsday)
Why Him: Obviously talented but remains underused in the industry. He has something to prove.
Why Not: Doomsday tanked. He's been MIA lately. Maybe there's a reason.
9. JOHN HILLCOAT (The Road, Lawless)
Why Him: Can handle action and suspense. Works really well with actors. Gorgeous visuals.
Why Not: Seems to gravitate to more serious fare. Hasn't shown a sense of humor on screen yet.
10. JOE CARNAHAN (Narc, The A-Team, The Grey)
Why Him: He's a smart, tough, and gritty filmmaker. Great at finding emotion and character beats in action scenes.
Why Not: Seems to have a lot on his plate at the moment.
11. DANNY BOYLE (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Slumdog Millionaire)
Why Him: He's an Oscar-winning director. Has proven there is no genre or style he can't conquer.
Why Not: Gravitates toward more digital, handheld camerawork, which has no place in a post-Skyfall Bond film.
12. J.A. BAYONA (The Orphanage, The Impossible)
Why Him: Clever and inventive behind the camera, which would lead to some pretty original action sequences.
Why Not: After wowing people with The Impossible, I bet he's in high demand right now. May not be available for a while.
13. RUPERT WYATT (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)
Why Him: Did the unthinkable - made an awesome Planet of the Apes movie.
Why Not: Not much else on his resume to go on.
14. MATTHEW VAUGHN (Layer Cake, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class)
Why Him: Worked with Craig before on Layer Cake; knows how to make a fun action movie.
Why Not: Seems to get involved with projects, only to drop out a few months later. Is he reliable?
15. CHRISTOPHER NOLAN (Memento, The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Inception)
Why Him: Why NOT him if you can get him?
Why Not: You'll never get him.
Note that I left out several other usual suspects: Alfonso Cuaron (awesome, but is always mentioned for every choice directing gig and usually doesn't take them); Quentin Tarantino (producers will never give him carte blanche over the screenplay, which he'll want); Steven Soderbergh (he says he's retired); Edgar Wright (too playful, but maybe this would give him opportunity to stretch?); Ang Lee (can tackle any genre, except Hulk movies); Kathryn Bigelow (what a shame that she's the only female director that could possibly get the gig); and Ben Affleck (love the guy, but can't see him doing a Bond movie yet).
Enjoy this post? Click like on the Hammervision Facebook page and join the party.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.