Strange news on the 007 front!
First, it was announced that filming of Bond 23 is officially on hold. Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, owners of the film rights and producers of the films since The Living Daylights and Moonraker (respectively), are awaiting the sale of debt-ridden US distributor MGM. It was crushing news for those of us who plan our year around the release of a new 007 adventure, but Daniel Craig and Judi Dench have said that they are ready to return to work in late 2010/early 2011. Fingers crossed.
Just as that news is being processed, the on-hold film gets a new director: Academy Award Winner SAM MENDES! This would be the first Oscar-winning director to helm a Bond movie (Mendes won in 2000 for American Beauty). This will also be the director's first action pic -- indeed, I would say it's his first straight genre piece. Although a gangster pic and a war film, respectively, Road to Perdition and Jarhead are hardly what you would call mainstream. At the same time, Mendes is a director who could fit with this new, serious-er Bond.
I'm torn, personally. Mendes has directed only five movies to date, none of them Bondian, and with a gradual degree of disappointment. American Beauty (****) is an American classic; Road to Perdition (***1/2), if not a masterpiece, is still a damn good piece of cinema. Jarhead (**1/2) is admirable, if plodding and forgettable. Revolutionary Road (*) is abysmal and condescending, his worst film to date. Away We Go (**) is smug, though far better than Revolutionary Road. *Sigh* Must I really wait to make a decision? Can't they just make it now?
Peter Morgan, Oscar-nominated writer of The Queen and Frost/Nixon, is still attached to write the script alongside old standbys Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and composer David Arnold are all returning.