It was announced on Monday that James Bond will indeed return in November of 2019 for his 25th official installment. While EON Productions was reticent on the finer details of the production, the New York Times has indicated that Daniel Craig's return to the iconic role of 007 is a "done deal". Now Deadline is reporting that we could soon also have a director attached to the project.
According to their sources, the frontrunners for the esteemed job include Denis Villenueve, David Mackenzie, and Yann Demange.
Villenueve is perhaps the best known of the three filmmakers on the shortlist, having directed a slew of high-profile films such as Prisoners, Sicario, Arrival, and the upcoming Blade Runner 2049. David Mackenzie has also shot into the spotlight recently following the universal acclaim for his pseudo-western crime-drama, Hell or High Water. The most obscure pick of the three is French director Yann Demange, who is most well known for helming 2014's brilliant '71; along with the upcoming Matthew McConaughey film, White Boy Rick.
When looking for Sam Mendes' enduring legacy on the Bond franchise, look no further than this shortlist. For decades Bond directors were essentially guns-for-hire; efficient if not indistinct action directors hired by the studio to oversee the production in a largely utilitarian fashion. Cut to today and EON is courting some of the most acclaimed artistic talent in Hollywood to play in the 007 sandbox.
All three of these men are exceptional artists and each would bring a unique style and level of substance to the storytelling in Bond 25. But as distinct as they are, the tonal similarities between each of their bodies of work seems to indicate the studio's overall commitment to the dark, sophisticated tone that has come to define Daniel Craig's tenure as Bond.
If this pundit had his pick, I would go with Denis Villenueve, if only for the chance to see Villenueve's frequent DP of choice, Roger Deakins, return to the franchise after his stunning work on 2012's Skyfall. Only time will tell, but for now, it’s a good week to be a Bond fan.