The state of the James Bond franchise is currently in limbo (seems to happen constantly with the series every few years or so… helps to get rid of the bad blood), but this hasn’t stopped a number of filmmakers from expressing interest in taking a stab at the next 007 adventure.
Everyone from Drive’s Nicolas Winding Refn (who is currently working on Avenging Silence, his own take of a spy flick after turning down Spectre) to Guy Ritchie (who penned last year’s similarly themed The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) have been attracted to the idea; but now, a new name is willing to give the super spy a shot: Chad Stahelski (John Wick: Chapter 2).
In an interview with MW, here’s what Stahelski had to say when asked about doing a Bond film: “I’m interested in projects where you can world create. To jump back into somebody else’s world where it’s already been around for so long would be scary. But if there was one property, that wouldn’t be a bad one to try and invest yourself. Especially because of the ebb and flow of the Bond universe right now, I think the timing is good for a slight reinvention with a different perspective shift. Bond has gone from completely serious to totally cheeky to really fun again, to emotional, to serious, to internal, to external. I would love to give the pitch and if they got my wacky version of it, and it fit, yeah. That’s almost a dream too big.”
Of course, this is all just loose talk for now, but that doesn’t mean producers aren’t listening. There seems to be more important issues with the franchise, like: Is Daniel Craig returning or not?
Back in May of 2016, sources told Daily Mail: ‘Daniel is done – pure and simple – he told top brass at MGM after Spectre. They threw huge amounts of money at him, but it just wasn’t what he wanted,’ said the source. Another source told the Mail that ‘executives had finally agreed to let the actor go after growing tired of his criticism of the franchise.’
Subsequently, there was that ridiculous rumor going around that Sony was offering Craig $150 million to reprise his role as 007 for two more films. “Daniel’s the key for a seamless, safe transition as far as Sony and Bond bosses are concerned, and they’re prepared to pay a king’s ransom to make it happen,” a source told Radar.
And let’s not forget that Craig stated that he’d rather ‘slash his wrists’ than play Bond for a fifth time (he said this shortly after the release of Spectre).
Then, just this last October, Craig apparently had a change of heart since his wrist comment. During a recent appearance at The New Yorker Fest in Manhattan Birth.Movies.Death. reporter Phil Nobile Jr. (via Collider) shot video of Craig saying the following:
When you’re asked 20 feet from the end of a marathon whether you’d do another marathon, the answer is simple. It’s like, “No, I won’t.” But the things I get to do on a Bond movie and what the type of work it is, there is no other job like it, there is no other job like, and if I were to stop doing it, just say, I would miss it terribly because you are working with — I maybe disparagingly said the movie industry’s getting a little bit of, you know, of the focus group thing and the whole thing. A Bond movie doesn’t work like that, it’s literally from the skin of your teeth you get it out and then it’s released less than six months later after you finish it. There’s no time for focus groups. There’s no time for that. You make the movie, it gets out. It’s one of the most thrilling things as an actor you can do.
From both a critical and financial point of view, whether or not Craig leaves the franchise, it’ll be on high note: 2012’s Skyfall has gone on to become the most successful James Bond film of all time, grossing over $1 billion worldwide. Last year’s Spectre, which drew in a lesser audience, plus mixed reviews, took in $879.2 million worldwide. Even though Spectre wasn’t a massive success, it was still a success.
If Craig is indeed done, the big question is: Who’ll be playing Bond? Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Michael Fassbender (Jobs), Damian Lewis (Homeland), James Norton (War and Peace) and Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers) remain firm favorites. Also, Jamie Bell (Snowpiercer) is supposedly talking with producers.
For now, Craig is wrapping up a 20-part TV series called Purity. (Mirror reported that MGM was even willing to push Bond 25 back, which would allow Craig to complete the series). Craig can be seen next in Steven Soderbergh’s Lucky Logan, a heist film, which releases in August.
Updates: According to PS, Bond producer Barbara Broccoli has all but persuaded Daniel Craig to play 007 for the historic 25th movie in the series. Daniel’s talks with Barbara are going in the right direction. They have a script — screenwriting duo Neal Purvis and Robert Wade [who’ve penned several Bond movies] are writing and they’ll go into production as soon as Daniel is ready to commit.” The source added, “Plus, Barbara Broccoli doesn’t like Tom Hiddleston, he’s a bit too smug and not tough enough to play James Bond.”
We’ll keep you updated on anything Bond-related as we hear more. Until then, here’s the Trailer for one of our favorites, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, as recently reviewed by our own British spy who is currently on a mission in Manila.