And the directors on the BOND 24 shortlist are…

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So a short while back, after the news broke that despite doing a stupendous job on Skyfall, Sam Mendes would not be returning to the director’s chair for the next James Bond film, I went and drew up a list of directors that I thought would be worthy of the gig.

Pro-tip, boys and girls: Never let me pick your Lotto numbers, because apparently I’m a useless guesser. A new shortlist of possible directors has popped up online, and not a single one of my picks are on there! 

Now you will remember that a recent story had pegged Inception helmer Christopher Nolan (Ha! My second choice! Take that world!) to be involved in talks with EON Productions about the job, but all the evidence, particularly Nolan’s current busy schedule, seemed to point to him either just discussing it from a fanboy perspective (which he is), or to possibly take over the reins on some future installment.

But the for the next chapter, Bond 24, some very interesting – and unexpected – names are popping up. It began early yesterday over on FirstShowing, when during an interview with Drive and Only God Forgives director Nicolas Winding-Refn at Cannes, he was asked about rumours that had him linked to the Bond gig. Instead of just denying/discouraging the rumour, he gets all cryptic and coy. A man with something to hide, or a director who’s just tired of pesky reporters? You decide.

Over on Variety though, totally coincidentally, they also broke a James Bond director story, claiming that they’ve scored the scoop of who was on the shortlist. One of those names? Nicolas Winding-Refn.

Now personally, while I am a huge fan of Winding-Refn’s work, languid, artistic, moody and ultra-violent are not the normal adjectives associated with James Bond. Winding-Refn would have to forgo too much of his usual artistic flair for a Bond movie, and he’s already spoken up in the past about how much he hates not having full control of his productions.

So let’s put that one on the back burner for now, while we take a look at the other names also on that list. According to Variety, EON are looking at Ang Lee (The Hulk, Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi), Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Miserables), David Yates (Harry Potter films) and Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3).

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Now clearly out of that lot, Black would be the man with the most proven credentials for the various aspects that make up a James Bond movie. He’s shown he can work with big budget tentpoles, can do thrilling, inventive action sequences, can do witty like few others, and just proved with Iron Man 3 that he certainly knows how to step into and rapidly claim as his own any shoes that have been vacated by a previous director.

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There’s just the slight problem of him already having some plans. Now sure, many directors wouldn’t think twice about ditching a lesser known, pulp character like Doc Savage for James Bond, but this has been a passion project of his for a long time.

That leaves Lee, Yates and Hooper, with the latter being a choice that would be so far out of left field that I don’t even think that they’re in the same stadium. Now I’m not saying that Hooper couldn’t do it, he certainly is a skilled enough director (and hey, Sam Mendes started out by making movies about Kevin Spacey masturbating in the shower!) but it would be an odd choice.

Yates certainly proved by directing the last four Harry Potter films, that he definitely knows how to balance working under rigorous guidelines with a character, while still also putting your personal stamp on it. And while the world of James Bond is a far cry from that of a boy wizard who went from living under the stairs to saving the world (well, besides for the whole “being English pop culture icons” thing), over the course of the Potter franchise, he’s shown a knack for everything from big budget action set pieces to intense personal drama to whimsical comic relief. All of which would come into play in a Bond production.

An Ang Lee directed Bond would certainly be a highly intriguing prospect, as well. At the very least, it would possibly give Mendez’s Skyfall a run for its money when it came to the most beautifully lensed Bond movie. And while Lee has been mainly known for his dramas, he’s already dabbled in everything from wuxia to comic book movies. Adding “suave superspy” to that list, certainly wouldn’t be that much of a stretch.

Whoever does end up getting the nod, Variety is keen to point out that it will still be some time before EON makes a final decision, as James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, still has to negotiate his contract. Hey, maybe that will give them some time read my list and not make me look like a fool.

Last Updated: May 29, 2013

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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