Chris Nolan Still Interested in James Bond; Howard Hughes Film Dead

Published 3 years ago by , Updated July 19th, 2013 at 1:02 pm,

As the theatrical premiere of The Dark Knight Rises draws closer, Chris Nolan is making the rounds to promote his third (and presumably final) entry in the Batman movie franchise. With his tale of the Dark Knight’s rise, fall, and re-rise almost concluded, inquiring minds are looking to hear what Nolan has in store next.

Today we learn that the acclaimed writer/director still has another heroic character on his filmmaking wish-list (James Bond), while a biopic about a real-life man of wealth and obsession (Howard Hughes) seems to have slipped through his fingers.

The news comes from a recent issue of Empire Magazine focusing on The Dark Knight Rises (where we also learned that the studio wanted Leo DiCaprio to play The Riddler). In the article, Nolan reportedly reiterrates a claim he made about two years ago while promoting Inception, in which he expressed interest in directing a James Bond movie, as he is a longtime fan of the character.

Here’s what Nolan is saying now about taking on the James Bond franchise: “It would have to be the right situation and the right time in their cycle of things.”

That comment is (once again) setting off a flurry of debate. Personally speaking, I maintain my position of two years ago: Having a Nolan-directed James Bond film could result in a sort of suspenseful and thrilling espionage flick that the franchise hasn’t necessarily seen (yet); spies, double-crosses, political intrigue, keep-you-guessing character motivations and plot arcs, big action set pieces, etc… Provided, of course, that American Beauty director Sam Mendes isn’t about to deliver just that with his upcoming Bond film, Skyfall.

daniel craig skyfall featurette trailer Chris Nolan Still Interested in James Bond; Howard Hughes Film Dead

Daniel Craig as James Bond in ‘Skyfall’

Of course, some people are taking Nolan’s words – about ‘the right situation… right time in their cycle…’ – to mean that he would prefer to wait until the current cycle of Bond films starring Daniel Craig (with their gritty, Bourne-esque style and tone ) are done and over with – perhaps with Craig vacating the role. Others simply take the comments to mean that Nolan would have to find actual time and opportunity in his schedule, in order to make the switch to the Bond franchise.

Given the success Marvel had with The Avengers, it’s pretty much been assumed that Warner Bros. and DC Comics will soon unveil plans for their own shared movie universe – possibly starting with next summer’s Superman reboot, Man of Steel. WB/DC once tried to make Nolan the “Godfather” of their movie universe, so they could pay to play that game after TDKR. Then again, MGM (which holds the Bond franchise rights) took on WB as a partner to help make Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films a reality; further collaboration between the two movie houses (like, sharing a director) isn’t out of the question. We’ll have to keep waiting and see what develops.


Howard Hughes Biopic

Finally, the Empire story revealed that Nolan’s biopic about famed 20th century business mogul Howard Hughes is dead for the time being. The film was going to explore the madness Hughes suffered in his later years – making it somewhat different from Martin Scorsese’s life-chronicling 2004 biopic, The Aviator, which starred Leo DiCaprio. The success of that Scorsese film (5 Oscars) delayed Nolan’s film – though Nolan’s version (which might’ve starred Jim Carrey as Hughes) sounds fascinating, nonetheless.

While surely disappointing, Nolan addresses the collapse of the Hughes film with good humor, stating: “Luckily I managed to find another wealthy, quirky character who’s orphaned at a young age.

The Dark Knight Rises will be in theaters on July 20, 2012. We’ll keep you updated as to what film project Chris Nolan embarks on next.

Source: If you’re a Batman movie fan, you need to pickup the next issue of Empire Magazine. (Hat tip to The Playlist)

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  1. I would absolutely LOVE this!

    Also, I noticed one little typo in here. You have “isa” as one word when you need a space there. It says “, as he isa longtime fan of the character”

    • It’s the Jar Jar Binks spellchecker…

  2. I would love this too :D

    • Are you saying that critics have a bias for Christopher Nolan? What kind of conspiracy theory is this?

    • He could redefine his whole style. Nolas is god.

      • No he isn’t. He’s a MAN.

        I’m just so sick of comments like this (it reminds me of a teenage girl’s behavior when she sees Twilight or Johnny Depp.)

        He’s a terrific director sure, but you don’t even know the guy! For all we know, he’s a racist and an alcoholic in real life (I very much doubt it, but I’m just trying to make a point).

        • If Nolan did/does Bond, it would be something he’s been building towards, not a radical change in direction at all, but a natural next step. I don’t think anyone here should think Christopher Nolan is a racist, right Avenger? :) He’s not a god, but he’s a really, really quality film maker who takes the cinematic experience seriously, which given the fact that his movies makes tons of money is good for film in general.

          • The racist and alcoholic remark was purely an exaggerated example… I’m positive that he isn’t a racist or an alcholic and I’m sure that he’s a great and intellectual guy in real life.
            - again, it was just false examples to point out that none of us know what the man is like when he’s out of public sight…

            I really am just sick of all these delusional fanboys saying he’s “god” and that he’s “almighty”, etc. – they’re everywhere and while I usually try to turn a blind eye to those comments, it’s getting out of hand IMO

            • I agree Avenger. I like Nolan as much as the next guy but even I know there’s only one god, and his name is Eric Clapton :P

            • If you say Nolan’s just a man, then I say! – THOR is just a manN What say ye to that, mortal!?!?

            • If you say Nolan’s just a man, then I say! – THOR is just a man What say ye to that, mortal!?!?

              • I’d sat Thor is a fictional character and that the actor who plays him in a movie is just as man as well.

        • There’s only one God, ma’am. And I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.

    • Tom Hardy as Bond.. no, no, no.

  3. A Nolan directed and Michael Fassbender starred 007 film. Make it happen. Now.

    • You need to produce movies. NOW!

    • Yes. This needs to be done.

      (I’d also say bring in another writer to try and get the humour out a little – I like Nolan’s humour in films but it’s not quite the usual Bond-type humour)

    • That would be incredible!

  4. A Sam Mendes directed Bond followed soon after by a Nolan helmed Bond? Oh my goodness yes please movie gods.

  5. If Fassbender is finally made Bond then all will be well
    Hardy is 5ft 6 or 7, he’s to shrimpy for Bond

    Predictions are thus:

    1. Skyfall will underperform (will likely be very good too which is a shame)

    2. Fassbender is the next Bond

    3. If Nolan wants to head up the Bond reboot the job is his, regardless of how well Bats performs

    • Fassbender would be a great choice too. I’d be fine with him or Hardy.

    • Hardy is 5ft 10…

      • Craig is also about 5′ 10″ No problem.

        But when Craig turns in his license I vote Fassbender to take over the role.

        I’d vote for Henry Cavill but he’s gonna be busy with Superman for the next ten years or more.

        Fassbender FTW.

      • in 3 inch lifts he is

        • Hardy that is

    • Skyfall will not only ‘not’ underperform, it will be THE film that delivers this season in the face of extreme competition, and any other actor wanting to play James Bond will have to wait until Daniel Craig’s good and done with it, which probably means they’ll have to pry it out of his cold dead hands.

      • And hyperbole aside :), bear in mind that the Bond producers shot down Quentin Tarantino as director of Casino Royale, so not just any big name director can walk in and take over the Bond films. Spielberg got turned down too, years ago.

        • L4YERCAKE:

          Totally with you on that. I’m for Craig all the way and from what I’ve surveyed Broccoli and Wilson want him to stay for a long time (unlike poor Brosnan).

          But, whenever Craig does decide to hand over his PPK, I can see an older and wiser Fassbender taking over.

          Also, it’s always been my suspicion that Tarantino and other directors were turned down because they weren’t British.

          I think the only gentleman who wasn’t a Brit that directed a Bond flick was Lee Tamahori. The bloke who made THE HORRENDOUS “Die Another Day.”

          So, at least Nolan has HIS citizenship in order.

          • Hmm… It hadn’t occurred to me that Tarantino not being British had anything to do with it, although I’d imagine Nolan being British would be in his favor.

            However, my understanding of why Tarantino was rejected was because he wanted to make Casino Royale a period piece set in 1953 or thereabouts and because he wanted Pierce Brosnan to star in it. Which sounded fantastic at the time, but from the producer’s point of view, I get it, make a great epitaph for Brosnan that can’t be built on because he’s at the end of his career, and taking a giant chance that audiences will go for a Bond set in the 50′s, and by a director whose own personal point of view would potentially overshadow the Bond franchise (ugh, I hate using that word), or go forward with an unusual choice for Bond while restarting the story with a chance to both modernize and explain the character and where he comes from and why he does what he does. It makes sense in retrospect…

            It would be interesting to see Nolan produce a Mendes bond, or vice-versa, or they take turns directing future Bond films. At the Skyfall press conference, when asked if Mendes would consider directing more Bond films, he and Craig shot each other a look that all but said, ‘absolutely’.

            • “Absolutely” is the perfect word to utter. And you can tell that both Craig and Mendes see completely eye to eye and get along great as a team. In an interview Craig was beaming about how he and Mendes were watching some of the older Bonds like From Russia With Love and Live and Let die to find some common threads in classic Bond.

              Regarding Tarantino, yeah. Well that’s the thing about him. He wanted to make a QT film about 007 rather than a Bond film directed by QT. He would have been turned down if he wanted to make a Superman movie for the same reasons. He can only make QT movie, which is fine with me.

              Ironically, Superman 78′s Alexander Salkind said no to Spielberg’s agent. But that was before CEOT3K.

              And when Spielberg told Lucas he always wanted to make a Bond movie, Lucas told him he had an idea and a story that was even better. And look at what happened!! Gotta love it!

              Ah well, Skyfall is gonna rip the rafters off!

              • Skyfall is TOTALLY going to rip the rafters off! :)

                An interesting aside, in the run up to Prometheus I re-watched both Alien and Blade Runner and afterwards had this weird feeling that Craig and Mendes had been watching Blade Runner as an influence for Skyfall, hence all the neon. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Javier Bardem watched Rutger Hauer’s performance in it as well for inspiration…

              • I think Robert Rodriguez would make a fantastic James Bond film. And, if no Craig, then Fassbender would be great. But, let me just throw this out: Clooney. First American Bond. Thoughts?

                • Robert Rodriguez??? Who? NO.

                  Fassbender. Yes.

                  George Clooney? Never.

                  Come on, man. lol

                  • I think Bond has to be British, otherwise he’d not really be Bond. On the other hand Clooney as Felix Leiter would be interesting, but it’ll never happen, for the Craig films I’d assume Jeffrey Wright is Leiter for the time being and Clooney would be a little too big a star cast opposite the main character. But who knows…?

  6. If Nolan wants to continue to pursue a biographical film about Howard Hughes’ later years, he should look to adapt James Ellroy epic Gangland USA series, which features a semi-fictional version of Hughes as a drugged out recluse making deals with the Mob, mormons, the CIA, and J. Edgar Hoover. It’s a series that dying to be adapted to the screen, but also one that would be extremely challenging. It has a period setting, historical and fictional characters interacting seamlessly, rather controversial alternate views on historical events, and a lot of violence.

    • American Tabloid FTW

      • I can’t decide if Nolan doing Ellroy is a good idea or not. I know Howard Hughes isn’t in it, but what about ‘Underworld’ by Don Delillo…?

        • You are probably thinking more of DeLillo’s novel, “Libra” which is a speculative account of Oswald assassinating Kennedy. It’s similar in that it mixes real, historical characters and fictional characters seamlessly. But it is only focused on the JFK assassination alone, whereas Ellroy’s Underworld USA series says that the same large conspiracy was behind first the Bay of Pigs invasion, and then the JFK/RFK/MLK assassinations.

          • Dig, I think you’re correct. :)

            I’m coming to the conclusion tho’ that Ellroy’s epics need to make the leap from novel to HBO maxi-series, like Game Of Thrones, they’re just too complex to be shoe-horned into a two+ hour movie.

            • Yeah, certainly, it would have be done in many parts. Each of those books alone could be split into several movies. I have always thought the Kemper Boyd character was perfect for George Clooney. He’s a bit too old now for the role unfortunately. But it would have been a stunning performance. The character is ruthless, amoralm quite possibly having no soul, but fascinating nonetheless. He can move from being a friend to the Kennedys, to working against them in an instant.

  7. I took the “right time in their cycle” comment to mean if the schedules line up. They want Bond 24 to be ready for 2014. Given Nolan’s current release cycle (Prestige 2006, Dark Knight 2008, Inception 2010, Dark Knight Rises 2012), that would mean he could potentially direct Bond 24 for 2014.

    Having said that, I could see him wanting to come in only if he gets a clean slate with an opportunity to create his own interpretation on the character. As a huge fan of his movies, I would love to see this. I could see him directing Bond 24 if he’s already met with producers (I’ve read articles saying he has) and he’s probably trying to negotiate something with the studio.

    My friend and I had this conversation last year… if Nolan directed a Bond film, how would the cast shape up? This is what I would like:

    Tom Hardy – James Bond
    Michael Caine – M
    Morgan Freeman – Q
    Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Felix Leiter (so we get more of that Inception banter)

    I’m pretty sure we had Cillian Murphy as one of the villains and Marion Cotillard as a Bond girl. I would really like to see this happen.

    • thats where i have a problem witn Nolan. u just named the same typical cast of actors that might Nolan might uses.

      i would like to see Nolan work with different actors people like Tom Hiddleston, Denzel Washington, Benedict Cumberbatch, Idris Elba, etc

      • I think Idris Elba would be a fantastic Bond. That needs to be done!

    • Do you really want Nolan to continually cast his films with the same cast?

      I already feel he’s done that with TDKR since more than half the cast was in Inception.

      Hey, if he does a Hughes pic he can easily cast Leo Decaprio. Leo’s already played Howard. Bonus! And Nolan can cast “The Bat” as “The Spruce Goose.”
      They both fly. ( Well the Spruce Goose TRIED to fly.)

      Ah, but if Nolan does Bond, who gets to play Money Penny? Anne Hathaway, of course!

      • hahahaha. u are on point about Nolan casting the same actors. i like Nolan movies but his casting is getting boring to me. this is were i feel he is not pushing himself as a director. i would like to see him work with actors like Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Denzel Washington, etc.

        • I don’t mind a director using the same actors in films at all, I think it’s kind of a cool thing. And it simply means that they have a good connection with the actor(s), but I don’t think it means that they seek out projects or write films that are only vehicles for, say, Tom Hardy or whomever, that’s impossible because multiple films can never use the same three people for every movie. But i for one am ecstatic that Scorcese and DeNiro are teaming up again, it’s overdue.

          And I don’t think that if Nolan were to sign up for a Bond film he’d immediately put all his Batman and Inception cast into it, but I’m sure if somebody were perfect for a role that he’d worked with before he’d do it because he’s got a good creative relationship with that actor. I expect to see Rachel Weisz in a Bond film in the next five years or so.

    • I know that Nolan likes to use some of the same actors multiple times, but I don’t think he’s going to do a huge Inception/Batman reunion if he does James Bond. Sure, it’s nice to use the same actors that you know well, but only to an extent. You don’t want it feel like an Inception/Batman reunion, you want it to feel like a completely different movie. Even TDKR, which some people feel is an Inception reunion, has a new actress in a leading role (Anne Hathaway), and of course, Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, etc, were not in Inception, and Leo and Ellen Page are not in TDKR.

      If Nolan does end up doing Bond, I’d like to see Daniel Craig return. If he doesn’t, I think Michael Fassbender would be an excellent choice. I could easily see Marion Cotillard as a Bond girl, and maybe throw in a nice up-and-coming actress like Jessica Chastain, and/or a more experienced actress like Charlize Theron. Regarding the villain, I think Mickey Rourke could make a great Russian villain, but that cliche has been used so many times in Bond, and also that sounds similar to his role in Iron Man 2. Guy Pearce and Liam Neeson are also good choices for villain.

  8. I’m all in for a nolan directed bond movie (trilogy?). Also I enjoy the Bourne-esque tone of the current cycle. I actually didn’t care much for the Pierce Brosnan flicks at all but I suppose I’m in the minority. Daniel Craig seems to have more of a “kick ass” attitude about him. I suppose that’s the benefit of these “cycles” at some point, you’re bound to see something you like.

  9. Nolan REALLY does want to make a Bond movie. This is AMAZING!

    Is there any question Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson (EON) are not aware of this? lol

    Is there any question Broccoli and Wilson can’t sit down with Chris Nolan and all agree to sign the negotiation papers? This can be a dream come true! Mind blowing.

    I feel Sam Mendes’ spin on Skyfall is going to be ground breaking.

    Chris Nolan teaming up with Daniel Craig on a Bond Film would be like the second coming.

    What a great time to be a Bond fan.

    • No doubt. Look at the smirk all the people involved with Skyfall have on their faces in interviews and whatnot. They know without a doubt they have a classic film up their sleeves. We are about to enter a golden era of Bond films.

  10. With TDKR´s opening looking ALREADY like a James Bond film, I cannot begin to imagine how an actual James Bond from Nolan could even be?! Please, Hollywood, give it us!

  11. TOLDJA! :)

    Finding the right situation means not stepping on Sam Mendes’ toes, I’m all but certain he’ll do at least one if not two more Bond films after Skyfall. Which means Nolan has lots of time to prepare for his turn, which he’ll want to do while Craig is still Bond, don’t kid yourself he wants any other actor to play him.

  12. ‘Having a Nolan-directed James Bond film could result in a sort of suspenseful and thrilling espionage flick that the franchise hasn’t necessarily seen (yet); spies, double-crosses, political intrigue, keep-you-guessing character motivations and plot arcs, big action set pieces, etc…’

    Didn’t you just describe Casino Royale, Kofi…?

  13. After all the Nolan films I`m confident on any of his projects

  14. It’ll be very interesting to see what Nolan does after the Batman films. So Howard Hughes is out. I’ll wait and see.

    • Come on, man. Ask a few people who know something about film: “Should Chris Nolan make a James Bond movie or a Howard Hughes movie?”


      • Scorcese already made a Howard Hughes film that won an academy award, and Inception was Nolan’s tribute to Bond films, so it seems like Bond would be the natural choice.

  15. Chris Nolan should forget James Bond and instead do a live action movie of “The Professionals” based from the hit British tv series.

  16. Benedict Cumberbatch has my vote for next Bond.

    • Nolan, if he does a bond movie, would cast the most unexpected guy as the villian. Tom arnold maybe ?

  17. I would pay 3d prices to see a 2d Nolan-directed Bond flick!

  18. Sad Nolan said his Howard Hughes script was the best thing he has ever written. What a shame. Seems like Chris Nolan has earned the right to make whatever film he wants to make. I wonder what the hold up is?

  19. I love Christopher Nolan’s work with a passion but I don’t want him to join another franchise for a while. His version of James Bond would be mind bending/action packed/amazing but I want more of his orginal material like Memento, The Prestige and Inception. Think about how many different awesome movies he would have made since his Batman trilogy started. Not to take anything away from what will soon be known as one of the best trilogies ever if not the best (yes I’m a diehard nolanite myself.) Each of his movies have a different feel to them and I personally would love to know how many movie scripts he has made in that crazy brain of his.

    • If it’s been his passion to make a Bond film I would imagine he’s had a Bond story percolating in his mind for quite some time. If the Bond producers pass on reintroducing Blofeld in Skyfall (WHICH WOULD DISAPPOINT ME GREATLY:)) then I hope Nolan has the vision and story to do so down the road.

  20. As much as I enjoy and respect Christopher Nolan’s work, I hope he makes a return to his original stories for a while. DC doesn’t seem to have their act together (in comparison to Marvel) and I can’t see his storytelling style working for every character in that universe. I’d be interested to see him tell a spy story, it doesn’t have to be Bond to be great.

    If Michael Fassbender did portray Bond, I’d enjoy seeing Ruth (Luther) Wilson cast as Miss Moneypenny. Given his work on Page 8, maybe have Bill Nighy play M. (I’d have said Tom Wilkinson but he was misused by Mission:Impossible already.)

  21. i would prefer nolan to do another original idea of sorts. but if he does bond id defently be up for it. I am one of the people that would love to see idris elba play bond.. idc about race that man would be amazing. if not then michael fassbender for sure!

  22. I want Bond to be like it was back in the old movies: loads of gadgets, crazy spy stories, and lots of action – if Nolan can bring that, I’m on board – but his style doesn’t seem like it would fit with my idea of a great 007 flick :(

    I do think Daniel Craig is a great Bond though. They should keep him for as long as possible and then replace him with Fassbender when the time comes.

    • Daniel Craig is bringing all that back, and then some.

  23. nolan could make a really good bond film

  24. I really wished he had something to do with transformers.:(oh well

  25. No thanks. Nolan is better at smaller character films like the Prestige and Insomnia and Memento. His Batman stuff is ok but not exactly captivating and neither was Inception. The action scenes are nowhere near as good as something from a Bourne film and the story can get caught up on itself sometimes. The Batman films were a bit hokey and Inception was riddled with exposition for instance. I think Bond would be better off avoiding a guy wanting to instill “drama” at every turn of a bonafide (albeit stylish) action series

    • I see what you mean. Nolan is a story teller with great drama movies. He never has done spectacular action sequences. But it couldnt hurt to have him try he could suprise people. who would geuss brad bird would do a good Mission Impossible movie? not me.

      • Christopher Nolan has never done spectacular action sequences?

        You cannot be serious.

        • And anybody who followed the genius of Simpsons, Iron Giant, and The Incredibles knew that Brad Bird was the best thing to ever happen to Mission: Impossible.

  26. Or, instead of Christopher Nolan, they can get a director who doesn’t make simple minded movies for simple minded comic book readers.

    • And you MOST CERTAINLY are not in that demo, right? I mean, how could you be? Your username is “An Intelligent Person”! Take pity of us

  27. Fassbender as Bond would be nice.