Directors come and go in the James Bond franchise. Sam Mendes, previously known for smaller films like American Beauty and Revolutionary Road, has helmed the last two installments – Skyfall and Spectre. The previous two films were directed by Martin Campbell and Marc Forster, respectively. But Mendes has decided not to helm the untitled Bond 25, so the job is now up for grabs.
Over the past few years, Hollywood has devised a strategy of taking unknown filmmakers, often having only a few small works to their name, and having them take on big, massive franchises. Marvel has done this time and time again, and it’s usually paid off.
But why not hire an established Hollywood director, or an auteur, so to speak? Or someone who has a unique style to their films? Someone who is able to put their own personal stamp on their work, just like Sam Mendes, might be a good addition to the franchise.
This list hopes to cover both indies and big timers, so enjoy 14 Filmmakers Who Should Direct Bond 25.
14. Christopher Nolan
This may seem like an obvious choice, but it’s still a good one. Christopher Nolan has become a widely beloved filmmaker by taking on incredible endeavors like The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception and Interstellar. He would be a great choice for Bond 25 because he’s very inventive in how he presents his stories and characters and how he thrives by telling big, epic stories.
While Nolan is occasionally criticized for not handling action scenes that well, he still would be able to create an ambitious, thrilling world for Bond to play around in. But he’s no stranger to shooting a bunch of kinetic sequences, so it just depends on what type of action was needed. No matter what, he’s quickly becoming one of the best directors in the business, so why not bring him on and see t he could do?
13. Guy Ritchie
Guy Ritchie’s latest film, last year’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E., is basically a Bond movie set in the 1960s. It’s not only an underappreciated work in his filmography, but it also has many qualities that show off his talents in the action genre. It’s stylish, fun and full of compelling mysteries, all of which Bond 25 would require. That’s not to say that recent installments haven’t had those, but they maintained a noticeable amount darkness to them. Therefore, Ritchie would be a great pick to add some levity and humor to the franchise.
Also, his Sherlock Holmes action-mystery series is dark yet entertaining, with a bunch of high-octane sequences. Like Nolan, he manages to keep hold of multiple storylines as well as presenting some very colorful characters, whether they have lead or minor roles. Ritchie may not be beloved by all, but he’s got some nice skills that would translate very well into a Bond film.
12. David Fincher
This guy might be the biggest long shot on the entire list. David Fincher loves control over his films, which almost always pays off for him. He was going to be involved with the entire Millennium trilogy, beginning with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake in 2011, but that seems to have fallen through. So even though he’s probably not looking for a franchise, getting Bond 25 directed by him would make for a pretty unique entry.
Fincher’s past films are probably among the smartest in Hollywood; he never talks down to his audience, he utilizes modern techniques and strategies, while somehow keeping his films thoroughly entertaining. He loves darkness and cynical stories, so Fincher could be ideal if producers want Bond 25 to have a similar as the previous two films. As long as he’s able to have a good amount of say in what should be included in Bond 25, this could actually work. So keep up hope, Fincher fans.
11. Bennett Miller
Bennett Miller might just be the most underrated director working today. Even though he only has three films to his name, all of them are phenomenal. Capote, Moneyball and Foxcatcher are among the best in their respective genres. His style is reserved, pretty but not flashy, and he never judges his characters.
Miller is a character-driven filmmaker, making him a great candidate to handle the next installment. He hasn’t done much action yet, but we’d like to see a gunfight or two presented in his refined shooting style. He has one project set for sometime in the next couple years, although nothing is set in stone at the moment. His version of Bond 25 may be quieter and subtler than some may like, but that may be the right direction for the character… who knows?
10. Kathryn Bigelow
The Bond franchise could probably use a bit of a female touch. Kathryn Bigelow is one of the few big female directors in Hollywood right now, and by all means she deserves that status. Her two most recent works have been both major Oscar contenders and superb modern war films. The Hurt Locker, an intense action thriller about a bomb squad in Iraq, was the winner of the Best Picture Oscar. Then came Zero Dark Thirty, following the true account of how Osama Bin Laden was found and eventually killed by the CIA.
Bigelow knows how to balance politics, action and character in a very satisfying way. She’s proven herself time and time again in these genres, so she could take Bond down an interesting path. She could also incorporate some more strong female characters in Bond 25, something the franchise usually lacks.
9. Brad Bird
Brad Bird has a knack for fun, comedically-infused action movies. He’s already got one of the best entries in the Mission: Impossible franchise to his name, so why not Bond too? And he’s in need of a turnaround after Tomorrowland failed last year. He’s got the stuff to make Bond special, just let him have a go at it.
Another strength of Bird is that he’s dabbled in a variety of genres. He’s done two fantastic movies for Pixar, Ratatouille and the Incredibles, which both have heart, enjoyable characters and gorgeous visuals. If the producers decide to make the franchise more light in tone, Bird might be a good choice for Bond 25. In Bond’s earlier days, he used a bunch of gadgets and was noticeably more inventive with his action. Bird can bring that side of Bond to life again.
8. Cary Fukunaga
Cary Fukunaga made huge waves in television after directing all eight episodes of True Detective‘s acclaimed first season. Before that, he made a dark, beautiful adaptation of Jane Eyre. And recently, he wrote and directed an austere child soldier drama called Beasts of No Nation. He has a visually impressive style, even if it may be gritty and cold, and he has a wide range of talents. While Bond 25 would definitely be the darkest of the franchise if he took the job, the film may be better for it.
He’s a mature, smart filmmaker that deserves a lot more credit than he’s received. It seems like it’s a long shot for him to helm a big studio project like a Bond film, but weirder things have happened. His films are unpredictable, and he’s not afraid to show strong violence. These qualities could turn Bond 25 into a Bourne-like installment, for better or for worse.
7. Gareth Edwards
Known best for 2014’s Godzilla, and currently getting ready for the anticipated spinoff Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Gareth Edwards would definitely up to the challenge. One of the strengths of Godzilla was the wise decision to shoot action from grounded, realistic viewpoints, making the audience feel like they are in the moment.
We don’t know what Edwards will want to do after helming a huge project like Rogue One. He may want a change of pace by directing a small movie, but he could also potentially take on a blockbuster like Bond 25. Either way, he’s a filmmaker who could soon become a household name, especially if he decides to take on a beloved character like 007.
6. Alfonso Cuaron
Alfonso Cuaron makes complex, evocative human stories. His 2006 film Children of Men sits easily atop of the list of best sci-fi films of the ’00s. He followed that up with the space-survival thriller Gravity, in which he centered the film almost entirely around one character and still made it absolutely breathtaking. Cuaron may be an unlikely choice, but he’s still an interesting candidate, especially if he brings his trademark long-take style to the project.
His cinematography is utterly mesmerizing throughout all of his works. While Bond films don’t have to be pretty, it doesn’t hurt to let someone like Cuaron spruce things up. He knows how to create an unique experience for the audience, which would work perfectly for Bond 25. The franchise needs memorable moments like those Cuaron can make. He’s currently attached to a smaller project, but he may want to head back to the blockbuster world once he’s done. What better way to do that than with Bond?
5. J.C. Chandor
Another underrated indie director, J.C. Chandor has three highly-acclaimed films to his name. He debuted with Margin Call, a drama about the inner-workings of Wall Street. Even if he didn’t do anything after that, the unbelievably high intelligence of that film has is pretty amazing.
Chandor went on to do the one-man survival story All is Lost, and then the ’80s crime drama A Most Violent Year. While it may not be a unique skill, he never fails to get the absolute best performances from his actors. Now, the only issue that fans of Chandor may already know is he’s not really a crowd-pleaser. His films require multiple viewings and constant attention, so he may need to adjust his style somewhat if he does helm Bond 25.
4. David Ayer
Currently in post-production on his upcoming DC ensemble piece Suicide Squad, David Ayer could make quit the mark on the Bond franchise. He makes violent, often merciless films, which may not be that unusual of a road to go down for the super spy. While still maintaining the charm of the character, Bond 25 could hypothetically be done in an intense, dark way. Since his DC film is PG-13, he’s clearly not opposed to reconciling his vision with the requirements of a major franchise.
All considered, Ayer’s style would allow for kinetic hand-to-hand combat, epic yet contained firefights, and smart character choices. Besides being more violent, maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to make Bond a little more dour. Skyfall and Spectre had Craig in a pretty dark place most of the time, so Ayer could build on that personality. The only issue with him is scheduling. He has the thriller Bright coming up, along with a possible sequel to Suicide Squad. This means that he may have to tackle a later Bond film rather than the next installment. Still, after now being a part of one cinematic universe, it’s not too crazy to think he might tackle another.
3. Derek Cianfrance
Even if most people don’t know Derek Cianfrance, he’s by no means an insignificant filmmaker. His first film, Blue Valentine, is one of the defining romance dramas of the 2000s. He went on to make The Place Beyond the Pines, a heartbreaking action drama that blended crime, family and money into one engrossing tale. His films may be pretty depressing compared to other indie directors, but that’s not to say he would be unfit for Bond 25. He could bring a incredibly humanizing quality to Bond, perhaps providing an element of pathos to the character.
Cianfrance is currently prepping his upcoming period drama The Light Between Oceans for an Oscar-ready release later this year, so the guy’s obviously not just really talented, he’s also a potential Oscar contender. He could turn Bond 25 into a mature action film that may even have big Oscar potential, similar to Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s doubtful he’d want to do something as big as a franchise film, so it may never happen. But having an intimate, honest director behind Bond 25 doesn’t sound like too big of a stretch.
2. Quentin Tarantino
Can you imagine what Bond 25 would look like if this guy took a crack at it? It’s a hard thing to fathom, but it would probably be an amazing thing to see. It would be pretty risky to have Tarantino helm a Bond film, as he would probably refuse to tone down his signature violence for a PG-13 rating. Nevertheless, Tarantino’s script would probably be the best one of the entire franchise.
Apparently he did want to do a version Casino Royale, but the producers at Eon never took him up on it. He would probably make one of the most unique entries in the franchise, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Tarantino’s style is completely unlike anyone else’s, which would be interesting to incorporate into the existing Bond franchise, but will probably never happen.
1. Denis Villeneuve
Even if this isn’t a ranked list, Denis Villeneuve may just be one of the best choices for Bond 25. He’s done three renowned films and is about to do the Blade Runner sequel. He’s got variety of genres under his belt and he has a real talent for creating an unsettling atmosphere and tone. In last year’s Sicario, he meshed action and stark character stories into an already complex plot. And since he’s about to do a highly sensitive sci-fi epic, this director is clearly raring to do bigger and better things.
His collaborations with Roger Deakins, the famous cinematographer, are another reason for him totake the job. Deakins shot Skyfall, one of the most highly acclaimed of the franchise, so why not continue that with this new guy? This team would bring a familiar look to Bond 25, yet still add plenty of inventive new elements. Villeneuve deserves to have his name advertised in his posters and trailers, and doing a Bond film would quickly make that happen.
Because Spectre was not nearly as successful as Skyfall, the Bond franchise is in need of win. And good or not, with no director currently attached, the franchise could literally go anywhere. The titular character has an endless amount of possibilities available to him, so the franchise is basically a big action sandbox.
With the shortlist of stars being rumored for the lead role is unveiled, the studio can only wait so long before they choose a director. While this list discusses a few filmmakers, there are many more that would be up for the job. If you can think of any others, shout them out in the comments!