Nicolas Winding Refn is a divisive filmmaker, famed for his uncompromising visions and preference for offbeat characters and highly stylized stories; and summer 2016 has crystallized that image thanks to the release of The Neon Demon. While the film hasn’t set the box office on fire, it has already become notorious for its gonzo fusion of beautiful actresses, lurid Los Angeles melodrama and shocking plot turns.

While audiences and critics are still discussing his latest effort, Refn revealed that he almost directed a significantly more well-known film instead: 2015’s James Bond entry, Spectre.

While he first exploded onto the international scene with tough-guy dramas Bronson and Valhalla Rising, Refn’s big mainstream break came with the success of the low-key action-thriller Drive. The film earned rave reviews from critics and connected with audiences thanks in large part to a turn by Ryan Gosling as a taciturn, hard-fighting wheelman. The film earned the director studio consideration for projects like Wonder Woman, Barbarella, and Logan’s Run, but he turned them down in favor of re-teaming with Gosling for the ultra-violent crime drama Only God Forgives — which did not end up drawing the same audience as Drive.

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Speaking to The Telegraph, Refn explained he was also offered the director’s chair on Spectre, but turned it down on similar lines — instead seeking the freedom to follow his own instincts and have full control over his filmmaking:

“I just know this way I can do whatever I want, and that outweighs any money anyone can give me.”

Directing duties on Spectre instead went to Skyfall director Sam Mendes, but failed to repeat that film’s massive box office take and earned mixed reviews from critics. Bond actor Daniel Craig also made headlines during the film’s press tour with vocal declarations of his decreased interest in the franchise and character, leading to serious speculation that another new Bond re-casting is imminent.

While he hasn’t ruled out eventually taking on a more commercially viable project in the future (he’s expressed interest in helming a Batgirl feature for Warner Bros.), for now Refn seems content to continue developing projects like The Neon Demon and The Avenging Silence — a currently in-development spy-thriller set in Japan that the director has described as “a big extravagant action film,” which some suspect may again attract the attention of major studios. In the meantime, Refn has continued to fund his various passions via lucrative commercial directing gigs like Blake Lively’s Gucci fragrance campaign and Matthew McConaughey’s now-famous Lincoln car ads.

Screen Rant will have more news for you regarding The Avenging Silence and the future of the James Bond franchise as details are made available.

Source: The Telegraph