Danny Boyle was confirmed as director for Bond 25, only to exit the project one year before the upcoming movie's release. No stranger to directing Daniel Craig as the titular secret service agent - having included him in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony - Boyle has ultimately parted ways with the project, opening the door for a new slew of prospective directors. But why?
The 25th entry in the Bond franchise, as well as Daniel Craig's fifth on-screen outing as 007, Bond 25 was geared to hit the ground running once Danny Boyle (Academy Award-winning director of Slumdog Millionaire) was brought aboard to direct. Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge (who has collaborated with Boyle on everything from Shallow Grave to T2 Trainspotting) had reportedly crafted a promising concept for the movie, though no details regarding a synopsis have been revealed. Unfortunately, citing the traditional "creative differences," Boyle dropped out as director, though he has yet to elaborate on any other factors that contributed to his decision. That said, the clearest takeaways may well have ties to other projects Boyle has been working on outside of Bond, as well as the director's trademark style, which may be too far removed from the franchise's overall aesthetic.
While "creative differences" tend to be the simplified, go-to explanation when filmmakers leave projects, it's especially fitting for someone like Boyle in this particular franchise. As someone who tends to work on intimately-scaled projects, Bond 25 was outside of Boyle's wheelhouse from the very beginning. That's not to say that he couldn't have handled the movie (Sam Mendes, who directed the previous two installments, is best known for movies like American Beauty and Road to Perdition, and managed to create a fan-favorite out of Skyfall), but given Boyle's unique approach to filmmaking, as well as the fact that this franchise tends to leave the more creative gestures to its villains and gadgets, parting from the project may not have been especially difficult. His brute and frenetic style could have definitely given the franchise some uniquely elevated energy, but with studio pressures potentially watering down his style, Boyle may have been right to not sacrifice his techniques for the sake of the franchise's safer, mainstream M.O.
What's more is that Bond 25 isn't the sole project that has Boyle's attention at the moment. He's also directing a script from Richard Curtis (Love Actually, About Time), starring Lily James, Ana de Armas, and Ed Sheeran, which is reportedly a mid-century-set musical. And, even though tackling more than a single project at a time isn't unheard of (Steven Spielberg worked on Schindler's List and Jurassic Park simultaneously), he didn't leave Bond empty-handed. In fact, the studio restraint surrounding Bond may have been especially unsatisfying given the creative freedom he's likely been given on something as uninhibited as a musical, making it easier to jump ship.
As a filmmaker who approaches projects with little restraint, the limitations surrounding such a massive franchise might have never lived up to Boyle's creative scope. And, though Boyle may never openly reveal what exactly pushed him away from Bond 25, his departure doesn't seem entirely surprising. He's an artist who is at his best when he's unchecked, and the Bond franchise has already seen what can happen when a talented filmmaker is forced to make creative sacrifices that ultimately jeopardize the reason they've been brought aboard in the first place (see: Marc Forster's Quantum of Solace).
- James Bond 25 (2020) release date: Apr 08, 2020