It turns out that Sam Mendes isn't finished dancing around the currently-untitled 24th James Bond movie. The Skyfall director started out by saying that he was open to the possibly of helming the next 007 installment featuring Daniel Craig, not long after Skyfall began its box office run to a $1 billion worldwide total. Mendes later withdrew his candidacy, saying that his upcoming theater directing commitments would prevent that from being feasible.
Then, a month ago, reports began circulating that Mendes is not only essentially a lock to direct Bond 24, but he may also be inking a deal to thereafter direct the 25th franchise installment. The Oscar-winning filmmaker has since gone on record to say that nothing is set in stone at this point, where it concerns his future with the Bond franchise.
Deadline broke the news about Mendes having been re-approached to direct Bond 24 - by the James Bond franchise producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson - last month, based on the claim that the pair are no longer intent on releasing Bond 24 in theaters by late 2014. They're now looking at a more relaxed production timeline for the 24th Bond movie (i.e. with a 2015/2016 release date target); that would allot Mendes the necessary amount of time for him to make the film the way he wants.
Mendes was in attendance at the recent premiere for the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stage musical (which he directed), at London's West End. He was speaking to Hey U Guys on the red carpet - about turning Roald Dahl's beloved children's book into a stage musical - when Mendes got the jump on his interviewer and provided the following update on the Bond 24 situation:
“In answer to the question you’re going to ask, I don’t know yet. I’m in discussion over the ‘B’ word and I won’t make any decision until this is open. It’s taken a long time to get ['Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'] open and this has been my focus.”
Question is, does this mean that Mendes isn't unofficially-locked to direct Bond 24, as had previously been indicated - or, rather, is the director holding off on counting his chicks before they hatch, rather than confirm his return before a deal has been properly finalized? The latter's a strong possibility, but there still remains a sliver of a chance that Mendes could back out at the eleventh hour (assuming he's not just lying about still being in the discussion stage for Bond 24).
Craig is locked in place to portray Agent 007 on the big screen at least two more times; meanwhile, rumors about his female counterpart in Bond 24 have begun to circulate (no-brainer choice Penélope Cruz is the first to be seriously raised). In related news, Skyfall costars Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris are all expected to reprise their roles in Bond 24 as (Spoiler?) the new 'M', 'Q' and Moneypenny, respectively, drawing from a script by Skyfall co-writer John Logan.
That's to say, at this point the next major announcement related to Bond 24 should involve Mendes either formally hopping aboard as the director, or handing the task over to someone else. We'll be sure to let you know when that happens.
In the meantime - do you want Mendes to direct James Bond 24? Or would you like to see another director try their hand at the Bond franchise?