Blade Runner: 2049 director Denis Villeneuve is reportedly one of the filmmakers being considered to take the helm of James Bond 25. After two years of uncertainty following the release of the last James Bond film, Spectre, the 007 franchise got back on track this week with the announcement of a November 2019, release date by the film's producers and the reported return of star Daniel Craig.
With Skyfall and Spectre director Sam Mendes out of the picture, the next big move for the production will be the hiring of a new helmer - and it appears that at least three candidates are in the running.
According to Deadline, Villeneuve, Hell or High Water director David MacKenzie and Yann Demange - a relative newcomer to feature films - are being considered. For the time being, it appears that the production has moved away from the idea of hiring Sherlock director Paul McGuigan, as well as Christopher Nolan, a self-professed Bond fanatic who recently said he would only get involved in the franchise if it needed reinvention.
Of the three, Villeneuve is clearly the most experienced filmmaker, having amassed an impressive list of credits including Prisoners, Sicario, Arrival (which earned the filmmaker a Best Director Oscar nomination, as well as a Best Picture nod), and Blade Runner: 2049 looks extremely promising. MacKenzie (a veteran director whose career dates back to 1994) appears to be a strong choice as well, considering impact Hell or High Water had on audiences, critics and the industry last year. Like Villeneuve's Arrival, MacKenzie's Hell or High Water received a Best Picture Oscar nomination.
Despite the competitive advantages the other two helmers seem to have over Demange, Variety reports that the French filmmaker is the overall frontrunner for the job. While his only feature film credit to date is 2014 thriller '71 starring Jack O'Connell, Demange seems to have quickly earned Hollywood's respect with his next directorial gig the 2018 crime drama White Boy Rick, starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
The hiring of director will no doubt be a crucial move for James Bond 25 producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, as well as Bond studio MGM, since a five studios are in a bidding war to for a distribution deal for the Bond films (including Sony, whose four-picture deal with EON Productions and MGM ended after Spectre).
The confirmation of Craig's return (which has yet to happen), plus an idea of whose taking the reins of the next Bond installment will undoubtedly influence just how much Sony, Warner Bros., Universal, 20th Century Fox, and Annapurna Pictures are all willing to pay before they submit their final bids to become 007's new home.
- James Bond 25 (2019) release date: Feb 14, 2020