As MGM and Annapurna Pictures move closer to pulling the trigger on James Bond 25, the studios are switching up their plan of attack when it comes to finding a director. Last summer, the studios announced a November 2019 release date for Bond 25, which started a ticking clock of sorts as they secured Daniel Craig to return, then turned their sights to finding a director. Last we heard, ’71 director Yann Demange was the top choice to take the helm, but now Variety reports that Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire filmmaker Danny Boyle is high on MGM’s list to direct.
This is certainly a twist to the conversation, as most assumed Demange had been settled on as the man who’d bring Bond 25 to the big screen. But Variety says that since Annapurna Pictures won the distribution rights to the Bond franchise, there has been “one last push” to go after a more well-known name to take the helm. Indeed, the previous deal with Sony came to a conclusion with Spectre, and Annapurna landed the distribution rights after months of wooing the franchise’s producers.
Landing on Demange in the first place didn’t come easy. Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 filmmaker Denis Villeneuve was very high on the list to take the helm, but having already committed to Dune as his next project, Villeneuve had to decline the offer (this time around at least—watch out for Villeneuve when Bond 26 comes up). Christopher Nolan has also been in the mix as a possibility, but the Oscar-nominated Dunkirk filmmaker reaffirmed just this week that while he’s interested in Bond, he’d ideally only direct when it comes time to reboot the franchise entirely.
Demange has heat on his next project White Boy Rick, which is in the can, but Boyle would certainly be that high profile filmmaker Annapurna is looking for. He’s a tremendous visual stylist with a wonderful British flair, and just thinking about Boyle’s frequent cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle shooting a Bond movie makes me incredibly excited. Boyle is coming off a pair of critically acclaimed but commercially stunted films in last year’s underrated sequel T2 Trainspotting and 2015’s terrific Steve Jobs, but after films like 28 Days Later… and Trance it’s clear the guy certainly has a great action film in him, and Bond 25 would be a pretty great showcase.
Variety cautions that no offer has been made and a deal isn’t currently in the works, but Boyle has “keen interest” in the project and so a match could potentially make. We’ll have to see how all this plays out, but with the clock ticking on that release date, MGM is going to have to make a decision soon.
Most recently Boyle helmed episodes of the upcoming FX limited series Trust, which covers the same true story as Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World and debuts next month. That’ll be an interesting press tour if MGM and Annapurna still haven’t announced a director by then.