It hasn’t been a full week since Bond 25 lost its director, and already the replacement rumors are heating up. Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire filmmaker Danny Boyle was set to co-write and direct the next Bond movie, with filming beginning in December, but it was announced this week that he was departing the project due to creative differences.
This has put Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson in a pickle, as Boyle wasn’t simply a director for hire. The filmmaker pitched an original idea for a Bond movie that he and his Trainspotting scribe John Hodge would write, but as development continued, it appears that idea in actuality didn’t quite match up with what the Bond team had in mind.
So now it’s back to the drawing board for Bond 25 as Boyle’s script is tossed, and it was reported yesterday that the film might lose its targeted Fall 2019 release date as producers are searching for a writer or writer/director to take over. Who might Boyle’s replacement be? Well Deadline has some intriguing contenders—the outlet says an approach was made to Big Little Lies and Sharp Objects filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée, who also directed the features Dallas Buyers Club and Wild. But Vallée seems like an even riskier choice than Boyle, as his non-traditional style involves improvised shooting, natural lighting, and ignoring conventions like rehearsal or blocking. One imagines that style doesn’t mesh quite well with an expensive, large production like Bond, but who knows.
Another contender Deadline has is the complete opposite, work-wise: Edgar Wright. Deadline says Wright is “a real possibility” and the filmmaker still hasn’t committed to his next narrative project after the successful Baby Driver (though he is working on a documentary about the band Sparks and a Baby Driver sequel is potentially in development). Wright is a stickler for motivated camera movements and carefully planned shots, so if he did take over, one imagines the Bond 25 release date would be pushed back at least six months so Wright could write his own take—though Deadline says it’s possible the intended date will stick. Wright would certainly make for an intriguing choice, and as the most “serious” film he’s made yet, Baby Driver marked an excitingly ambitious display of the filmmaker’s talents.
Deadline also notes Yann Demange (’71) and David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water), who were on the previous Bond 25 shortlist before Boyle came in with his take. Demange appeared to be the frontrunner to direct at that point, but he’s since moved on to helming the HBO drama series Lovecraft Country, so he may be unavailable.
I’m a bit dubious of the genuine prospects of Wright or Vallée helming, but if they do turn out to be true at least this would be an exciting change of pace. Sam Mendes established a very sleek, controlled aesthetic with Skyfall and Spectre, so I’d be down for seeing that shaken up with someone like Wright or Vallée at the helm—it’s part of the reason I was so excited to see Boyle direct.