Bond fans were surprised when it was announced on Twitter that the Bond producers, Daniel Craig and Danny Boyle had parted company over creative differences. Rumors of disagreements range from casting decisions to Boyle planning to kill off Bond.
The Bond 25 gig is one of the most sought directing jobs at the moment, and directors like Edgar Wright and Jean-Marc Vallée have been linked to the position. The British bookmakers William Hill have come up with a list of directors who they think could take the job, – so let’s look at who they picked, and whether or not each filmmaker would be a good fit and if they have a realistic shot becoming the director of Bond 25.
Steve McQueen – 14/1
Bringing up the rear is Steve McQueen, a good outside bet and properly more likely to be offered the Bond gig than some of the other directors on this list. McQueen started his career as a video artist and made his name with dramas like Hunger and Shame and his historical drama 12 Years a Slave won an Oscar for Best Picture.
McQueen’s films are known for having great acting, Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor were nominated for awards for their performances and his greatest ability as a filmmaker is his long takes. Hunger had a terrific scene of two people simply talking, Shame had a jogging scene where Fassbender runs in an empty New York, and 12 Years a Slave had the powerful whipping scene. It would be something if McQueen could do something similar for a Bond action scene.
Due to McQueen’s background as an artist and dramatic director, he does not seem like the most obvious choice, but he was shortlisted to direct The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and his next film is set to be a female-led heist film that will premier at the Toronto Film Festival.
Ridley Scott – 12/1
Ridley Scott is one of the most prolific directors working and even though he is 80-years-old does more work than filmmakers half his age. He has some of the greatest sci-fi films of all time like Alien and Blade Runner. He has experience in the war, crime and spy genres with Black Hawk Down, American Gangster and Body of Lies to his name.
But Scott is a hit-and-miss reputation – as well as making great films he has made some stinkers. In recent history, he has made The Counselor and Alien: Covenant.
Scott would be perfectly capable of making a Bond film especially with the action sequences, but Scott’s placement by William Hill is a case of the bookmakers picking a big name for the sake of it. It is unlikely he would even be approached to direct Bond 25, let alone take the job. Save your money.
Paul Greengrass – 10/1
Paul Greengrass is best known for directing three films in the Bourne franchise, and that is the main reason he is considered a possible Bond director. Beside from his Bourne films, Greengrass has made some excellent true-life films in the form of United 93 and Captain Phillips.
But there are some significant reasons why Greengrass won’t be considered. Back when he was promoting Jason Bourne Greengrass stated he would never do a Bond film and his Bourne star even called Bond an ‘imperialist, misogynist sociopath.’ Greengrass also inject his political beliefs into his movies and the Bond producers will never let him do that with Bond franchise. Finally, Bond fans wouldn’t want Greengrass to direct because of his incomprehensible shaky cam.
Kathryn Bigelow – 10/1
Ever since making The Hurt Locker Kathryn Bigelow has been a fan choice to direct a Bond film. Bigelow is one of the few female directors who has made big-budget movies, and she would be a good fit for the Bond series. Her films The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty show she can make compelling films that touch on contemporary issues and she favors using practical effects over CGI.
However, some issues prevent Bigelow from being a favorite to take the gig. Since her Oscar win Bigelow pretty much has a license to make any film she wants, and she followed The Hurt Locker with Zero Dark Thirty and Detroit. It would be unlikely she would make a Bond film considering the demands from the producers and Daniel Craig. The other issue is Bigelow’s nationality – the Bond series has avoided hiring American directors. The closest an American has come to direct a Bond film was Brett Ratner who Pierce Brosnan lobbied to direct Die Another Day, but the producers rejected him because of his nationality.
Martin McDonagh – 8/1
British-Irish writer/director Martin McDonagh is a filmmaker who has the potential to make a great Bond film. Starting his career as a playwright, McDonagh made his name as a filmmaker with the dark comedy In Bruges and his recent movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was an awards darling.
McDonagh’s films are known for quick, witty director, some politically incorrect humor and being able to blur the lines between comedy and tragedy. His movies also have terrific performances, and McDonagh has worked with some big-name actors like Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson and mostly importantly Frances McDormand who won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
At 8/1 McDonagh is worth a punt.
Danny Boyle – 8/1
Considering how Danny Boyle lost the Bond gig it be would improbable if he got rehired. And if the rumors are true that Boyle planned to kill off Bond, there would be an uproar from the fans.
Christopher Nolan – 8/1
Like Bigelow, Christopher Nolan is a fan favorite to direct a Bond film, and Nolan was influenced by the Bond series. He stated that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was his favorite Bond film and the series has affected his action scenes. However, like Bigelow Nolan would be a director who would demand a high level of creative control and he would more likely direct Bond 26 and set the groundwork for a new Bond.
Sam Mendes – 7/1
Sam Mendes directed the previous two entries in the Bond series, the fantastic Skyfall and the letdown that was Spectre. Back in 2016, he ruled himself out of directing Bond 25 and considering the lukewarm reception to Spectre the producers will properly feel the series needs some fresh blood. Plus Mendes is attached to a couple of other films, 1917 and The Voyeur’s Motel.
Yann Demange – 6/1
Before Danny Boyle was hired by Eon Productions, they had a shortlist of directors which included Yann Demange. Demange is a French national who has worked predominately in the UK – working shows like the Charlie Brooker scripted Dead Set and crime series Top Boy. Demange indeed made his name with the historical thriller ’71, a film where a British soldier is caught up in The Troubles when serving in Northern Ireland. ’71 earned a lot of praise and Demange won a BIFA for best director. Demange’s next film is the ’80s set crime-thriller White Boy Rick.
Demange is clearly a talented director and has the potential to have a great career. Because he is a relative newcomer, Demange wouldn’t have the clout of other directors on this list and wouldn’t be able to challenge the producers as much.
Denis Villeneuve – 4/1
French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve is another favorite of fans to direct a Bond film. Since Villeneuve started making English language films he has made some critically acclaimed thrillers and genre films. The main reason Villeneuve is considered a possible Bond director is that of his work on the Mexican set crime thriller Sicario and like many other directors on this list he can get excellent performances from his actors. Villeneuve is also known for his intricate plotting and fantastic cinematography – he often works with Skyfall cinematographer Roger Deakins. Villeneuve did the impossible, he made a great sequel to Blade Runner, 35 years after the original was released – it was one of the most beautiful looking films of 2017.
However, Villeneuve is currently attached to direct a new adaptation of Dune, making it unlikely he would be able to direct Bond 25 and like Christopher Nolan would more likely direct Bond 26.
David Mackenzie – 3/1
The favorite according to William Hill is Scottish director David Mackenzie. Like Demange and Boyle, Mackenzie was on the same Eon shortlist. Mackenzie had a respectable career in the UK, making films like gritty dramas Perfect Sense and Starred Up and he blew up as a directional force with the neo-Western Hell or High Water which earned him an Oscar nomination. Mackenzie’s next film is the historical epic Outlaw King which is set to open the Toronto Film Festival and be released on Netflix.
Mackenzie would be excellent for a Bond film, and he deserves to be one of the favorites to direct Bond 25. His placement is more realistic than some of the other directors on this list. He could keep the gritty look and tone of the Craig era Bond films and still be able to provide some stunning visuals and action sequences.