Friday, June 24, 2016

Bond 25 speculation: Directors


When Tom Hiddleston’s turn in The Night Manager put him in the spotlight for 007’s tux, it came as no surprise that the helmer of the series, Susanne Bier was briefly floated as a potential candidate to direct Bond 25. 

Last year, I wrote a post about offbeat directors I would like to see tackle a Bond movie. With plans for the next movie up in the air, and no firm idea of who will ultimately sit in the chair, let’s engage in a little speculation. 

Denis Villeneuve  

A self-proclaimed Bond fan, Villeneuve has made a name for himself with some truly incredible thrillers. While his facility with lighter material has not been tested, he could be a logical choice if the producers want to go even darker. He might also be able to bring Skyfall DOP Roger Deakins back as cinematographer. They have collaborated several times, and Spectre lacked that special magic Deakins brings to the table. This choice might seem a bit too high brow, but after Sam Mendes and Marc Forster, it seems like the days of competent journeymen directors helming Bond films might be over.

Paul Feig

Spy was one of the best comedies of last year, and represented Feig’s long-held desire to helm a Bond movie. If the series’ backers decide to shift tone back toward the camp and silly, Feig is the perfect chaperone to manage the transition.

Shane Black

Like Ian Fleming, Shane Black was born and raised on pulp detective thrillers. He has no shame about staying in genre pictures, but has the intelligence and talent to elevate such material above the formulaic into brutal poetry. He would also bring the funny. And probably set it at Christmas.

John Michael McDonagh

The ‘other’ McDonagh made his name with the terrific buddy comedy The Guard, turning Brendan Gleeson into the world’s least likely badass. I already brought him up in my last post, but I really think he would be a great choice. Combining terrific repartee with a great collection of oddball characters and inspired set pieces, The Guard is a truly terrific piece of work. Despite good notices, McDonagh remains an underrated talent. He hasn’t quite attained the same level of fame as brother Martin (In Bruges), and might be a good pick for either writing or directing a future Bond picture.

Alex Garland

Garland enjoys genre-hopping so this might not be entirely out of the realm of possibility. He has a talent for constructing tight, claustrophobic genre pictures (Dredd, Ex Machina) with deft touches of character and humour. Spectre cost about 250 million dollars -- scaling things back might be on the producers’ minds, and Garland would be perfect for this. Plus Bond could use a good dance scene

Gareth Evans

Might as well throw his name in because it's a pretty obvious choice. Evans has proven himself as a master of action, and might be able to bring another level of visceral impact and dynamism to the action. Aside from the train fight, Spectre was a little leaden in its set pieces, and Evans could provide a much needed dose of adrenaline to the aging franchise. There are a few minor caveats: Evans  hasn’t quite proved his dramatic chops yet, and the Raids aren’t exactly a barrel of laughs. That kind of b-movie intensity might be a little out-of-place.  

Christopher McQuarrie

This is a bit of wish fulfilment, but after his great work on M:I 5 (see my review from last year), McQuarrie has proved his chops as a great maker of smart big budget entertainment. He can do the style and set pieces in his sleep, but could add genuine depth to Bond 25 without making it feel pretentious or too serious. In many ways, Rogue Nation captured the tone of the best Bonds of yesteryear, and combined with his work on Jack Reacher and Edge of Tomorrow, is an excellent resume if the Broccoli-Wilson camp start looking in his direction. 

Jaume Collet-Serra

Probably the most likely choice to actually a) want the gig and b) get the job, Collet-Serra has proven himself as a smart, technically stylish genre filmmaker. Having made the stronger entries in the Liam Neeson 'action man' cycle, Collet-Serra knows his way around action, and as showcased in his underrated House of Wax and terrific child horror Orphan, he can handle suspense and horror with flair. He might be a bit dark, but he knows how to make enjoyable popcorn fare that manages to stay the right side of silly -- which is pretty much the recipe for a good Bond flick. Plus he would probably be cheaper than some of the other choices on this list.

Bonus dark horse favourite

Martin Campbell

Nothing would be more poetic than for the Bond braintrust to go back to the man who saved the franchise twice before. The director of Brosnan and Craig’s debuts (as well as the swashbuckling Mask of Zorro), Campbell combines a respect for the franchise with a willingness to throw the formula away. Casino Royale remains one of the best action films of the last 20 years, and it could be argued that without Campbell, Bond’s post-Cold War  resurgence would never have happened. Bringing him back to usher a new Bond in, or give Craig a worthy exit, would not be a bad idea.

Check back in for more speculation, rumours and nonsense when Bond 25 enters pre-production later this year.

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