The director of Skyfall and Spectre addressed a key behind-the-scenes aspect of the Bond franchise
https://www.theguardian.com-Sam Mendes at this year’s Toronto International film festival. Photograph: Canadian Press/Rex/Shutterstock
Sam Mendes, the director of Skyfall and Spectre, has said he thinks it would be “wonderful” for the next James Bond film to be directed by a woman.
Mendes, who is currently promoting Empire of Light, set in a seaside cinema in the early 1980s, told Deadline that he felt the franchise’s future lay in furthering the transformation already hinted at by its executive producer, Barbara Broccoli.
“I don’t envy Barbara having to follow Daniel’s [Craig] five movies,” said Mendes. “He reinvigorated the franchise, but the franchise is so huge that it’s very difficult for a younger actor to step into that.”
He added: “Let me rephrase that. I think that the actor playing Bond is going to evolve, the director has to evolve. I think it would be wonderful to see a woman directing Bond. I think it would be wonderful.”
There has been much debate about the race and gender of any future Bond actor, but little attention has been paid to the same questions behind the scenes.
The most recent film, No Time to Die, was directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, working from a script by Bond regulars Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, which was punched up by Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She became the second woman credited as a co-writer on the series, following Johanna Harwood’s work on Dr No.
Mendes’s Bond films – Skyfall in 2012 and Spectre in 2015 – were two of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful in the franchise. Craig originally quit the series following Mendes’s exit, but was coaxed back for a final instalment. After leaving for good, he said he felt the role should continue to be played by a man.
“There should simply be better parts for women and actors of colour. Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?”
Broccoli echoed the same sentiment, saying: “I believe in making characters for women, and not just having women play men’s roles. I don’t think there are enough great roles for women, and it’s very important to me that we make movies for women about women. Bond should be British, so British can be any [ethnicity or race].”
Actors rumoured to be in the running for the role include Tom Hardy, Idris Elba and Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page. But, speaking in June, Broccoli said casting was still some way off.
“Nobody’s in the running,” she said. “We’re working out where to go with him, we’re talking that through. There isn’t a script and we can’t come up with one until we decide how we’re going to approach the next film because, really, it’s a reinvention of Bond. We’re reinventing who he is and that takes time. I’d say that filming is at least two years away.”