Sam Mendes, the prestigious film and theater director, told a BBC radio show that the upcoming James Bond adventure Spectre will be his last. “Probably,” the Oscar-winner adds, acknowledging that his statement is an exact echo of one he made two years ago after Skyfall was released and went on to gross more than $1 billion worldwide.
“I said no to the last one and then ended up doing it, and was royally pilloried by all my friends,” he said during a BBC Radio cricket show called Test Match Special. “I think five years for the two movies — it feels like one big experience. It was a fantastic, life-changing thing. But I don’t think I could go down that road again. It’s more a lifestyle choice than a job. You do have to put everything else on hold.”
But for those who might want to get in on the “royal pilloring” of Mendes, his statement in 2013, referring to the job of directing Spectre, was: “It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael [G. Wilson] and Barbara [Broccoli]’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie.”
During the recent radio interview, Mendes also talked about this initial misgivings regarding the casting of Daniel Craig, who he had directed in a supporting role as Paul Newman’s son in 2002’s Road to Perdition. “I was called by Entertainment Weekly, a showbiz publication, and they said, ‘Your old friend and collaborator Daniel Craig has been suggested as Bond, what do you think?’ I said, ‘It’s a terrible idea. He shouldn’t do it.’ Because for me, at the time, I thought that Bond had become the opposite of what Daniel was: Slightly disengaged, jokey, eyebrow raising, you know, a pastiche in a way. I felt Daniel’s reality and his passion and his honesty as an actor would not work. But of course the franchise and the character adapted to work with Daniel. And then I saw Casino Royal and I thought, ‘What a fantastic bit of casting!’”
Spectre, which co-stars Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, David Bautista, and Monica Bellucci, will have its world premiere in London on Oct. 26 and opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 6.
by Joe McGovern