Mendes on Skyfall setA showbiz columnist writing in the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper on Friday, January 11, claimed that the James Bond producers have offered Sam Mendes a start date of 2014 if he is willing to direct the next 007 movie, which will be Bond no. 24 in the 50-year franchise.

The Mail newspaper’s showbiz gossip columnist Baz Bamigboye, who has had a fairly good track record in recent times when it comes to breaking 007-related news stories, has apparently been talking to sources in the USA, from where he has been gathering news about the Oscars. Writing under the heading ‘We’ve been expecting you, Mr. Mendes’ in Friday’s edition of the Mail, Bamigboye claimed that the Skyfall director is discussing with Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson the possibility of directing Bond 24.

Mendes had been wavering as to whether he wanted to make another 007 movie, but Bamigboye reported: ‘I’m hearing that Broccoli and Wilson offered to set a start date for Bond 24 in 2014, rather than later this year, as intended’. Bamigboye continued: ‘The 2014 shoot appeals to Mendes because he can devote this year to directing the musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is now in pre-production’.

Previews for the new musical, which is based on the hit children’s story originally penned by Roald Dahl in 1964, start on May 18 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in central London, and opening night is planned for June 25 at the London Palladium. Bamigboye added: ‘The decision to shoot Bond 24 next year also gives the producers more time to find high calibre actors to work alongside Daniel Craig and Ralph Fiennes’.

Meanwhile, in some other possible news relating to Sam Mendes, Deadline.com in the USA reported on January 11 that the Skyfall co-writer John Logan and Sam Mendes are linking up with ‘Showtime’ (the pay cable network behind the recent smash-hit TV series Homeland) to make an as yet untitled TV programme, described as a ‘psychological horror drama’ series, set in the 1800s.

Although this news has actually been reported before, some new detail suggests that both the Skyfall writer and the director will be executive producers on the new drama, along with Pippa Harris, who is Mendes’ partner at Neal Street Productions. Mendes is said to have first pitched the concept for the nineteenth century based horror drama to cable networks in the USA in November, 2012, using a spec written by John Logan.

Logan, who is on board for Bond 24 (having been commissioned to write the screenplay), has been a very busy man recently. Like his colleague Sam Mendes, Logan is not only involved in movie-making but is also passionate about the stage. Logan’s new play, Peter and Alice, which stars Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw (‘M’ and ‘Q’ from Skyfall) begins rehearsals on January 28 and opens at the Noel Coward Theatre in London on March 9.