Mendes on Skyfall setDramatic rumours have emerged that Sam Mendes may return as the director on the next James Bond movie after all, and that the EON producers have re-opened negotiations with the award-winning director of Skyfall.

As Bond fans know, Mendes announced a few weeks ago that he would not be helming Bond 24, as he had major theatre commitments in the pipeline, including the imminent West End production of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. The Bond producers then set about searching for another director. According to reports, names they have spoken to have included Ang Lee, Shane Black, Tom Hooper, David Yates, Nicholas Winding Refn, and (as the JBIFC recently reported) Batman director Christopher Nolan.

However, the ‘Den of Geek’ website, plus a number of other sources, have carried reports in the last 24 hours that Mendes may now have had a sensational change of heart, as the studios have agreed that the Bond 24 schedule can be put back to late 2014.

If true, this is a major piece of news. Indeed, the London Evening Standard (May 29) has even carried the rumour on it’s front page. According to the Standard‘s showbiz correspondent, Sony Pictures and MGM were so keen to have the 47-year old director back they have agreed to delay the start of Bond 24 until later next year. A source close to Mendes apparently told the Standard: ‘The Bond producers initially wanted him to start on the next film straightaway. But he already had commitments with Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Lear at the National Theatre. Sam didn’t think it would be fair on either if he was working on theatre projects during the day and then pre-production for Bond at night’.

The un-named source continued: ‘Now production has been delayed until next year, Sam can fulfil his obligations to both theatre projects and then start work on Bond later in 2014. No deal has been signed yet, but talks have reopened with producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and he is the man they want’.

Skyfall, directed by Mendes, made an estimated £732 million at the global box office, making it the most commercially successful 007 movie in the history of the 50-year old franchise, as well as the highest-grossing film in Britain. If negotiations with Mendes do prove successful, there will undoubtedly be a huge sigh of relief on the part of both EON and MGM.