As many Bond fans know, the dramatic news emerged on March 6 that the Oscar-winning director of Skyfall had taken what he called the ‘difficult’ decision not to take on the next 007 adventure, and this was confirmed shortly afterwards by Eon Productions.
Mendes also confirmed his decision at the recent Jameson Empire movie awards in London, where Skyfall triumphed, saying that he felt he needed to concentrate on his upcoming theatre and other projects, such as his musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.
During the course of an article on the latter production on Friday, March 29, in the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, Baz Bamigboye, the showbiz columnist for the Mail, revealed that he had met Mendes and had asked him directly about his decision over Bond 24. Up until a few weeks ago, Bamigboye had been claiming in his column that Mendes was ’75 per cent’ of the way towards saying yes to the next 007 movie. After the announcement in the negative from Mendes, Bamigboye then went noticeably quiet.
But now, according to the new story by the Mail columnist, Mendes has added further insight into his thinking on the Bond decision. Mendes told Bamigboye that one of the reasons he stepped aside from making the next Bond movie is because of the workload on the new musical. Mendes said: ‘Here’s the thing: you need someone now on that movie, and I’ve got Charlie. And I’ve got Lear at the National Theatre. And I know now, having made Skyfall, that a Bond film needs 100 per cent commitment from the director from the word go’.
Mendes continued: ‘You can’t be doing midnight meetings after you’ve worked all day on a huge West End show. I thought you could do it, but I sat down and said: “This is crazy, and I have to walk away”‘. However, Bamigboye revealed that Mendes also told him that he was not ruling out doing a Bond film in the future: ‘Who knows? We may decide to get back together for another Bond another time’, said Mendes.
The new production of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is due to officially open in June, 2013, and, so far, nearly £4 million worth of seats have been sold. Mendes described his new version to the Daily Mail as a ‘completely original incarnation of Dahl’s story’.
Meanwhile, the same newspaper has confirmed that Bond actor Daniel Craig will himself be taking to the stage in Broadway, in New York, opposite his wife Rachel Weisz, in a new theatre production of the famous 1978 Harold Pinter play Betrayal. After rehearsals in August, the play will open in October, 2013, and will run for roughly 14 weeks. Craig will then apparently begin preparing for pre-production on Bond 24.