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Spectre director Sam Mendes confirms he is done with 007 and explains why

11.09.2015

SPECTRE opened to $73 million this weekend and while the reviews were less stellar than SKYFALL, the reunion of Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes still managed to entertain audiences and deliver a cinematic experience on par with the best the franchise has to offer. Still, the toll making such a massive blockbuster has been very apparent with Craig repeatedly hinting that he is done with the franchise.

Mendes has also said he would not return to helm a third Bond film and in an interview with Deadline, he explained why.

The pronouncements after the last movie were taken seriously and I then had to undo them when I agreed to make this movie. Without giving too much away, the difference here for me is, this movie draws together all four of Daniel’s movies into one final story, and he completes a journey. That wasn’t the case last time. There is a sense of completeness that wasn’t there at the end of Skyfall, and that’s what makes this feel different. It feels like there’s a rightness to it, that I have finished a journey. I’m not talking about Daniel here because Daniel may absolutely turn around six months’ time and feel his energy renewed. Or he might say just the opposite. If he is as sensible as I think he is, he needs to go away and have some time to think and do another job that’s completely different, which he’s already doing with Othello.

Sam Mendes also said that Daniel Craig saying he is done with the role are obviously coming on the heels of an arduous and physically exacting production schedule. Mendes also said that even if Craig said he would only return if he was behind the camera it may not convince him to return.

What is important is, not doing it is not a negative. It’s not me saying, “I don’t want to do this.” What it would be is me saying, “I really want to do this story.” There are other stories to tell. I’ve never felt shy of shifting genres, shifting scales, moving to a movie that’s completely unlike the one I’d done before. Until I did these two, every movie I directed was the absolutely polar opposite of the one before it. That was not random; it is deliberate attempt to not repeat myself, and to challenge myself with different stylistic challenges. That is how it is with the filmmakers I most admire, like Ang Lee and Billy Wilder. Look at Wilder, for God’s sake. Double Indemnity and Some Like it Hot and The Apartment. Ang can do Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Ice Storm, The Hulk, Life Of Pi and Brokeback Mountain. What a career! He has experimented in 3D, and 2D, and digital. It seems to me that there are some filmmakers who need to feel a new challenge with each film, and some who essentially make the same film or operate the same style with different subject matter. They’re equally valid.

Mendes ranks as only one of a handful of directors who have helmed multiple James Bond movies. If this were the last film for both Craig and Mendes, it would not be surprising as the movie does tie together several plot elements, but there has long been a rumor that Daniel Craig's contract was for five films. Producer Michael G Wilson confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that while Craig does not have a contract for a fifth 007 film, he is confident they will have him returning for one more. Wilson also cited Mendes' change of heart, but from the sounds of it he is not going to change his mind again. Don't expect to hear any confirmation on Craig's return or departure until sometime next year. For now, SPECTRE is now playing everywhere.

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