The Bond 25 director search has taken yet another unexpected turn. While the folks at EON and MGM took their time in settling on a filmmaker to take the helm, considering directors like Denis Villeneuve and David Mackenzie, the surprise announcement came earlier this year that Danny Boyle would be directing Bond 25 based on an original story he hatched with Trainspotting 2 writer John Hodge. But a few months before filming was about to begin, Boyle departed the project over creative differences—reportedly to do with his and Hodge’s script and the casting of the villain.
In the wake of Boyle’s exit, names like Edgar Wright and Jean-Marc Vallee surfaced as contenders to take over, then a couple weeks ago it was reported that Yann Demange (White Boy Rick) and S.J. Clarkson (Jessica Jones) were among the frontrunners to take over. As it turns out, the Bond 25 producers had someone entirely different—and wildly exciting—in mind: Cary Joji Fukunaga.
Indeed, it was officially announced today that the director of True Detective Season 1, films like Jane Eyre and Beasts of No Nation, as well as the upcoming Netflix limited series Maniac, will be taking the helm of Bond 25. This marks the first time in the franchise’s history that an American will be at the helm of a Bond movie.
Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson had this to say about Fukunaga coming onboard:
“We are delighted to be working with Cary. His versatility and innovation make him an excellent choice for our next James Bond adventure,”
Filming will now begin at Pinewood Studios in London on March 4, 2019, and the producers announced a new Bond 25 release date: February 14, 2020. Yes indeed, Cary Fukunaga’s Bond movie will hit theaters on Valentine’s Day.
Fukuanga is an exciting choice to take the helm, but given his history it’s probably prudent to not get our hopes up just yet. Fukunaga co-wrote and was set to direct IT for Warner Bros. before departing that project over creative differences. He was also set to direct the TNT limited series The Alienist, but stepped back over scheduling issues. Fukunaga isn’t the kind of filmmaker who’s happy to say “yes” to everything—he’s got very strong ideas and a very clear vision. That makes him an intriguing choice to take over Bond, but with a franchise as huge as this, there’s always that chance that things don’t work out as they get closer to filming—especially in the wake of Boyle’s exit.
But as of right now, Cary Fukunaga is officially directing Bond 25 with Daniel Craig returning for his possible last go-around as the title character. Boyle and Hodge’s script has reportedly been tossed, but there are conflicting reports over whether the producers are starting from scratch or if they’re returning to a previous outline penned by longtime Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. We’ll no doubt learn more soon, but in the interim you can check out Fukunaga’s latest project Maniac on Netflix starting September 21st (and read our piece on how its creation was influenced by Netflix’s data here). How about that timing?