In the wake of Danny Boyle‘s decision to walk away from Bond 25, studios MGM and Eon are still eyeing their preferred autumn 2019 release date for the 25th instalment of the 007 franchise. That means somebody is going to have their name written on the back of the director’s chair pretty soon, and per Variety, frontrunners have emerged.
The studio has reportedly been hard at work setting up meetings for potential Boyle replacements, and three names have emerged as the frontrunners for the gig.
American Animals director Bart Layton, upcoming Star Trek 4 helmer S.J. Clarkson, and Yann Demange, who was previously rumoured to be in the running thanks to his 2014 film ’71, and whose new film White Boy Rick is getting high praise at the Telluride Film Festival.
The report stresses that more meetings are likely to happen, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that the director must come from those three listed above. Approaches were also apparently made to Edgar Wright and Jean-Marc Vallée, but it’s unclear if they are interested in tackling the project.
However, those are some interesting names listed above. American Animals was an exceptional, underseen spin on the heist genre earlier this year and Layton, having also previously directed the fabulous documentary The Imposter, is a director to watch regardless of whether he snags the Bond gig.
Demange was reportedly already in line before Boyle signed on, and his recent film getting critical buzz might be enough to push him over the top this time. MGM and Eon officials have reportedly set up a screening of White Boy Rick for themselves.
But perhaps the most interesting proposition is Clarkson, who already made history back in April when she was named as the director of Star Trek 4, which will make her the first woman to direct an entry in the sci-fi franchise. She’s also helped build Netflix’s small screen Marvel universe, having directed episodes of Jessica Jones and The Defenders.
The Bond franchise has, unsurprisingly, never had a female director, and hiring Clarkson would be a historic but very welcome move and a positive signal of where the franchise is heading. All three filmmakers listed are relatively new to the scene when it comes to directing features, so the studio’s interest in them perhaps signals a desire to get a fresh face with new ideas on board.
While this is all being sorted out, Bond himself Daniel Craig has signed on to star in Rian Johnson‘s new murder mystery, Knives Out. We’ll wait and see if one of the supposed frontrunners gets the gig, or if another name comes out of nowhere to snag it. But with a late 2019 release date still the aim, the studio better get moving fast.