Sam Mendes is definitely not directing the next Bond movie. (Update: Now Deadline says he's back in the mix.) But who is? Well, Variety has an apparent shortlist of directors that Sony Pictures and the 007 producers over at Eon are considering. Each of them will likely have interesting takes on Bond—who will definitely be played for a fourth time by Daniel Craig—but they may not be the version of Bond 24 you're hoping for come a targeted 2016 release. Don't get too excited, as Variety's Justin Kroll reports that no one has been picked yet, and sources say "it could still be some time until a decision is made." But here's the good, the bad, and the maybe of your next MI6 leaders:
Nicolas Winding Refn
Refn is the hot topic of the day since FirstShowing.net thinks they might have gotten a confirmation of sorts since Refn, of Drive fame, said "I love Bond... I love him" when asked about the possibility of directing at Cannes. We think a hold your horses of sorts is definitely necessary though, let's think about what Refn's Bond would look like. It would probably be the most violent Bond ever. Refn's Cannes entry Only God Forgives got booed at Cannes and apparently contains relentless violence. Can you imagine Bond sticking "his hand inside a woman's slashed body"? That's how Vulture's Kyle Buchanan described one bloody instance in Only God Forgives. Perhaps Refn's Bond would be especially foul-mouthed. Perhaps Gosling will be involved. But the Brits would have none of that, right?
Lee's choices of movies have been so fluid that we can easily see him jumping into this one and blowing people away. With his recent success, winning Best Director for the CGI dreamscape that was Life of Pi, perhaps he'll try to make this Bond in 3D? We can hear the whining already.
Yates makes sense for Bond, in kind of a boring way. For one, he's one of the few British directors on this list. Yates is probably best known for directing the last four installments of the Harry Potter series. His Potter movies were entertaining and felt true to the source material, but they certainly weren't as revelatory as say Alfonso Cuarón's entry in that series. His Bond would definitely be Bond, but we're not sure what else.
If Iron Man 3 is any proof of what Black does with a big franchise, we can expect quippy dialogue and a lot of explosions, right? It might work, but Bond is most definitely not Tony Stark.
[Insert closeup joke here.]