Duncan Jones is a man who’s had his fair share of suitors. The one-time commercials director made one of the most exciting directorial debuts in recent memory with 2009’s “Moon,” and followed it up with last year’s hugely enjoyable sci-fi thriller “Source Code,” a film that managed to be a modest little hit ($150 million worldwide on a $30 million budget). And as such, he’s since been courted for some pretty major Hollywood projects, taking meetings to direct “Man Of Steel,” “The Wolverine“ and “The Hunger Games” sequel “Catching Fire,” but ultimately not taking any of them. Indeed, things have been quiet on the Jones front: he may have been developing passion project “Mute” and a secret sci-fi project inspired by “Blade Runner,” but all we’ve seen from him in the last year was a commercial for a bank.
But now there’s firm word on what Jones’ next film will be, and it’s not only a surprise, it’s also a new kind of picture for the director. Jones’ fan-site Man Made Movies has a press release that reveals that the director is attached to direct a biopic of Ian Fleming, the wartime intelligence officer who would later create the most famous spy in fiction, James Bond, with his 1953 novel “Casino Royale,” and across thirteen subsequent books. The currently untitled film is based on Andrew Lycett‘s biography “Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond,” and will be a ‘period action film’ that shows that Fleming’s adventures weren’t that far away from those of Bond.
Jones says in the press release that “Fleming lived through one of the most perilous periods in world history, in a position that allowed him a unique vantage point of all the players, all the stakes. He witnesses true heroism first-hand. And he saw the evil men could do. Then, when the war ended, he went off to write fiction. The essential question for me is; where did Ian Fleming end and Bond begin?” It’s unclear from the release who’s writing the script, but a little digging reveals it’s by Matt Brown (who also penned a script about bodyguard Two-Gun Cohen for Doug Liman), and the project has the full approval of the Ian Fleming Estate. K5 Films (the upcoming Gaspar Noe pic “The Golden Suicides“) are producing along with PalmStar Media (“Celeste and Jesse Forever“), Jim Young‘s Animus Films (“The Words“) and Jones’ Liberty Films.
There have been other attempts to bring Fleming’s life to the screen before now, with one take set up at Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Appian Way production company, but the idea of Jones stepping away from sci-fi for the first time for a based-in-fact wartime espionage thriller is enough to convince us that this is likely to be the definitive take. The involvement of Fleming’s estate does make us a little concerned that it could turn out to be a hagiography, but we trust the director not to pull his punches. Casting is currently underway (Michael Fassbender, anyone?) and shooting is planned to begin before the year is out.