The “Empire of Light” director previously helmed Bond installments “Spectre” and “Skyfall,” and told Deadline that it’s about time a female filmmaker took over the franchise. Producer Barbara Broccoli previously shut down the concept of a woman Bond and said that Bond will “stay as a male” in the next iteration of the franchise.
“I don’t envy Barbara having to follow Daniel’s [Craig] five movies,” Mendes admitted. “He reinvigorated the franchise, but the franchise is so huge that it’s very difficult for a younger actor to step into that.”
He clarified, “Let me rephrase that: I think that the actor playing Bond is going to evolve, the director has to evolve. I think it would be wonderful to see a woman directing Bond. I think it would be wonderful.”
Cary Joji Fukunaga directed Craig’s final appearance as Bond in 2021’s “No Time to Die,” which also introduced Lashana Lynch as a female 007 agent. Actor Craig, who portrayed Bond for 15 years starting with 2006’s “Casino Royale,” previously weighed in on the gendered casting debate.
“There should simply be better parts for women and actors of color,” Craig said last year. “Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?”
Producer Broccoli added, “He’s a male character. He was written as a male, and I think he’ll probably stay as a male. And that’s fine. We don’t have to turn male characters into women. Let’s just create more female characters and make the story fit those female characters.”
She later similarly echoed, “I believe in making characters for women and not just having women play men’s roles. I don’t think there are enough great roles for women, and it’s very important to me that we make movies for women about women. He should be British, so British can be any [ethnicity or race].”
Fan favorite Idris Elba recently shut down any discussions of 007 casting, saying he’s “not that guy” and the role is not a “goal” of his career.
The upcoming reinvented Bond film is expected to be roughly two years away and understandably which actor is playing the role of the famed MI6 agent is a “big decision” for the direction of the franchise, now owned by Amazon since the conglomerate purchased MGM.
“It’s not just casting a role. It’s about a whole rethink about where we’re going,” Broccoli said, sharing that Elba has been “part of the conversation” for years prior.
She added, “We’re working out where to go with [Bond], we’re talking that through. There isn’t a script, and we can’t come up with one until we decide how we’re going to approach the next film because, really, it’s a reinvention of Bond. We’re reinventing who he is, and that takes time.”