Blade Runner 2049 helmsman Denis Villeneuve has taken his name out of the running for the Bond 25 directing gig due to his commitment to the Dune remake. Now that fans know Daniel Craig will return for one last mission as 007, the biggest question about the upcoming sequel is who will call the shots from behind the camera. Sam Mendes, who made Skyfall and Spectre, has stepped aside, so the onus is on EON Productions to bring in a filmmaker soon, as Bond 25 is already scheduled for a 2019 release.
As the search continues, a few names have popped up on a shortlist, including the Oscar-nominated Villeneuve. The director previously stated working on Bond 25 would be a «deep pleasure» for him, and he was reportedly Craig’s top choice for the job. Given Villeneuve’s stellar track record, many were excited by what he would be able to do with the material, but he is not going to join the MI6 anytime soon.
In an interview with The Playlist, Villeneuve admitted he had conversations about directing the next Bond, but ultimately passed at the opportunity so he could concentrate on Dune.
«The thing is I don’t now about that, but listen. Daniel Craig is a very inspiring actor and I had some contact and the thing is that I’m busy right now doing Dune. But, I will say to have the privilege to work with him it would be a dream. I would love to work with Daniel and a Bond movie for me would be a treat. It’s a matter of timing, I guess.»
Villeneuve doesn’t entirely shut the door on doing Bond 25, but it definitely sounds like Dune is the priority. Villeneuve officially signed on to helm that sci-fi film back in February of this year and called it «the project of my life.» He’s obviously very passionate about this material, so it makes sense why he would opt to make this over Bond. Playing in the grand sandbox of 007 certainly has its appeal and Villeneuve would want to lend his talents to that franchise one day, it’s just Dune is more important to him at this point in time. If Villeneuve left Dune, there’s no guarantee it would be available for him when he’s finished with Bond. The reason he took on the Blade Runner sequel was so he didn’t have to watch someone else mess it up, so he probably has similar feelings about the new take on Dune.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Villeneuve is most likely looking forward to a little break. He’s released one new movie in each of the past five years, culminating that incredible run with 2049, his most ambitious work yet. With Bond 25 aiming for a November 2019 premiere, the producers are hoping to get the ball rolling soon, and jumping headfirst into another massive genre property right now may not have been at the top of Villeneuve’s to-do list. Arguably, it’s for the best he takes the time to recharge his batteries and deliver a strong Dune adaptation. Even though Craig’s tenure is coming to a close, James Bond will be there for the taking whenever Villeneuve chooses, so there’s no rush.