Cary Fukunaga Directing the Next James Bond Is a Big Surprise

The director has a history of exiting studio movies over creative differences. Hopefully, this won't lead to another Danny Boyle situation.

Daniel Craig James Bond
Sony Pictures

After weeks of speculation, Bond 25 has finally found a new captain to steer the ship. Cary Fukunaga, the director behind the first season of True Detective and the Netflix movie Beasts of No Nation, has been confirmed as Danny Boyle‘s replacement for the espionage actioner. We did not see this one coming.

The news of the next James Bond movie helmer came courtesy of the franchise’s official Twitter account. Check out the announcement below:

The big news concludes with a statement from the producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, who seem pretty happy with their decision. “We are delighted to be working with Cary,” they tweeted. “His versatility and innovation make him an excellent choice for our next James Bond adventure.”

Since Boyle’s departure over creative differences, many believed that the series was on shaky ground. Several directors were reportedly being lined up for the job — including Edgar Wright, David Mackenzie, Yann Demange, and Jean-Marc Vallee — but Fukunaga’s name wasn’t mentioned among the strong contenders. That’s why this news is such a surprise. And it really is a big surprise.

Fukunaga has his own history of exiting big tentpole projects for the same reason Boyle left Bond 25. He gave up the reins to last year’s hit Stephen King adaptation of IT because the studio didn’t let him unleash his artistic vision. That’s why the Bond 25 appointment is so out of the blue. When you consider the history of this troubled production coupled with Fukunaga’s previous experiences with uncooperative studios, it doesn’t make sense on paper.

It’s not as if Bond 25 is looking for fresh, bolder visionaries either. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade — who have written every Bond movie since The World Is Not Enough — were re-hired recently to pen the upcoming installment. Their initial treatment was replaced by Boyle and John Hodge’s version, so it’s clear the producers are opting for familiarity and in-house vision here instead of an outsider’s perspective.

Fukunaga has a reputation for being difficult to work with. But only because he’s an artist with his own ideas for what a project should be. If Bond 25‘s powers that be don’t allow him some creative leeway, they could be in for another fallout. Open collaboration is essential here. Cary Fukunaga’s James Bond is an enticing prospect. A James Bond with the acclaimed talent serving as nothing more than a glorified director-for-hire just feels like a step down (at least creatively) for the guy who made True Detective.

Of course, the opportunity to direct Bond 25 is a dream come true for most directors. I’m sure Fukunaga was aware of what he was stepping into when he took the job. He’s a smart guy and knows what he’s up against with a film of this magnitude. This is also the type of movie that will take his career to the next level. The clout he’ll garner afterward will help him make the movies he wants to make going forward — on his terms.

At the end of the day, though, I’m interested to see this movie more than ever now. The talent involved across the board is impressive. If they can all see eye to eye, then Bond’s 25th adventure could be one of his best.

Filming for Bond 25 will begin in March 2019. The film will be released worldwide on February 14, 2020.

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