Why the New James Bond Movie Director is a Divisive Choice


The last James Bond film featuring Daniel Craig as agent 007 will almost certainly be directed by Trainspotting legend Danny Boyle. But is this good news for fans of the suave super spy?

On Thursday, Metro revealed that Boyle plans to direct the 25th official James Bond film, which will be Craig’s fifth and final appearance in the role. Though no official announcement has been made, Boyle said “We’ve got an idea, John Hodge, the screenwriter, and I have got this idea, and John is writing it at the moment. And it all depends on how it turns out. It would be foolish of me to give any of it away.”

Hodge is probably most famous for having written the script for the original Trainspotting; Boyle’s iconic film about destitute heroine addicts living in Scotland in the Nineties. The film was based on the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh and helped to catapult both Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller into superstardom. But, despite Boyle’s reputation for being the mastermind behind such a classic film, having him direct a new Bond film might be divisive. Writing for Forbes, Scott Mendelson argues that the best Bond films are often directed by experts of genre-films, not artistic auteurs. The obvious exception to this assertion is, of course, Sam Mendes’s direction of Skyfall, generally considered to be one of the most mature and progressive Bond films of all time.

Roger Moore as James Bond in 1979's 'Moonraker'

United Artists

Boyle is also a tricky choice simply because everything about him directing a Bond film screams of the franchise looking backward, rather than forward. In other words, he’s a filmmaker who was edgy in the Nineties, which isn’t necessarily the perfect fit to help the final Daniel Craig Bond adventure feel fresh.

Then again, maybe that’s the reason why Boyle is perfect for Bond. At this point, the whole concept of the character is hopelessly outdated in the face of a zeitgeist that no longer wants overtly sexist or immortal characters dominating their adventure narratives. Boyle is good at looking male flaws in his films, and elucidating how and why certain men can escape toxic masculinity. Famously, Trainspotting ends with Ewan McGregor’s Renton walking away from a life of crime and despair with a newfound sense of self-respect. Interestingly, the last Mendes-directed Bond film — Spectre — ended on a similar note. Bond throws his gun away, and seems ready to settle down with his true love, Madeline Swan (Lea Seydoux.) So, could Boyle and Hodge’s story be picking up that thread? If so, then it’s possible that Daniel Craig’s last Bond film could be awesome.

Imagine a gritty, realistic James Bond film in which not only is he monogamously married and happy, but that he has to stand up to an old nemesis, and decide, once and for all, what kind of guy he’s really going to be. Some kind of closure for Craig’s James Bond would be great. And if fans are lucky, Danny Boyle could be the guy to shake things up. Or stir.

There is no release date for the 25th Bond film at this time.

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