It’s official. Following Danny Boyle’s departure from the franchise, James Bond has a new director.
Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig announced today that #Bond25 will begin filming at Pinewood Studios on 4 March 2019 under the helm of director, Cary Joji Fukunaga with a worldwide release date of 14 February 2020. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/Oyzt826sXd
— James Bond (@007) September 20, 2018
Date shift aside (looks like we all know where we’re taking our partners for Valentine’s Day next year) it’s great news. Cary Fukunaga is basically the perfect choice for Bond – with one major caveat.
But we’ll get to that, let’s keep things positive for now – because there’s plenty of reasons to be happy with Eon’s choice.
1. He can create intense worlds
One underrated quality required by Bond directors is the ability to take the same old elements, and build a brand new universe from them. Each Bond movie is essentially a reinvention, with some working better than others.
Yes, there’s clear continuity, but the franchise has survived because the Broccolis keep it feeling fresh by collaborating with directors to bring new perspectives into the same old tropes.
Fukunaga is brilliant at this – with his season of True Detective instantly atmospheric, mixing surreal elements with intense realism to create an environment that felt like a distinct and new take on a old genre, aka the buddy cop noir.
If he can work the same magic on a cold war spy series, Bond 25 could be very special.
2. He has style
A key to Fukunaga’s ability to world-build is that he’s a director with style and vision. He was brave enough to argue the case for a six-minute take in one of True Detective’s key episodes – a moment which is now considered one of the main highlights of the show.
The reason HBO might have been reticent to sign-off on the sequence is that, in the hands of a lesser director, it might have felt showy, taking viewers out of the scene. But in Fukunaga’s hands it added to the intensity significantly. We’d love to see the same kind of stylistic flourish in the next Bond film.
But it needs to have purpose. “There’s nothing I find more lazy than unmotivated camerawork just to make things look interesting,” the director has said.
3. He can create intense villains with depth
Cary Fukunaga has frequently demonstrated that he enjoys walking on the dark side of the street. “It’s because of their darker qualities that all my villains have some magical charm, bad-guy charisma,” says Fukunaga. “It’s the reason they attract people like they do.”
Following Christoph Waltz’s underwhelming Blofeld turn in Spectre (a film that also managed to waste Dave Bautista), Bond is in pretty desperate need of a decent villain and, as anyone who’s seen Beasts Of No Nation will tell you, that’s one of Fukunaga’s main strengths.
4. He takes risks
Fukunaga is a brave director, refusing to rely on the traditional, safe, methods of making movies. “I don’t storyboard, and I don’t really shot list. I let the shots be determined by how the actors and I figure out the blocking in a scene, and then from there, we cover it,” he said.
That might not sound radical, but it really is – and it’s completely at odds with how Bond works (those set-pieces require diligent advance planning), so we could be about to see a completely different take on 007.
5. He’s got a perspective on English society
Combine Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre with True Detective and Beasts Of No Nation and you’ve essentially got a Bond film. And his Eyre experience is especially interesting – that’s an iconic English text that’s been adapted nearly thirty times (if you include the telly stuff) and he managed to make it feel new and exciting. So, Bond 25 should be a breeze – as long as he gets to make it.
Because, we’re sorry to report, there will probably be trouble in paradise once Fukunaga really gets going, because…
He has a reputation for being difficult
This is the major issue that could mean Fukunaga doesn’t end up making Bond, because if the Broccolis found it hard to control Danny Boyle, they ain’t seen nothing yet.
And Fukunaga isn’t afraid to leave a project if he feels things aren’t going his way, blaming Warner Brothers for the fact he walked from IT: Chapter One two weeks before filming was set to begin. “I think it was fear on their part, that they couldn’t control me,” he said about the situation.
Still, Fukunaga thinks Warner Brothers were wrong. “I would have been a total collaborator. That was the kind of ridiculous part. It was just more a perception. I have never seen a note and been like, ‘f**k you guys.’ No way. It’s always been a conversation.”
Which sounds positive to us. But, throw in the fact that when the director left True Detective, the blood was rumoured to be so bad the showrunners created a ‘difficult director’ character and hired an actor who resembled Fukunaga to play him, and you’ve got an interesting recipe for Bond 25.
On that True Detective character, “I have friends on the crew who told me about it,” is basically all Fukunaga had to say on that subject.
Still, we really hope the Broccolis and Daniel Craig are able to work with Fukunaga, because he really does have the potential to create the greatest instalment of the Bond series yet – as long as he stays onboard the project.