Yesterday, it all ended with a tweet: “Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig today announced that due to creative differences Danny Boyle has decided to no longer direct Bond 25.” And with that simple admission, the possibility that the Bond franchise, already on a creative downward spiral again – is it really twelve years since Casino Royale? – might find a way out of its self-imposed doldrums vanished completely. Say what you like about Boyle and his movies, but even his misfires are still more interesting than the successes of many of his contemporaries. Boyle at the helm of a Bond movie, even one with the increasingly uninterested Craig in the lead role, was an exciting prospect. But “creative differences” have reared their ugly head (again), and the chance to see what the idiosyncratic director would have made of his first proper action movie has fallen by the wayside.
There has been talk of a falling out over the casting of the movie’s chief villain, with Craig putting his foot down over Boyle’s choice of Polish actor Tomasz Kot (Craig apparently also has the final say over the casting of the female lead – what’s that about?). If this is true, then it raises a larger question: why on earth would Eon Productions have hired Boyle in the first place, someone who has made a number of disparate yet successful movies that carry his own unmistakable stamp on them, and ask him to direct their latest mega-budget installment? Why ask someone who has a clear vision in regard to the movies he makes to come on board as a director for hire? And leading on from that, what was Boyle thinking? Here’s something he said in an interview just last year: “I love scale and I love films that will play for everyone, and those are the films I like watching more than anything, so James Cameron – I bow down in front of him, absolutely. But I can’t handle those kind of budgets; I like having a much lower ceiling that you’re constantly battling.”
Perhaps then it’s all for the best. If Eon can’t let a director of Boyle’s calibre make basic decisions relating to casting, then what is he there for? And what hope now for Bond 25?