Why is Danny Boyle no longer directing Bond 25?

We recently learned Danny Boyle is leaving Bond 25, but why?

Rolling Stone has announced that Danny Boyle is no longer directing Bond 25. The reason given was “creative differences,” a reason so common that I believe publicists have a press release template with those words embedded. We don’t know the exact reason, because the original announcement didn’t give one.

Will the film still be able to make either the October 25 release date Rolling Stone reports, or will the movie be pushed back to November 8? We’re patiently waiting for more details!

Speculation corner

Previously, Boyle was asking EON to work around his schedule so he could release a project with Richard Curtis. This project is still untitled, although it’s believed to be a period musical set in either the 60’s or the 70’s. It’s undeniable that between this musical and the recent Trust miniseries, Boyle was a busy man before Bond 25. His other time commitments could have interfered.

When you think of Danny Boyle, what films come to mind? For me, I think of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire. Maybe 28 Days Later as well.

What is the common denominator these films have? It’s not International espionage. It’s a fast-paced, high energy editing style and shots so intimate it sometimes feels like you’ve accidentally walked into a situation unfolding.

Also, his take on anything from rags to riches stories and zombie movies is very rooted in a grimy, ground level sensibility. In other words, his style and choice of subject matter don’t make him an obvious fit for a world of international glamour and super spies.

It’s possible the producers asked him to alter his style to be closer to what James Bond films have done in the past. However, principal photography hasn’t begun, so this isn’t very likely. Also, the fact that EON productions were willing to let Roger Deakins make Skyfall as stylish as it is, argues against that

PASADENA, CA – JANUARY 05: Executive Producer/Director Danny Boyle of the television show TRUST speaks onstage during the FOX/FX portion of the 2018 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 5, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Did Boyle clash with the producers?

One fact is that Danny Boyle is a director who has often chosen to work at smaller budget levels. This has afforded Boyle a great deal of creative freedom. He’s used to calling a great deal of the shots on his movies, and not making many compromises. That kind of personality can clash with the more producer driven mega-franchise business unless auteur and the producers are on the same.

Maybe Boyle disagreed with producer Barbara Broccoli or Daniel Craig about something? Craig is personal friends with Barbara Broccoli. Because of this, he’s had a great deal of creative influence over his version of Bond, and where it has gone.

He is the only James Bond star to be credited as a co-producer to date (for Spectre). So if he disagreed with Boyle, he has the influence as both star and previous business partner to muscle Boyle out.

Since principal photography hasn’t begun yet, there are only 3 areas Boyle and EON could have fallen out over. The script, casting, and film locations

I remember that one of Boyle’s conditions to come on was that scriptwriter John Hodge would write the script instead of the Pervis and Wade team. Maybe Hodge butted heads with Pervis and Wade? It’s possible Boyle or the screenwriter had a vision for where to take Bond that EON didn’t like. The opposite could also be true.

Casting is also very possible. Recently the Telegraph reported that Boyle quit because of a debate over who is playing the main villain.  It wouldn’t be the first time the actor playing Bond disagreed with casting. Pierce Brosnan wanted Monica Bellucci to be Paris Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies, but producers went with Teri Hatcher instead. If this is true, then it’s also an example of how much behind the scenes power Craig exerts on the Bond franchise.

The hunt for a Bond director restarts

EON productions are in an awkward position. They spent what seems like a year searching for a director. They were turned down by Patrick McGuigan, Christopher Nolan, Denis Villeneuve. Martin Campbell has mentioned he’s only interested in directing a third James Bond if he’s working with a different Bond.

Gary Collinson at Flickeringmyth has said that Yann Demange has a strong chance of taking over for Boyle at this point. He was someone EON talked to before, so this idea has some credibility.

While Demange isn’t a high profile director, he has a lot of experience in British TV. His debut film ’71 got strong reviews, and he has a new film starring Matthew McConaughey opening at the Toronto International Film Festival. I’ve even written before about why the Bond franchise getting a tv director is not something to fear. This is the perfect chance to make it happen.

It’s my personal feeling that at this point, EON productions should consider shooting for a 2020 release date instead of a 2019 one. Scott Mendolson of Forbes wrote about why Disney’s 2019 slate and Wonder Woman 1984 is probably going to leave slim pickings for every other major studio. I feel he’s on to something here.

The news of the Walt Disney merger with 20th Century Fox’s entertainment division makes his prediction seem more prophetic. If he is right, it would be smart for EON and Sony to wait until 2020. That way, they can take the time to make Bond 25 as good a send-off for Daniel Craig as they can.

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