Times like these call to mind Timon from The Lion King crying out “What’s going on here?!” in frustrated confusion as Simba and Nala fight and reunite. With today’s conflicting news reports regarding the state of the 23rd installment in the big-screen James Bond series, Nathan Lane’s voice looking for answers seems the only appropriate reaction. Both Total Film and IndieWire reported earlier today that Daniel Craig’s latest fisticuffs as the new Bond were on indefinite hold due to the MGM sale. It was also noted that MGM’s shake-up would affect The Hobbit as well. Both news outlets had a line from Bond producer Michael Wilson: “Our timeline's a little up in the air what with the situation at MGM, so we have to be flexible. We just don't know enough about the situation to comment, but we know it's uncertain.”
However, the Heat Vision blog at The Hollywood Reporter suddenly knows something producer Michael Wilson doesn’t know: American Beauty director and Kate Winslet’s husband, Sam Mendes, is in talks to direct the film, which is now being fast-tracked for a 2011 release. We don’t know what kind of grapevine The Hollywood Reporter and Michael Wilson listen to, but someone is getting fed some fake plastic grapes. The question is, which source has the facts?
As for Mendes, whose latest was the summer-indie-that-could Away We Go, his attempts at action with Road To Perdition and Jarhead were despairingly grim depictions of violence with a conscience. The Bond re-boot beginning with Casino Royale took a sharp tonal shift toward gritty realism with explorations of Bond’s morality and emotions, and left behind the campy humor that furnished the Austin Powers series. Mendes seems just the right director to maintain that new tone, though it's questionable whether he can inject the necessary adrenaline-rush fun into the obligatory car chases, shootouts, and hot women. For instance, in the free-running stunt from Casino Royale:
Of course, it's also questionable whether he'll be directing at all; time will tell which of these absolutely, positively true rumors actually holds up.