In a recent interview with Playboy, Christopher Nolan, the lauded director of the “Dark Knight” trilogy, and “Dunkirk” which releases July 21, revealed that he is open to directing a James Bond film in the future.
Here’s what he said:
“A Bond movie, definitely, I’ve spoken to the producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson over the years. I deeply love the character, and I’m always excited to see what they do with it. Maybe one day that would work out. You’d have to be needed, if you know what I mean. It has to need reinvention; it has to need you. And they’re getting along very well.”
While Nolan said he would only step in to direct the Bond franchise if needed, it turns out he may be needed after all. Bond’s most recent director Sam Mendes, who directed both “Skyfall” and “Spectre,” is planning on stepping down from directing any additional Bond films in the future.
“It was an incredible adventure, I loved every second of it. But I think it’s time for somebody else,” Mendes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
With Mendes presumably moving on to other projects, a void is left to be filled, and it feels more likely than ever that Nolan could be the one to fill it. This wouldn’t be the first time Nolan has taken on a big film franchise. Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, part of the Batman franchise, succeeded at producing some of the most popular, and highest-grossing films of all time.
Nolan seems to have been just mulling over the idea of directing a Bond film in his Playboy interview, but this made us wonder what a Nolan-directed Bond film might look like, should the director ever decide to sit at the helm of the massive 25-film franchise.
Taking into consideration the common themes and style choices Nolan has employed in his past films, this is what we believe we could expect to see in a Nolan-directed Bond film.
Bond could become more of an ‘anti-hero.’
James Bond has always been the epitome of style, poise, class, and a sort of understated masculine strength. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t impressed by Bond’s elegant version of heroism, but that could all change should Nolan take over. Nolan is famous for blurring the lines between hero and anti-hero. In both “Memento” and “The Dark Knight,” Nolan explores the concept of heroism and alludes to the notion that no one is able to cleanly separate themselves completely from good or evil.
“Memento,” the film that made Nolan a director to watch, revolves solely around this theme of moral ambiguity. In “Memento,” the protagonist Leonard Shelby doggedly fights his short-term memory loss to find his wife’s killer. He appears to be the ‘good guy,’ up until the end of the film when he discovers that he is the one who has killed his wife.
Daniel Craig, who has played Bond in the four most recent films, originally began to push Bond in the direction of the anti-hero when he made his debut in “Casino Royale,” playing a colder Bond, less enamored with his lavish lifestyle (Craig’s Bond doesn’t care whether or not his martini is shaken or stirred). It’s more than plausible that Nolan would pick up where Craig has left off, and continue to reveal an even darker side of the beloved, dashing British spy, while playing with the theme of moral ambiguity that he seems to favor.
We could learn more about Bond’s past.
Nolan is prone to telling stories out of sequence: “Memento,” “Interstellar,” and “Inception” are all primary examples of this. Nolan’s love of a nonlinear story could provide Bond fans with more insight into the elusive character’s past.
So little is known about Bond’s past, other than the small tid-bits of information provided in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, and Bond films over the years. In “Skyfall” we get a bigger glimpse into Bond’s past when he brings M to his childhood home in the highlands, Skyfall Lodge (which Bond ultimately ends up blowing up).
Perhaps Nolan will employ a bit of time-traveling to more intimately explore the character’s past, either continuing to dig deeper into Skyfall Lodge’s history, or what it was like when Bond was orphaned at 11 years old, or maybe even spotlight Bond’s time served in the British Navy.
We could have more insight into Bond’s psyche.
Bond is a man of very few words and reveals very little about himself. Bond’s reserved nature has been a major hallmark of his character since the start of the Bond franchise. Bond has always emotionally detached himself from everyone he interacts with, one might assume this is a form of self-preservation due to the nature of his work, but no one knows why definitively.
Nolan, who has a penchant for creating psychologically troubled characters (e.g., Lenny Shelby, Bruce Wayne, the Joker, etc.) could delve deeper into Bond’s psyche, and possibly endow him with a more psychologically troubled personality.
In “Skyfall,” the cyber-terrorist Raoul Silva (played by Javier Bardem), reveals Bond’s private debriefing results to him (from his MI6 evaluation that happens at the beginning of the film), telling him that it appears he has an addiction problem, as well as a problem with authority due to childhood trauma. Additionally, we know that Bond has been tortured numerous times, witnessed countless deaths (including that of his bride who was murdered shortly after their wedding in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”), so maybe Nolan won’t impose more trauma upon Bond, just unpack the trauma we already know is there.