Cary Fukunaga For 007
From True Detective to James Bond
The last James Bond film, Spectre, released in 2015 to middling reviews and a strong, if slightly underwhelming, box office performance. Director Sam Mendes, returning from 2011‘s smash-hit Skyfall, seemed to have run out of ideas for his follow-up, yet felt unwilling to invest in the joyous revelry of the classic 007 tropes. As adored as Skyfall is in some parts of the fandom, it appeared to resent its status as a James Bond film. Spectre, on the other hand, was at its best when it dove head-first into the jolly insanity of 007‘s audacious aesthetics, but faltered when it held itself back from truly enjoying itself.
Hopefully, the next film won’t have the same problem. Initially, Danny Boyle had been hired to take over as director for Bond 25, but he dropped out, citing the age-old mantra, “creative differences.” It didn’t take long for EON productions to find a replacement, and hopefully, this one will stick.
Cary Fukunaga is best known for his work on the first season of HBO‘s critically-acclaimed True Detective, though he has multiple film credits to his name, including Sin Nombre, Beasts of No Nation, and the 2012 adaptation of Jane Eyre. His most recent project is Manaic, Netflix’s black comedy series starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill.
Is Fukunaga a good fit for 007? We hope so. Above any stylish trappings or director trademark, Fukunaga‘s work has been defined by, above all else, quality. Sin Nombre is a harrowing and human tale of a Honduran immigrant trying to make her way to the United States; Jane Eyre is a timeless romantic drama with some uncomfortably gothic elements, Beasts of No Nation is a violent war movie about children forced into combat, and Maniac bounces between tones with the tap-dancing grace of a seasoned performer. Hopefully, he will be adaptable to a James Bond film which doesn’t try to imitate the deadly-serious humorlessness of the two most recent outings, and can maybe bring back a bit of the adventurous spirit and devil-may-care irreverence for which the series had long been known.
Of course, the elephant in the room is the question of whether or not Fukunaga will make it to the finish line. As mentioned before, Danny Boyle dropped out of Bond 25, and if the producers try to push Fukunaga around, he’s never been one to not push back. He famously dropped out of directing the recent adaptation of Stephen King‘s novel, It, due to creative differences with the studio. In a New York Times interview, he said, “The studio just kind of pulled the plug when they felt like I was going to be too difficult.” However, the impression we get on this decision is that Fukunaga will do his best to fulfill EON’s vision of the next James Bond movie, proving he can play nice in a studio tent pole environment, so that he will eventually get the chance to make a big-budget film that is completely his. If all goes according to plan, we’ll eventually get Fukunaga‘s magnum opus, but before that, we’ll get one hell of a 007 adventure.
Bond 25 is currently scheduled for February 14, 2020, and will star Daniel Craig as the world’s most famous secret agent.