As your resident James Bond expert here at Fan Fest, I have to say – the lack of traction on Bond 25 has been like water boiling in a pot of pasta. Currently, the next installment of the enduring franchise is languishing in early production hell. Rumors had previously surfaced that Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were tinkering around on script ideas but no writer is attached to the project. Daniel Craig has gone on record indicating that he’d be interested in at least one more go as the debonair spy, only after clarifying his “slashing his wrists” sarcastic comment about returning during the press tour for Spectre. EON and MGM have yet to announce who the new distribution partner will be, as their contract with Sony expired in late 2015. Well, one fact for sure – Sam Mendes, who helmed the last two films, will definitely not return and has moved on.
Someone out in Hollywood is looking to throw his name into the hat – and that would be up-and-comer Chad Stahelski.
Ryan Scott over at Movie Web had the opportunity to sit down with John Wick: Chapter 2 director Chad Stahelski earlier this week, where they covered many facets of the Keanu Reeves-starring actioneer that debuted yesterday. During the conversation, though, Stahelski dropped a nugget worth mentioning in regards to a longtime dream of his;
“I’m interested in projects where you can world create. To jump back into somebody else’s world where it’s already been around for so long would be scary. But if there was one property, that wouldn’t be a bad one to try and invest yourself. Especially because of the ebb and flow of the Bond universe right now, I think the timing is good for a slight reinvention with a different perspective shift. Bond has gone from completely serious to totally cheeky to really fun again, to emotional, to serious, to internal, to external. I would love to give the pitch and if they got my wacky version of it, and it fit, yeah. That’s almost a dream too big.”
Honestly, I wouldn’t be opposed to placing Bond 25’s life with Stahelski if he can devise the right plot. Stahelski could bring a new sense of adventure to the franchise. While Skyfall was arguably the best of the franchise Spectre was a bit of a misstep, with the plot centered on the deeper ties between Bond and Blofeld. The movie did at least wrap up Craig’s four-movie storyline but the original script by John Logan was a fiery mess, leaving little room for Neal Purvis and Robert Wade to successfully save the script without throwing the work out entirely. With Bond’s journey now complete and his edges evened out, a standalone blockbuster involving Bond globe-hopping to thwart SPECTRE may be what the doctor ordered.
Stahelski’s resume is nothing to scoff at either. Prior to becoming a director he served as a stuntman on some of the biggest summer blockbusters of the last two decades. He’s worked on all three Matrix films, V For Vendetta, Serenity, 300, and Live Free or Die Hard, as well as the first two Wolverine movies and all three Expendables movies. He was also the fight coordinator for Jason Statham’s Safe, a very underappreciated 2012 thrill-ride that boasted some of the most kinetic fights on film in the last ten years. With his ability to orchestrate thrills and an impeccable sense of lensing (a stand-out on the scenery of John Wick Chapter 2), his work could help get Bond back on track with a smaller budget and narrow focus.
Time will tell. John Wick: Chapter 2 is set to finish its debut weekend with roughly $29 million, which will certainly prompt Lionsgate/Summit to greenlight the finale of that trilogy. Stahelski is also deep in development in a reboot of Highlander as well. Bond 25 is expected to begin lensing later this year but there’s much work to complete between now and then. For now, we can only hope that some news comes sooner rather than later.