Well, this was genuinely unexpected.
After Danny Boyle left Bond 25 a few weeks ago, it felt increasingly likely that whoever was hired to replace him would be something of a journeyman who could get the movie turned around quickly in time for its planned November 2019 release date, with John Hodge’s script also being scrapped and Bond regulars Neal Purvis and Robert Wade returning to pen the latest film as well. All signs pointed to Bond 25 moving towards a safer, more we-can-turn-this-around-quickly-and-efficiently direction.
This… is clearly not what Eon has in mind for the project, because they just hired Cary Fukunaga to take the reins on the film, as announced by the official Bond Twitter account.
Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig announced today that #Bond25 will begin filming at Pinewood Studios on 4 March 2019 under the helm of director, Cary Joji Fukunaga with a worldwide release date of 14 February 2020. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/Oyzt826sXd
— James Bond (@007) September 20, 2018
Holy crap, y’all.
This is an extremely left-field and exciting choice for a number of reasons. For one, Fukunaga is the first American filmmaker to ever be given the reins of this very British franchise. And on top of that, Fukunaga is an incredible chameleonic talent, having the versatility to helm such disparate projects as an adaptation of Jane Eyre to the child soldier film Beasts of No Nation to my personal favorite, the first season of True Detective, which, I mean, watch this incredible long take and tell me he’s not a fascinating choice for Bond:
But even more than all that, what really interests me is that Eon has handed their flagship production to a filmmaker who is notoriously specific about what he wants to do with his films. After all, this is the guy who left It because he couldn’t figure out how to play ball with Warner Bros.1 He’s got a tight production window to work with as filming is now scheduled to begin in March 2019 for a release date in February 2020, because February is now part of blockbuster season after Black Panther took over the world. One imagines this might be Fukunaga, after now having a bit of a reputation for being a stickler for specificity, doing his best to prove he can play ball, but just maybe this is Eon, wanting this film out as soon as possible, giving him an uncharacteristically free hand. One thing’s for sure: You don’t hire Cary Joji Fukunaga to direct your big franchise film and not know on some level what you might be getting as a result. This is all very, very exciting.
Bond 25 hits theaters worldwide on February 14, 2020, and in addition, Fukunaga’s new and totally insane-looking (see the video below) Netflix series Maniac drops tomorrow.