Bond 25 stirs things up with Cary Fukunaga as new director


Surprise! After a long search dogged by rumors, the Bond franchise chooses American auteur Cary Fukunaga to helm its upcoming 25th installment.

James Bond, meet Fukunaga – Cary Fukunaga.

Early Thursday morning, Eon revealed that its iconic spy franchise will move forward under the supervision of the True Detective director. The announcement arrives after a month-long search, which followed in the wake of previous director Danny Boyle’s sudden departure due to “creative differences.” David Mackenzie, Yann Demange, and Denis Villeneuve were among the directors rumored to be in contention for the gig.

Fukunaga’s appointment is unexpected for multiple reasons. Most notably, the California-born filmmaker will be the first non-Brit ever put in charge of a Bond movie – perhaps an admission on the producers’ part of the need for a change in perspective. He will also be the second man of color to direct a Bond movie, succeeding Die Another Day’s Lee Tamahori, who is of Māori ancestry.

This hiring continues the franchise’s track record, now going on 65 years, of excluding female directors.

Moreover, Fukunaga has firmly established himself as an art-house star. His work, from feature debut Sin Nombre to the first season of HBO’s True Detective, sidelines conventional plotting in favor of mood. Even his adaptation of Jane Eyre doesn’t quite fit neatly into the literary period piece mold, playing up the story’s Gothic undertones. For a while, he was attached to direct the Stephen King adaptation It, but he eventually dropped out and was replaced by Andy Muschietti. (He retained credit as a screenwriter on the project.)

Whether he can preserve his artistic sensibility in a big-budget franchise movie remains to be seen. On one hand, Skyfall has cinematographer Roger Deakins’s fingerprints all over it, so it’s certainly possible for individuals to make Bond their own. However, Boyle’s exodus, allegedly over a disagreement about casting, casts doubt on the series’ capacity for experimentation.

Let’s put it this way: if the movie doesn’t contain at least one extended tracking shot, we’re going to be disappointed.

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Bond 25 begins filming in March 2019 and is scheduled for release on Feb. 14, 2020.