'Skyfall' director talks new Bond film
The film marks the 50th anniversary of the franchise.
When Sam Mendes first signed on to direct "Skyfall," the 23rd film in the James Bond franchise, the crew didn't have a script to work from. Then in 2010, development of the film was “suspended indefinitely" according to an article by The Hollywood Reporter.
Budget issues with MGM Pictures caused the movie to be continuously delayed, but Mendes remained undeterred in his support of the film, according to the article.
Tonight, four years after the last James Bond film, "Quantum of Solace," was released, "Skyfall" will arrive in American theaters after a huge weekend internationally when it was released in Europe.
In a conference call with college reporters, Mendes expressed his excitement in directing a film with a rich backstory like the James Bond series.
“I felt there were a lot of opportunities with some pretty amazing characters,” Mendes says.
For Mendes, the film also represented a first in his career, which has spanned three decades, six films and won him an Academy Award. Mendes says that every actor he offered a role to in the movie accepted, including Academy Award-winners Albert Finney and Javier Bardem.
The plot of the film focuses on Bond attempting to recover a database of NATO agents who are secretly working within terrorist groups worldwide. Mendes says the most exciting scene to film in the entire movie was the initial encounter between Daniel Craig’s Bond and Bardem’s Silva, the villain.
In the past, Mendes has been known as more of a character-driven director winning accolades for films like "American Beauty" and "Road to Perdition." Mendes is also the first director in the 50-year-old franchise's history to be an Oscar winner.
“I was making the movie in a way I’d make any movie,” he says.
Regarding the pressure he felt directing one of cinema’s oldest franchises, Mendes says he learned to push away the white noise of what other people thought James Bond was supposed to be.
“The truth is, wherever you go, you’re going to have somebody stating the opposite opinion to what you think," Mendes says. "So I think the most important thing I discovered was to push away the white noise and try and ask yourself, ‘What do you want to see?’ … And I’ve tried to make a combination of what I wanted adults to see, and also what I felt my inner 12-year-old would have wanted to see.”
The film opens nationwide today, but reviewers are already referring to it as one of the better James Bond movies in recent memory. In his 4-star review of the film, critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times refers to "Skyfall" as “one of the best Bonds ever."
Mendes however, says he is content with himself having created a personal Bond film.
“In a way, it’s a combination of classic, old and new, pushing the genre in a different direction,” Mendes says. “I think that comes mainly from trying to cut out, as much as possible, other people's opinions.”