He's lost Judi Dench's M, and now James Bond will have to deal with the loss of his strong-willed and legendary real world director, too.
Sam Mendes, who helped revive the 007 franchise with last November's Skyfall, has opted out of directing a second Bond film.
“It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie," he told Empire Magazine, referring to Michael and Barbara Broccoli, the franchise's executive producers. "Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond."
Mendes' loss could have big financial repercussions; Skyfall was the most lucrative Bond film in history, earning over $1.1 billion worldwide for Eon and Sony thanks to near-universal acclaim, including The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy, who called the movie "beautifully made." The film won two Oscars; one for Adele's best original song, and another for sound editing.
Still, the 24th installment of the British super spy's adventures will return Daniel Craig as the gritty agent, and will be scripted by John Logan, who co-wrote the most recent chapter.
Mendes did, however, leave open the possibility that he could return to the franchise.
"I feel very honored to have been part of the Bond family", the director said, "and very much hope I have a chance to work with them again sometime in the future."