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13th May 2022

Danny Boyle shares plot of his scrapped Bond movie and his choice for next 007

Simon Bland


The director of Trainspotting explains why he ultimately decided not to choose Bond

Acclaimed British director Danny Boyle has shared details of his Bond movie that almost-was, before revealing who he’d like to see pick up the spy’s iconic Walther PPK and play 007 in the character’s next big-screen outing.

While covid has made it feel like an eon ago, back in May 2018 Slumdog Millionaire filmmaker Danny Boyle was signed up as the director of the James Bond movie that would ultimately act as star Daniel Craig’s fifth and final outing as the much-loved sleuth.

Riding high on the runaway success of Sam Mendes’ 2012 mega-hits Skyfall and its 2015 follow up Spectre, the eyes of cinephiles worldwide were fixed firmly on Boyle to see just how he’d round out Craig’s time in the tux.

What’s more, as a director who’s unafraid of taking bold filmic and narrative choices (see: 2010’s grisly 127 Hours or 2013’s trippy Trance), expectations were high to say the least.

Then it all fell apart almost as quickly as it started.

Pointing to creative differences with long-time Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson – later revealed to be focused around the character’s death – Boyle left the director’s chair for what would be the character’s 25 outing and was replaced by True Detective filmmaker Cary Fukunaga who navigated an entire pandemic to get No Time To Die into theatres in September 2021.

However now, Boyle has spoken about what he would’ve done with Bond if he’d had full creative control.

Speaking to Esquire UK, Boyle revealed that his story would’ve had a timely tilt, placing 007 in present day Russia and giving him a brand new origin story.

“I remember thinking, ‘Should I really get involved in franchises?’ Because they don’t really want something different,” explained the director, commenting on his trepidation with the idea of getting involved with a movie monolith.

“They want you to freshen it up a bit, but not really challenge it, and we wanted to do something different with it.

“Weirdly — it would have been very topical now — it was all set in Russia, which is of course where Bond came from, out of the Cold War. It was set in present-day Russia and went back to his origins, and they just lost, what’s the word… they just lost confidence in it. It was a shame really.”

The filmmaker even went on to reveal who he’d like to inherit Bond in the as-yet-unannounced next movie, with Esquire UK reporting that he suggested current Batman Robert Pattinson and I May Destroy You‘s Paapa Essiedu as his top picks.

As for whether he’d ever consider returning to the Bond-verse? Boyle kept his answer short and to the point: “I don’t think so.”

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