And the story goes like this: American Beauty’s Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes was at a birthday party for their mutual friend Hugh Jackman in New York City when Daniel Craig – who reprized his role as James Bond for the third time in the movie – came up to him and suggested he would be the ideal man for the job, and the filmmaker thinks it would have never occurred to him he could take on the role if it wasn’t for the conversation.
He wasn’t that drunk and he didn’t really offer it to me, he suggested it to me. It was a conversation … And then it kind of went from there. I didn’t really have any doubts.
Had I not gone to the party, I think someone else would have directed it. I think it’s true. And it may not have even, weirdly, occurred to me. I know it sounds crazy, but it was because someone said it to me and I thought, ‘Oh, what a good idea.’
Craig reportedly discussed how he wanted to restore a sense of humor to Bond and confided his desire for the new film to be very much a contemporary thriller. He said:
Sam’s ideas started coming out, and I’d had a few too many drinks and I completely overstepped the line and said, ‘Why don’t you do it?’ And Sam said, ‘Why not?’
Skyfall isn’t the only huge movie that Mendes could have directed as he was presented with the opportunity to helm another huge film this year in the shape of Avengers Assemble, but he turned down the chance to direct the superhero movie after he was left unimpressed by a letter he received from Marvel to see if he wanted to put himself forward for the role.
In an interview with Moviefone, he added:
The funniest letter I got – they were sending (a packet for) ‘The Avengers’, right? For directors to pitch – and I got a package, which was full of comic books, but no treatment; there was no script. But the cover letter said, ‘Marvel’s Avengers will be released on May 3, 2012’, or whatever it was. That was the first sentence of the cover letter. Not, ‘We have the pleasure of enclosing the materials …’ or ‘Here is the script for …’ But the release date. That was the first sentence.
He concluded by saying:
I wasn’t interested. I mean, that’s not my world particularly. I’ll go see it, particularly with my kids, but I didn’t want to make it. But I was probably one of 50 that got sent it; they didn’t target me specifically.
Nothing compares to Bond.