Christopher Nolan and James Bond | A sense of deja vu?

Christopher Nolan is often rumoured to direct the next James Bond Film vanished
Share this Article:

Christopher Nolan: will he ever direct a James Bond movie? We look at the rumour mill timeline, and how likely it is to happen…

Arguably more so than any other franchise, you can’t beat casting rumours about James Bond.

Over the last decade or so, as Daniel Craig has alternated between staying in and leaving the franchise forever, while the movie rumour mill has repeatedly thrown out the same names: Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Regé-Jean Page and now, rumour has it, Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

More than any of those, though, the name most often associated with the 007 franchise isn’t an actor at all. Unless Christopher Nolan decides to make a late, dramatic career move and make his debut as a leading man, the Dark Knight director has been attached to the series by sources of varying accuracy (we’re being nice – they’ve all been wrong) for over a decade.

With the internet exploding over the last week after World of Reel claimed Nolan and EON were having serious conversations, it’s hard to escape the feeling that we’ve been here before.

the snowy fortress from Christopher Nolan's Inception, heavily inspired by James Bond

Inception’s snowy fortress and skiing scene were heavily inspired by On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Credit: Warner Bros.)

When, we hear you ask? What an excellent question. Traipsing back through the internet as far as Google’s algorithm will let us, we decided to trace the origin of the Nolan/Bond rumours as thoroughly as we could.

Unsurprisingly, it all starts with 2010’s Inception. The snowy mountain set piece at the end of his dreamy, timey-wimey blockbuster seemed to be as close as the director would get to flat-out asking to be 007’s next M.

That was until he did just that. According to The AV Club in 2010, Nolan said “he’d love to direct” a Bond film at some point. On the press tour for the film, the director wasn’t exactly shy about the influence of the franchise on his film either.  “The Bond influence on the film was very intentional,” he told the BBC – a recurring theme in Nolan interviews that’s given the internet rumour mill plenty to chew on over the years.

So much so that, every time the Bond franchise reaches any kind of turning point, Nolan’s name is quick to reach everyone’s lips. It happened ahead of the release of Skyfall in 2012, when Sony lost the distribution rights in 2015, and just before Danny Boyle was named as No Time To Die’s director in 2017.

Read more: Why Oppenheimer’s delayed home release isn’t all good news

It’s not hard to see why, really. Even after years of speculation and enough comment requests to get on anyone’s nerves, Nolan isn’t exactly shy about his desire to get the keys to Bond’s Aston Martin. Speaking to Josh Horowitz on the Happy, Sad, Confused podcast this summer, he said:

“The influence of those movies in my filmography is embarrassingly apparent. It would be an amazing privilege to do one.”

A couple of months, and a career-defining success with Oppenheimer later, World of Reel sparked everyone into a frenzy again by alleging that EON and Amazon are dead set on using Nolan to reboot the franchise following Daniel Craig’s departure. If they don’t get him, and aren’t able to give him the creative freedom which is supposed to be a deal breaker, the process is literally “back to the drawing board”.

christopher nolan and emma thomas

Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas at the Oppenheimer UK premiere (Credit: Getty Images)

While World of Reel have been spot-on with certain rumours in the past, there are still a whole host of reasons why the news won’t translate into a Nolan-fronted Bond any time soon. For one, the rumours claim the director is negotiating with EON to allow him to make at least the next couple of films period pieces based on Fleming’s original novels – something producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have both said won’t happen as recently as last year. There’s also the small problem that, though the specific plots from Fleming’s works haven’t all found their way onto the big screen, the majority of the titles have, meaning any faithful adaptation could look a lot like a remake of one of the earlier films – hardly the fresh new direction EON are looking to take the franchise.

There’s also the question of whether Nolan would even be interested in pinning himself to a franchise, even one he loves as much as 007. The unprecedented success of Oppenheimer means, even after a relative box office slump like Tenet, Nolan’s next film can likely be literally whatever he wants. That creative freedom, it seems, is far more important to him than his love of men in suave suits.

“[But] you’d have to be really needed,” he told Happy, Sad Confused in the same interview. “You’d have to be really wanted in terms of bringing the totality of what you bring to the character. Otherwise, I’m very happy to be first in line to see whatever they do.”

Thank you for visiting! If you’d like to support our attempts to make a non-clickbaity movie website:

Follow Film Stories on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.

Buy our Film Stories and Film Junior print magazines here.

Become a Patron here.

Share this Article:

More like this