Ian Fleming introduced the world to James Bond in 1953 and the martini-sipping spy's legacy has since been immortalized through numerous literary works, video games, comic strips and – most importantly – cinematic adventures. So, when his 25th cinematic appearance required a director, it was only natural to look to the man who had launched two of the most successful Bonds to date: Martin Campbell. However, it was surprising to know that he isn't particularly eager to take part in Daniel Craig's final appearance as 007.
After debuting in Casino Royale, Daniel Craig has undoubtedly become one of the most successful Bonds and much of that credit goes to Campbell. Craig's Bond has maintained the tone set by Campbell, so it would've been interesting to see him take the Aston Martin (reconstructed by Q) for one last ride. Unfortunately, the director would only return to the franchise if once there's a new actor playing Bond.
Cinemablend: "Is it a world that you're interested in returning to?"
Martin Campbell: "I don't know. I might be, so never say never. I didn't after 'Goldeneye'. I don't know if it was sort of arrogance or whatever I don't know. I just sort of said no to it. I was pretty much offered every one after that. But I just felt that I was repeated it. Another control room to blow up; another nutcase taking over the world. And also there is something refreshing about starting a new Bond, and particularly with Pierce [Brosnan]. It was sort of a Cold War sort of situation then, and we had Judi Dench for the first time. So there was a kind of excitement to doing it. 'Casino Royale' was the same thing. Much the same reasons, actually."
Cinemablend: "So if they were to find a new Bond, that would primarily interest you?"
Martin Campbell: "Yeah. I think Daniel is terrific. He's certainly 'for now,' do you know what I mean? First of all he's a terrific actor, but secondly he brings that sort of toughness and rough edge to Bond that is now so relevant."
When Campbell was brought on for Goldeneye, he was not only tasked with ushering a new era of Bond films, but also had to live up to the legacy set by Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton. However, once audiences saw Brosnan bungee-jump from the Contra Dam and engage in one of the most intense scenes shot inside a plane, they were convinced that Campbell had done his job.
The task might've been slightly easier after the critical failure of Die Another Day, but Campbell cut no corners while adapting Fleming's first Bond novel, Casino Royale. By banking on the gritty realism of spy movies made popular by the Bourne series, Campbell served up a Bond that didn't shy away from hand-to-hand combat, was emotionally vulnerable and relied on wits instead of gadgets.
Is Martin Campbell The Right Director To Launch The Next James Bond?
Before embroiling in the James Bond franchise and making the Irish-born Pierce Brosnan a household name, Martin Campbell had a good reputation thanks to his work on well-received TV series like Reilly: Ace of Spies and the mini-series Edge of Darkness. In addition to that, Campbell showcased his penchant for action and drama with Defenseless, Criminal Law and No Escape, making him the perfect candidate to helm Goldeneye. However, the director's winning streak somewhat deteriorated after Casino Royale.
Although Campbell directed critical flops like Legend of Zorro and Vertical Limit, their financial successes must have been a deciding factor when relying on his capability to launch Daniel Craig's run as Bond. As his resume now consists of debacles like Edge of Darkness, Green Lantern and the poorly received TV movies like Reckless and Warriors, Campbell's directorial expertise has become less impressive in terms of box-office returns and critical acclaim - something that the franchise will be aiming for when they inevitably reboot the franchise once again.
However, Campbell's recent collaboration with Jackie Chan in The Foreigner might be the reassurance fans need. By returning to the genre of well-paced action-drama and utilizing Jackie Chan's martial art skills to the fullest, Campbell has managed to grab everyone's attention once again. As initial reviews for The Foreigner are turning out to be positive, it looks like Campbell is back on form.
Do you want Martin Campbell to direct James Bond 25 or launch the next Bond? Let me know in the comments.