Next James Bond film on put hold 'indefinitely'

007 halted by MGM sale

Next James Bond film on put hold 'indefinitely'

He may come up trumps against evil villains with high-tech lairs but it seems Bond has met his match: administrative red tape. The Bond franchise's debt-ridden home studio MGM has been the subject of speculation for some time, with either a sale or a restructuring expected to alleviate its $3.7bn debts.

Neither have happened, however, and the Eon Productions film - Bond 23, set to be directed by the Oscar-winning Sam Mendes for a late 2011 or early 2012 release - has suspended development.

"Due to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development of Bond 23 indefinitely," producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of Eon Productions explained in a statement. They added that "we do not know when development will resume and do not have a date for the release for the film".

The new 007 film - a sequel to Quantum of Solace with Daniel Craig back as the super-spy - has already been mired in controversy after screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) was said to have quit the project following the arrival of Mendes to direct. This latest development throws even Mendes' involvement into doubt.

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