‘Skyfall’ director Sam Mendes says no to next Bond film

He says he's made a 'very difficult decision' to focus on his theatre commitments instead

Sam Mendes has revealed he will not be directing the next Bond movie.

Mendes’ Skyfall has become the most successful film in 007 history, grossing over $1.1 billion (£730 million) at cinemas worldwide, and he was asked to return for the follow-up by producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.

After examining his future schedule, though the Oscar-winning director decided to turn them down. Explaining his reasons for saying no, Mendes told Empire: “It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie. Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond.”

However, Mendes hinted that he could be tempted back to the franchise further down the line, adding: “I feel very honoured to have been part of the Bond family and very much hope I have a chance to work with them again sometime in the future.”

Wilson and Broccoli echoed these sentiments, saying: “We thoroughly enjoyed working with Sam: he directed our most successful Bond movie ever, Skyfall. We would have loved to have made the next film with him but completely respect his decision to focus on other projects and hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with him again.”

Although Mendes won’t be returning, Daniel Craig is contracted for at least two more Bond movies and Skyfall writer John Logan has been hired to pen the next two scripts. The follow-up to Skyfall is expected in 2014.