Christopher Nolan Directing The Next James Bond Film?

By Zack Zagranis | Updated

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Most of the discussions surrounding the James Bond franchise revolve around the next actor to play the iconic super spy. That’s about to change now that Christopher Nolan has expressed an interest in directing a future 007 outing. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Oppenheimer creator recently mentioned his eagerness to one day helm a Bond movie on an episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast.

Christopher Nolan made it abundantly clear that he flat-out loves the James Bond films and expressed interest in directing a film in the franchise.

“You know, it would be an amazing privilege to do one,” Nolan said regarding the James Bond franchise. The statement came right after the director admitted that the influence the Bond films have had on his filmography is “embarrassingly apparent,” but that he refused to “shy away from that.” Throughout the podcast, Christopher Nolan made it abundantly clear that he flat-out loves the James Bond films.

Christopher Nolan does have his misgivings about tackling such a famous character, however. “You’re working within a particular set of constraints,” admitted the director before going on to say that an established property like James Bond must be approached with the “right attitude.” The director certainly isn’t wrong.

Franchise films like James Bond can be tricky to get right. They have to be familiar but fresh. They have to tick certain boxes but not just rehash past adventures.

In short, Christopher Nolan would have to deliver a new spin on 007 while still making sure that he introduces himself last name first—preferably while wearing a tuxedo. Subverting viewers’ expectations is fine, but no one wants to be the director who didn’t have Bond order his signature martini…except for maybe Rian Johnson (probably.)

christopher nolan

“You know, it would be an amazing privilege to do one.”

Christopher Nolan on directing a James Bond movie

Nolan further addressed the juxtaposition between delivering a familiar product while also breaking new ground when he said, “you would never want to take on something like that and do it wrong,” while also admitting he would have to have a degree of creative freedom.

Nolan specified that he wouldn’t want to direct a film that wasn’t fully committed to everything he offers creatively, such as writing and casting. “You have to be really needed,” the director said, “really wanted,” in terms of what he would bring to the James Bond character.

Even if all of those factors don’t perfectly align, Christopher Nolan is still eager to see whatever producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson—current stewards of the James Bond legacy—put out. “I deeply love the character, and I’m always excited to see what they do with it,” Nolan said in a 2017 interview where he admitted that he keeps in contact with the duo just in case.

James Bond and Indiana Jones

In the event that Christopher Nolan doesn’t get the opportunity to direct the next Bond film, he can always do what Steven Spielberg did and create his own franchise starring a charismatic globe-trotting adventurer.

One of the main reasons Indiana Jones made the leap from a Hawaiian daydream between Spielberg and George Lucas to big screen blockbuster is because of Spielberg’s desire to direct a James Bond film. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the opening sequence of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, where a tuxedo-clad Harrison Ford does his best 007 impression.

Given that most reviewers described 2020’s Tenet as Christopher Nolan’s version of James Bond, it seems the filmmaker may already be on the right track. Of course, before Tenet can become a Bond-like franchise, Nolan is going to have to give the main character a name. “The name’s ‘tagonist. Protagonist,” just doesn’t cut it.