Sam Mendes Passes on 'Bond 24' -- Here Are Five Directors We Think Should Get the Gig

First, the bad news. Skyfall director Sam Mendes confirmed to Empire that he will not return to the James Bond franchise to direct the 24th chapter in the long-running spy series. 
“It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie," Mendes told the site. "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."
Now, the good news: The Bond franchise can find the next exciting voice who’ll be able to build on the successes of Skyfall and (hopefully) usher the spy into the next exciting phase of his action-packed career. 
But whom should it be? Here are the five directors we’d LOVE to see helming a Bond movie. 
An easy choice, and a regular of the Bond franchise. He’s helmed two of the best non-Skyfall installments in recent Bond history in Casino Royale and Pierce Brosnan’s GoldenEye. He worked well with Daniel Craig, and could return to the fold to carry on the mission of beefing up Bond’s role in modern cinema.
The Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class director worked with Craig on the London crime thriller Layer Cake back in 2004. Ever since he backed off of Days of Future Past, he’s been looking for a major project. Bond 24 should be it.
Why not, right? Mendes paved the way for fellow Oscar-winning directors who could give style and weight to the 007 franchise. And for those who think Bigelow’s only capable of helming Middle Eastern slow-burners, go back and rent Point Break and/or Strange Days (with Skyfall co-star Ralph Fiennes) to see how well she handles male-bonding action thrillers. She’d be ideal.
Because I love when British directors tackle Bond. And Boyle brings a unique, kinetic style of filmmaking that I think could contradict the inherent stodginess of Bond. The director has Trance coming to theaters in April. Could he move on to Bond 24 right after?
Don’t recognize his name? Rent the tense, turbulent crime thriller Sleepless Night to get a feel for this French director’s skillful approach to action. Hiring Jardin gives the Bond franchise the chance to cultivate a growing name in action cinema. It would be a bit of a gamble going without a truly proven name. But if Jardin could bring a bit of the intensity and drive that he brought to Night, then Bond 24 would be off to a rollicking start. 
Have a better suggestion? Would you like to see Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan or some of the other far-out names being suggested on Twitter? Weigh in with your thoughts below.
Follow along on Twitter @Sean_OConnell and @Fandango
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