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MGM Turmoil Puts Mendes’ ‘Bond 23’ on Hold

Uncertain future of MGM could also spell trouble for ”The Hobbit“

It looks like "American Beauty" director Sam Mendes will have to wait to make his action debut, as "Bond 23" has been delayed indefinitely.

"Due to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development on ‘Bond 23’ indefinitely," producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of EON Productions said in a statement. "We do not know when development will resume and do not have a date for the release of ‘Bond 23."

The decision is expected to affect the sale of MGM, and puts the future of the studio’s big-budget tentpole "The Hobbit" in question.

Director Peter Jackson is currently figuring out the budget for the highly-anticipated film, which the studio still hasn’t greenlit. If I were a betting man, I’d wager that "The Hobbit" will not start filming this year, or anytime soon until the studio is sold or the project finds independent financing.

"Bond 23," the sequel to "Quantum of Solace," was set to open late 2011 with Daniel Craig reprising his role as 007. A bevy of beauties had been rumored for roles, including Rachel Weisz as the villainous head of the Quantum organization.

James Bond is the longest running franchise in movie history, so don’t expect this delay to derail a 23rd installment in the series, although I wouldn’t be surprised if Mendes chooses to turn his attention toward other projects in the meantime.