Sam Mendes Says He Is Done Directing James Bond Films

“I think it’s time for somebody else,” the “Skyfall” and “Spectre” visionary tells Welsh crowd

The next James Bond film will probably have to find both a new leading man and a director.

“It was an incredible adventure, I loved every second of it,” “Skyfall” and “Spectre” director Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”) said of his recent half-decade with the franchise. “But I think it’s time for somebody else.”

“I’m a storyteller. And at the end of the day, I want to make stories with new characters,” he explained to a Welsh audience on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

Mendes told those at the Hay Festival of literature in Wales that he hopes the next Bond director comes from “an unexpected direction,” kind of like he did.

The director already had a celebrated career before he took on the huge task of steering the 007 franchise. He broke out in 1999 with “American Beauty,” his directorial debut. The film, which starred Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening, was a smash hit, grossing more than $356 million worldwide and garnering five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Mendes.

He followed that up with 2002’s gangster drama, “Road to Perdition,” in which Tom Hanks and Paul Newman starred opposite a then-little-known British actor named Daniel Craig. The movies “Jarhead,” “Revolutionary Road” and “Away We Go” followed before Mendes was tapped for Bond.

His first outing behind the camera for 007, 2012’s “Skyfall,” received wide critical acclaim, five Oscar nominations and two wins, including a statuette for Adele’s theme song. The movie grossed $1.1 billion worldwide. Three years later, “Spectre” banked another $881 million globally and won an Academy Award for Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes’ original song.

And as far as who should replace Bond himself — Daniel Craig, as of late — as the future face of the franchise, Mendes said there’s no point in fans trying to lobby via the Internet.

“It’s not a democracy … [executive producer] Barbara Broccoli decides who is going to be the next Bond, end of story,” he said.