After initially resisting the urge to return for another installment, "Skyfall" director Sam Mendes is in early discussions to direct the next James Bond movie for Sony, MGM and Eon Productions, TheWrap has learned.
Mendes had been focusing his attention on launching the West End stage musical "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," prompting Bond producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli to meet with other filmmakers for the coveted gig, including Nicolas Winding Refn ("Drive").
Now that a light has appeared at the end of the "Chocolate" tunnel, Mendes has told the producers that he's open to returning to the 007 franchise, which is riding sky high on the strength of "Skyfall's" $1.1 billion worldwide gross.
As recently as last week, Mendes' publicist told TheWrap that he was "out" of the running, following vehement denials on April 24 ("Absolutely NOT TRUE … He is definitely moving on") and May 9 ("It ain't happening").
Sony declined comment, but an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap that Mendes is in talks to take the Bond mantle again.
Mendes is in line for a major payday if he returns, and should his deal close, production on the 24th James Bond movie would start next year. Daniel Craig will don the tuxedo once again, and "Skyfall" writer John Logan has been enlisted to write the script.
Mendes and Craig teamed to deliver just the right combination of brains and brawn for "Skyfall," which was the best Bond movie yet thanks to Javier Bardem's villain, Roger Deakins' cinematography and Adele's catchy theme song.
Mendes, who is represented by CAA, won an Oscar for directing "American Beauty." His other credits include "Road to Perdition," "Jarhead," "Revolutionary Road" and the charming comedy "Away We Go."
Mendes' probable hiring was first reported by Deadline.