EXCLUSIVE: James Bond has a release date for his next film, and he will soon have a director. We’ve known for months that Daniel Craig was going to return and finish his run as 007 with the one film commitment he has left on his deal, so that is hardly a surprise. While there has been published speculation about Dunkirk‘s Christopher Nolan and Baby Driver‘s Edgar Wright possibly surfacing as each did the press tour on those hit films, I’m hearing that the three frontrunners to direct the next James Bond movie are Yann Demange, Denis Villeneuve and David Mackenzie. Demange directed ’71, an electric 2014 thriller that starred Jack O’Connell as a British soldier left behind the lines in Northern Ireland after dark, who struggles to get safe. He is currently directing White Boy Rick, with Matthew McConaughey leading the ensemble.Villeneuve is coming off the Best Picture nominee Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, the Alcon sequel which will be released by Warner Bros October 6. Mackenzie directed Best Picture nominee Hell or High Water, and he signed on to direct Outlaw King, the story of Scottish king Robert the Bruce, which most know from Braveheart. These are top of the food chain filmmakers, all. As for Nolan and Wright, each has shown some exuberance about Bond duty, but the likelier scenario is they would take over the franchise down the line when it is inevitably rebooted and they can start from scratch.Villeneuve might have a scheduling conflict — he’s making Dune for Legendary — which might give a slight edge to Demange. The three frontrunners have all had meetings, I am told.

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Edgar Wright Christopher Nolan
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EON ‘s Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and MGM still haven’t set a distributor for the film, but there is plenty of time for that. Longtime home Sony, Warner Bros, Annapurna, Fox and Universal are all pursuing distribution rights to the franchise. But the producers and MGM did just set the Bond 25 movie for November 8, 2019, with a traditional earlier release in the UK and rest of the world. That means they will have to select a filmmaker quickly and I expect that to be completed by end of summer. Bond 25 will be written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who penned Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre.