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Cary Joji Fukunaga to direct BOND 25 with release date pushed to 2020

Following the sudden departure of director Danny Boyle from BOND 25 due to “creative differences” in August, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson today announced American director Cary Joji Fukunaga (‘Jane Eyre’, ‘Beasts of no Nation’) as the new director for the upcoming Bond thriller. Filming is set to start on 4 March 2019 with a February 2020 release date.

Bond fans across the globe had a hard time believing their eyes when the official Bond website proclaimed, that director Danny Boyle was no longer at the helm of James Bonds 25th installment. For years, especially since his much praised short film for the 2012 Olympics in London in which Daniel Craig escorted Her Majesty the Queen to the games, Boyle had been on the wishlist of many fans to direct a future 007 adventure. However, “creative differences” made him drop out of the project, followed by his screenwriter John Hodge. The first script for the new film, originally penned by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, has since been readopted.

The list of possible directors considered to potentially replace Boyle included Christopher McQuarrie, Jean-Marc Vallée, Edgar Wright, David Mackenzie, S. J. Clarkson, Bart Layton, and Yann Demange. With only four feature films to his name, of which none had a wide release, Cary Joji Fukunaga certainly is a new and bold development. Bond 25 will be his first feature film to have a worldwide release. His last feature, the war drama ‘Beasts of no Nation’ (2015) starring Idris Elba, was bought by Netflix and simultaneously released in selected cinemas. Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus reads: “Beasts of No Nation finds writer-director Cary Fukunaga working with a talented cast to offer a sobering, uncompromising, yet still somehow hopeful picture of war’s human cost.”

Apart from films, Fukunaga directed the first season (8 episodes) of HBO anthology crime series ‘True Detective’ which was received with praise in 2014. Reviewers from The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, and The Daily Telegraph cited ‘True Detective’ as the strongest show in recent memory. A second series, a dark comedy webseries entitled ‘Maniac’, is set to premiere on streaming service Netflix on 21 September 2018. Starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, the half-hour miniseries was produced by Paramount Television and Anonymous Content with Stone, Hill and Fukunaga also acting as executive producers. First reviews published by Variety and The Washington Post called the upcoming series “beautifully made” and “oddly mesmerizing”.

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in ‘True Detective’ – Photo: HBO

Fukunaga was born in July 1977 in Alameda, California, to a third-generation Japanese-American father and Swedish-American mother. Originally wanting to become a pro-snowboarder, he began developing an interest in filmmaking during his mid-twenties. After crewing on a handful of music videos and indie films, he got his first job as a camera intern at the music video shoot of Beyonce’s ‘Survivor’.

Fukunaga graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Arts in history in 1999, and attended Institut d’études politiques (IEP) de Grenoble. He wrote and directed the short film Victoria para Chino (2004) while studying at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film Program. The short film screened at the Sundance Film Festival and received a Student Academy Award in 2005. In addition, the film went on to win an Audience Award for Best Narrative Student Short film at the 2004 Austin Film Festival, a “Best Student Film” award at the 2006 Ashland Independent Film Festival, a “BAFTA/LA Award for Excellence – Honorable Mention” award at the 2005 Aspen Shortsfest, Best Student Film at the 2005 BendFilm Festival, Best Short Film and an Audience Award for Best Short Film at the 2005 Gen Art Film Festival, Best Short film at the 2005 Milan International Film Festival, and the Jury Prize for Best Student Short at the 2004 Woodstock Film Festival.

Director Cary Joji Fukunaga at work behind the camera

Fukunaga has not limited himself to directing but has also written most of the films he helmed. He also took over the role of cinematographer and producer for his film ‘Beasts of no Nation’. He co-wrote the screenplay for the 2017 remake of Stephen King’s ‘IT’ and served as both screenwriter and producer for the TNT period drama series ‘The Alienist’. His combined efforts in filmmaking have propelled him to one of the most coveted filmmakers in Hollywood.

Fukunaga, a fluent speaker of Spanish and French, lives in New York City and has previously lived in France, Japan, Mexico City, and London.

Having a rather thin but yet not unimpressive portfolio, Cary Joji Fukunaga is certainly a bold and unexpected choice for Bond 25. However, the Bond producers seem confident in their statement, bravely offering a chance for a young director to leave his mark on their upcoming franchise film. “We are delighted to be working with Cary. His versatility and innovation make him an excellent choice for our next James Bond adventure,” said Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.

The original date for start of filming was pushed back from 03 December 2018 to 04 March 2019, naturally also pushing back the release date from 25 October 2019 to 14 February 2020. A long wait for Bond fans all over the world – 512 days to be precise. For the time being, it is comforting to know, that things are moving ahead with production after many believed the franchise to be in moderately difficult trouble following all the various turmoils that had occured since the release of ‘Spectre’ in 2015.

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