Apparently, James Bond's persuasive charms don't always work on everybody.
Skyfall director Sam Mendes—whose critically heralded reinterpretation of the 007 story has now become the highest-grossing film in the franchise's 50-year history, and its first to break the vaunted $1 billion mark at the box office—won't be returning to helm the next James Bond film.
In an interview with Empire, the Oscar-winning auteur confirmed that he'd been approached by Bond gatekeepers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, the producing team behind the franchise, to take the reins of the 007's 24th outing, but has decided to focus on other projects.
"It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara's very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie," the 47-year-old Mendes said.
"Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life," he added, "but I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond." (Skyfall scribe John Logan has already reportedly signed on to write the next two Bond films.)
Mendes, however, did not rule out the possibility of returning to the Bond fold down the line. "I feel very honoured to have been part of the Bond family and very much hope I have a chance to work with them again sometime in the future," he explained.
The Daniel Craig–headlined Skyfall stands as one of the most rousingly received entries in the Bond canon, and many credited Mendes with invigorating the franchise by bringing a rich depth and complexity to the Bond persona, and providing a telling glimpse into his elusive backstory.
The film scored a sterling 81 points on Metacritic and nabbed a slew of year-end accolades including a plum nomination from the Producers Guild of America. At the Oscars last month, it won two awards, including Best Original Song for Adele's sultry, eponymous theme.