1. Muddy MGM situation behind Mendes negotiations

    By Matt Weston on 2010-01-06

    Trusted Hollywood blogger Nikki Fenke of is exclusively reporting that Sam Mendes has not signed on to direct the 23rd James Bond film… yet.

    Instead, Fenke claims the Oscar-winning helmer of American Beauty and Road to Perdition is in final negotiations to initially board Bond 23 as a “consultant”.

    The curious negotiations reportedly stem from the increasingly muddied behind-the-scenes situation at the beleaguered studio home of the 007 films, MGM.

    According to the blogger’s sources, Eon Productions requires a first payment from MGM once the company hires a director. Accordingly, Mendes is in final negotiations to come on board the project “as a consultant with an eye to direct”.

    Fenke’s source said, “Once they put [Mendes] on as the director, something happens to the contract in terms of ownership. But let me emphasize there’s not any deal done.”

    Fenke writes, “Given that MGM is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, and Eon may have the right to take Bond elsewhere, it stands to reason that the producers wouldn’t want to do anything right away that further complicates ownership of Bond #23.”

    Also of interest is Fenke’s claim that Daniel Craig “insisted” upon Mendes’ involvement in the film following the mixed critical reaction to Quantum of Solace.

    MGM has refused to confirm the reports to trade paper Variety. The studio also denied reports that pre-production on Bond 23 is on hold.

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