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James Bond may have a new agent of change: Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes

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Rachel Abramowitz is back on the Hero Complex today with the news that Sam Mendes is poised to become the first Oscar-winning director in the history of the venerable James Bond franchise.

Sam Mendes is engaged in discussions to become the next James Bond maestro, potentially making him the first Oscar winner ever to direct England’s suavest spy.

The “American Beauty” director is actually an old friend of Bond leading man Daniel Craig and introduced the actor to wider American audiences by casting him in the 2002 film “Road to Perdition.” 'Bond 23' already has Peter Morgan, Oscar nominee for “The Queen” and “Frost/Nixon,” scripting moody character turns for 007, alongside Bond screenwriting stalwarts Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. MGM declined to confirm the report.

Of course, Mendes has a bunch of projects also brewing, including the long-gestating film adaptation of the comic book series “Preacher” and “Middlemarch,” based on the George Eliot novel. And, like every directing assignment in Hollywood, Mendes’ participation with Bond is contingent on the final script and the film’s production schedule (there is no start date, but some speculation has the movie’s release date as early as 2011). And then there’s the much bigger question of what happens to Bond when/if corporate overlord MGM gets sold in the next few months.

So in other words, this project still has a long way to go before the martini shot.

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-- Rachel Abramowitz

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