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Sam Mendes touted as James Bond director

The next James Bond film looks as if it will be a very British, understated affair. After my disclosure that Peter Morgan had been signed up as one of the writers of the 23rd instalment in the series, Mandrake hears that Sam Mendes may be about to bag the job of director.

The Reading-born Mendes declined to comment when I inquired yesterday, but he has worked with Daniel Craig, the current 007, on the film Road to Perdition when the two men struck up a good working relationship.

I reported in June how Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, who are producing the film, wanted Morgan to be involved with the screenplay as they were keen for it to be "wordier" than Quantum of Solace, which was seen to be all action and no talk.

Mendes, who is married to Kate Winslet, is seen as a thoughtful director who switched from overseeing the Donmar Warehouse theatre in London to making such complex psychological films as American Beauty and Jarhead.

It is hoped that the film will begin production as early as June with an eye to a 2011 release. However, the difficulties that are now facing MGM, which put itself up for sale in November, mean there is an element of uncertainty about the project.

© Telegraph.co.uk