James Bond's 25th big screen outing needs a director, and among the contenders is Hollywood hot property Denis Villeneuve, director of Sicario, Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. He's not thought to be the frontrunner, but he has spoken briefly about the possibility of helming Daniel Craig's final mission as 007.
Speaking to Time Out magazine ahead of the release of his Blade Runner sequel on Thursday (5 October), the Canadian director was asked if he could discuss the rumours. "I cannot talk about that," he said with a laugh.
"But let's say that for me to do a Bond movie would be a deep, deep pleasure."
Shortly after the next Bond film was announced in July, a shortlist of directors the producers at EON Productions were looking at emerged, made up of Villeneuve, 71 director Yann Demange and Hell or High Water's David Mackenzie.
Demange has been reported as the frontrunner, but Villeneuve's comments suggest he has at least been in contact with the film's bosses in some capacity.
According to a report last month, Daniel Craig is a big fan of Villeneuve and eager for him to sit in the director's chair. The 49-year-old star, who first played the British spy in 2006's Casino Royale, certainly has the swing with producers to influence their eventual decision.
The director will be costly for the studio given his incredible run of success, first with Sicario, then sci-fi instant classic Arrival. With Blade Runner 2049 receiving rave reviews against the odds, and some critics even saying it's better than Ridley Scott's iconic original, his prices will have only gone up.
Everyone in Hollywood will be after Villeneuve, but he might already be too busy to take on Bond. Back in February it was reported that he had been signed up by Legendary Pictures to lead a new series of films based on Dune.
Plans can certainly change however. Just ask Paramount Pictures about new Star Wars 9 director JJ Abrams.
Bond 25 was announced with few details. We know it'll be released in October/November 2019, that its script is being written by Bond regulars Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, and that Craig is returning to "go out on a high note".
It will mark Craig's fifth outing as Bond, making him the third longest-running actor to play the role, behind Sean Connery with six films and the late Roger Moore with seven. He overtakes Pierce Brosnan, whose four-film run ended with 2002's Die Another Day.