Steven Soderbergh on Why Directing a James Bond Movie Never Happened


The director explains why directing 007 just wasn’t in the cards.

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Of all the great what-ifs in Hollywood history, just knowing we were so, so close to getting a James Bond movie directed by Steven Soderbergh is arguably one of the greatest. Soderbergh has generally never been one for splashy, big-budget franchises. His Ocean’s trilogy is perhaps the biggest to date but even that trio of movies is relatively small compared to the scope of the Bond cinematic world. Even so, with more than 30 years under his belt as a director, it should come as no surprise that he was, at one point, in talks with Eon Productions co-head and 007 franchise overseer Barbara Broccoli about directing a Bond movie.

The subject of Soderberg’s almost-Bond moment came up while the Let Them All Talk director was interview by Josh Horowitz on a recent episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast (via The Playlist). Soderbergh opened up about a variety of topics, including whether there was any truth to the rumors that he was considered to direct a Fantastic Four movie (“That was not in my bag of interests growing up”) and if he remembered Joel and Ethan Coen once being considered to play the Casey Affleck and Scott Caan Ocean‘s roles (“I don’t, but it doesn’t sound like a terrible idea”).

When asked again about the talks with Broccoli that he had to direct a Bond movie, Soderbergh shared with Horowitz, “Absolutely, I love that world. We were at odds about some things that were important. We had some great conversations. It was fun to think about, but we just couldn’t… the last ten yards were, we just couldn’t do it, we couldn’t figure it out.”

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Image via Relativity Media

But, as the saying goes, when one door closes, a window opens. Although Soderbergh never got the chance to make a Bond movie, he did incorporate some of his Bond ideas into his movies, specifically the 2011 movie Haywire. As he told Horowitz, “Aspects of it have shown up elsewhere. I would say, there are things in Haywire, in terms of its approach to the character, and it’s not a big movie, but there’s a little bit of activity in it. That’s a hint of the kind of attitude I was looking for.”

Soderbergh seems to have no hard feelings about how things turned out, either. As he told Horowitz, it seems like he’s looking forward to the next Bond movie, No Time to Die: “I hope they’re able to figure out the release of the new one.”

No Time to Die is currently scheduled to arrive in theaters on April 2, 2021. Soderbergh’s newest movie, Let Them All Talk, is now available to stream on HBO Max.

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