'They just lost confidence in it' - Danny Boyle talks his lost James Bond movie

Daniel Craig's James Bond lines up a pistol shot in No Time to Die
(Image credit: MGM)

Danny Boyle has opened up about the plans he had for James Bond before he left the making of No Time To Die. 

In February of 2018, Boyle signed up to direct what was then the untitled 25th James Bond movie but left in August of that year after a dispute over the film's script. He was replaced by True Detective creator Cary Joji Fukunaga in the director's chair on what became No Time To Die. 

In the weeks that followed Boyle's departure from the film, a number of rumors circulated about the reasons why. Some suggested that Boyle had insisted that Cold War star Tomasz Kot play the villain, something 007 producers Eon were blocking. While Boyle, when asked about it, put his departure down to disputes over the film's script and did not go into detail.

Now, speaking to Esquire ahead of the debut of Pistol, his new lavish Hulu/Disney Plus TV show about the rise and fall of legendary punk rockers The Sex Pistols, Boyle has revealed that his plot for 007 would have seen the secret agent head to Russia.

Russia? Really?

Indeed. Boyle has now revealed he ummed and ahhed about taking the gig to begin with, but that he was planning to take James Bond "...back to his origins". He went on to say that he and screenwriter John Hodge, who he has worked with Boyle on six of his 13 feature films, had planned a very different take on 007, something that ultimately frightened producers. 

Boyle said: "I remember thinking, ‘Should I really get involved in franchises?’ Because they don’t really want something different. They want you to freshen it up a bit, but not really challenge it, and we wanted to do something different with it. Weirdly — it would have been very topical now — it was all set in Russia, which is of course where Bond came from, out of the Cold War. It was set in present-day Russia and went back to his origins, and they just lost, what’s the word... they just lost confidence in it.”

He did reveal that one key plot point from Hodge's script did survive...

Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time to Die

(Image credit: Universal Pictures/MGM)

A lasting reminder...

Be warned, there are some spoilers now for No Time To Die if you haven't seen it already.

Another rumor that circulated after Boyle's departure from the film was the idea that the director had wanted to end the film by killing James Bond, something the producers would not countenance. However, as anyone who has seen No Time To Die will attest, that very thing happens. 

Boyle added that the idea of Bond having a child, as he does in No Time To Die in the shape of daughter Mathilde - a product of his relationship with Léa Seydoux's Dr. Madeleine Swann - came from Hodge.

He said: “The idea that they used in a different way was the one of [James Bond’s] child, which [Hodge] introduced [and which] was wonderful." 

What's next for Danny Boyle?

Johnny Rotten and company stand looking at someone off camera in FX miniseries Pistol

(Image credit: FX/Disney Plus)

Pistol. The drama follows the ups and downs of legendary punk rockers The Sex Pistols and will premiere exclusively on Hulu in the US and on Disney Plus in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore on May 31. 

Based on Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol, the memoir from one-time Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, the show has been written by Craig Pearce, who has co-written three films with Baz Luhrmann. Game Of Thrones' Maisie Williams, Westworld's Talulah Riley, and The Maze Runner's Thomas Brodie-Sangster are among the cast. Boyle directed all six episodes of the limited series. 

If you fancy catching up on No Time To Die, it and the entire 007 catalog are now on Prime Video, though only in the UK. 

Tom Goodwyn
Freelance Entertainment Writer

Tom Goodwyn was formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He's now a freelancer writing about TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in East London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two small children…