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Skyfall Director Sam Mendes Turns Down Bond
Sam Mendes has turned down the chance to make the next James Bond film to get back to his theatrical roots.
The 47-year-old, who won the best director Oscar for his first feature film, American Beauty, said he wanted to turn his back on Bond so he could concentrate on the theatre.
Mendes, who was praised for his work on Skyfall with Daniel Craig as 007, said it had been "a very difficult decision" to turn down the offer of directing the next film in the franchise.
He told Empire Magazine: "Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life.
"But I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond."
King Lear will see Mendes work at the National Theatre, while his stage musical version of the Roald Dahl story sees him return to the West End.
Skyfall was a critical and commercial success, picking up five Oscar nominations and winning two, including one for Adele for original song.
Cambridge graduate Mendes began his career with the Chichester Festival Theatre, later winning a Critics Circle Award for best newcomer for The Cherry Orchard which starred Judi Dench, also a Bond star.
He then joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and, in 1992, he became artistic director of the reopened Donmar Warehouse in London.
The 1999 film American Beauty won five Academy Awards including best picture as well as Mendes' directing award.
Also a successful producer, Reading-born Mendes, was married for seven years to actress Kate Winslet, who was also born in the Berkshire town. They have one son together.
The Bond producers announced last year that Daniel Craig would play the suave spy in two more films, making five in total.