'James Bond' Gets Shaken, Stirred Yet Again — Marc Forster Set To Direct Next Flick

Man behind 'Finding Neverland,' 'Monster's Ball' will begin shooting yet-untitled movie with Daniel Craig in December.

For years, loyal James Bond fans have moaned while journeymen like Roger Spottiswoode and Lee Tamahori were handed the director's keys to the franchise over names like Quentin Tarantino. Now, in the era of Daniel Craig, the times are definitely changing.

Golden Globe-nominated director Marc Forster has been chosen to helm the next chapter in the 007 series, the yet-untitled 22nd film to feature the character and the second to star Craig (see "British Actor Daniel Craig Steps Into James Bond's Tux"). Forster, the respected visionary behind films known for strong acting performances ("Monster's Ball," "Finding Neverland") and trippy visuals ("Stranger Than Fiction," "Stay"), was reportedly in stiff competition among several top Hollywood talents for the gig.

The new Bond adventure will begin filming at Buckinghamshire, England's Pinewood Studios in December. Columbia Pictures has plans to release the flick worldwide on November 7, 2008.

"I have always been drawn to different kinds of stories and I have also always been a Bond fan," Forster said of his new appointment in a statement announcing his participation in the series. "It is very exciting to take on this challenge. The new direction that the Bond character has taken offers a director a host of new possibilities."

Stepping in after Martin Campbell's hugely successful "Casino Royale" (see " 'Happy Feet' Takes Out James Bond In Box-Office Close Call"), Forster inherits a leaner, meaner Bond. His selection, reported on Tuesday (June 19) by Variety, would seem to indicate that series producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are loosening up slightly when it comes to reinterpretations of their golden goose.

Regarding their decision, Wilson and Broccoli said in a statement: "We are delighted that Marc Forster, with his exceptional talent and unique vision, has agreed to direct our next James Bond film.

"We had a great experience working with Marc on 'Stranger than Fiction,' and we are excited to be working with him again," Sony Co-Chairman Amy Pascal said in a statement. "He's an actor's director; he approaches material with intelligence and taste. What makes him the perfect choice for 'Bond 22' is that he will bring to this film all the elements Bond audiences expect — action, humor, suspense and thrills."

The next Bond film will serve as the first franchise flick for the 38-year-old Forster, although he was once reportedly offered the reins of the Harry Potter franchise before ultimately passing on 2004's "Prisoner of Azkaban." Born in Germany and raised in Switzerland, Forster studied film at New York University in the 1990s. In 2005, he received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Director for "Neverland," which starred Johnny Depp as "Peter Pan" creator J.M. Barrie (see "Jamie Foxx Nabs Three Golden Globe Acting Noms; 'Sideways' Leads Pack").

Forster will soon begin working with "Royale" screenwriter Paul Haggis on a new draft of the screenplay by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. In the meantime, his film version of the best-selling novel "The Kite Runner" remains on track to fly into theaters November 2.

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[This story was originally published at 3:32 p.m. ET on 06.19.2007]