'American Beauty' Director Sam Mendes May Step Up To Helm 'Bond 23'

Sam Mendes is a big talent. James Bond is a big franchise. Put the two together... crap, I don't know what to think. How about "SWEET!"?

The news, coming to us by way of The Hollywood Reporter's Heat Vision Blog, is that the Oscar-winning director of "American Beauty" may next turn his attention to the smooth-talking, lady-seducing, martini-drinking -- shaken, not stirred, 'natch -- MI6 agent with a license to kill. The article states that Mendes is "in negotiations" to helm "Bond 23." MTV reached out MGM for comment, but the official line is that they are not confirming anything at this time.

All that said, Mendes sure could bring something fresh to the Bond series. He's a filmmaker with an eye for visual spectacle, but not in the action-packed event blockbuster style that the franchise is known for. He has a special talent for painting moving portraits with his films; look at "American Beauty," "Road to Perdition," "Jarhead." They're filled with freeze frame moments, scenes that could easily be pulled out, framed and hung on a wall.

Mendes would also presumably have a great script to work with, given that series regulars Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are penning the story with help from "Frost/Nixon" writer Peter Morgan. It's a tantalizing combination, especially when you also factor in the great work that star Daniel Craig has done in his two previous Bond appearances.

The article also reports that Craig will return, and that the production is being fast-tracked. Shooting could get underway as early as June of this year, with a hoped-for 2011 release for the film. Here's hoping that this is all true and that Mendes gets the gig.

Are you a fan of the Bond series? Which movie is your favorite? What do you think of the Daniel Craig-starring efforts? What do you think Mendes could do with the franchise that hasn't been done before? Is he right for the job?