Saturday, August 1, 2015

Director Sam Mendes Celebrates 50 Years! ….Day 213 of Bond 365

I’m back after a respite from writing, due in part to my freelance writing assignments for San Diego International Comic Con and Anime Expo, which took place in a two-week period in early July. So, let’s get back into the swing of Bond 365 with a birthday celebration for director Sam Mendes who turned 50!

Sam Mendes (Google Images)
Sam Mendes
Born this day in 1965
Director of Skyfall and Spectre

Like many Americans, I was first introduced to Sam Mendes’ direction of American Beauty (1999) that starred Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening and written by Alan Ball (Six Feet Under, True Blood). I remember how powerful a film it was; a statement about the disintegration of the middle class family. Spacey was on fire from his chameleon like performances and as a result, won an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for American Beauty. To this day, when I see a plastic bag floating on a gust of air, I am immediately transported back to this film and not in a bad way.

Since Mendes’ directorial debut with Cabaret (1993), a television movie based on the original film starring Liza Minnelli and Michael York in 1972 (directed by Bob Fosse), he has completed nine films, which I found surprising given his talent for direction. Yet, in a handful of films, Mendes has worked on some impressive projects: American Beauty, Road to Perdition (2002) and Jarhead (2005) for instance. Given that he has worked on films that were character-driven, it’s rather interesting that Mendes’ was selected to direct a Bond film, Skyfall (2012). It was smart choice that resulted in 96 film award nominations and 70 wins. In comparison, Casino Royale (2006) garnered 34 nominations and 26 wins and Quantum of Solace (2008) garnered 27 nominations and 4 wins.

I am anxious to see what Mendes does with Bond in Spectre. Since we have gotten a teaser that we’ll be glimpsing into Bond’s early years, Mendes should have quite a bit of material to work with to flesh out the characters; an aspect of the Bond films that we don’t usually see or expect.

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