Sam Mendes 'won't direct' next Bond

Sam Mendes Skyfall director Sam Mendes has not ruled out returning to the Bond franchise

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Sam Mendes, director of the latest Bond film Skyfall, has revealed that he will not direct the next in the series.

He told Empire Magazine it was a "very difficult decision".

The director, who is currently working on a stage production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, says his current work needs his "complete focus over the next year and beyond".

But he added he had not ruled out the possibility of returning to the 007 franchise in the future.

"I feel very honoured to have been part of the Bond family", said Mendes, "and very much hope I have a chance to work with them again."

The Oscar-winning director picked up the outstanding British film award, for Bond's 23rd outing, alongside producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli at this year's Baftas.

"It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara's very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie," explained Mendes.

"Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life."

There had been doubts about whether the director would make a second Bond film after he described Skyfall as "completely exhausting".

"I felt like everything I wanted to do with a Bond movie, I put into this film," he was quoted as saying last year.

Wilson and Broccoli said in a statement that they hope to work with the director again in the future, adding they "completely respect his decision to focus on other projects".

Screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who have worked on five instalments of the series, have also revealed they are quitting the franchise.

Speaking during an appearance at the fourth Doha Tribeca Film Festival in November 2012, Wade said that screenwriter John Logan had been working with Mendes on a follow-up to Skyfall.

Speaking to the BBC News website this week, Logan said the script was "coming together very well" but would not be drawn into revealing any details.

Skyfall became the highest-grossing movie in UK box office history in December. To date, the film has earned £102.8m in the UK and Ireland.

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