Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Mendes says no to the National

Sam Mendes has ruled himself out of the running to take over the National Theatre

Skyfall director Sam Mendes has ruled himself out of the running to take over the National Theatre, saying the job would get in the way of his film career.

Mendes, who won an Oscar for directing American Beauty, was one of the most high-profile names tipped to replace theatre chief Sir Nicholas Hytner who steps down in 2015. His time in charge of the theatre in Southbank has seen it stage money-spinning hits The History Boys, War Horse and One Man, Two Guv'nors.

Mendes told The Stage magazine that the job demands somebody who "is fully dedicated to it".

"It's the most amazing job. But it's a simple thing for me and if I run the National Theatre, I can't direct movies. It's no more complicated that that. I love directing movies as well as plays," said Mendes who has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and also did a stint as artistic director at Donmar Warehouse.

His stage version of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is previewing in the west end and he is returning to the National Theatre in autumn to direct Simon Russell Beale in the title role of King Lear.

It was reported last month that Mendes could be heading back to Bond despite saying he would not sign up to make the next film after his success with Skyfall.

He turned down the chance to make the next installment in 007's adventures to concentrate on his theatre work but is now believed to back in discussions with producers.

A plan to delay work on the next Bond film so Mendes can see his theatre productions through before starting work is now being discussed, sources close to the star said.

Skyfall was a critical and commercial success, picking up five Oscar nominations and winning two including one for Adele for original song.

Bond producer Barbara Broccoli has said she is determined to tempt Mendes back.

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