‘It’d be very topical now’ – Danny Boyle reveals his version of ‘No Time to Die’

And the 'Trainspotting' director reveals his picks for the next 007

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen
Global film editor
Danny Boyle
Image: Rob Greig

Warning: contains mild No Time to Die spoilers

Danny Boyle is back. The filmmaker, adopted Londoner and major Sex Pistols fan has a new show about, well, the Sex Pistols to plug – it’s on Disney+ later this month – and he’s been sharing a few morsels about past projects in interviews for it.

One of the most intriguing ones is James Bond-related. It seems like a very long time ago that Boyle was due to direct Bond 25, before abruptly exiting the project in late 2018 over creative differences. It turns out those creative differences were pretty significant ones, because Boyle’s version of the story – co-written with his Trainspotting scribe John Hodge – would have been located in Russia.

‘We wanted to do something different with it,’ Boyle tells Esquire. ‘Weirdly – it would have been very topical now – it was all set in Russia, which is of course where Bond came from, out of the Cold War. It was set in present-day Russia and went back to his origins, and they just lost confidence in it.’ 

He explains how he’d had misgiving about the gig. ‘I remember thinking, “Should I really get involved in franchises?” Because they don’t really want something different. They want you to freshen it up a bit, but not really challenge it. It was a shame, really.’

There was one pivotal idea from the Hodge-penned version that did make the final No Time to Die script. ‘The idea that they used in a different way was the one of [James Bond’s] child,’ says Boyle, ‘which [Hodge] introduced [and which] was wonderful.’

Everyone has a view on who should replace Daniel Craig as 007, and Boyle is now different. His picks are I May Destroy You’s Paapa Essiedu and Robert Pattinson. He’d be ‘a great Bond’, enthuses Boyle. And we’re 100 percent down with either of those two.

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