Search underway for director of Bond 24; Eon “hopes to collaborate with Sam again”.

Sam Mendes won’t be directing Bond 24, the director has confirmed.

In an interview with Empire, Mendes said: “It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie.

“Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond.”

Producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli added: “We thoroughly enjoyed working with Sam, he directed our most successful Bond movie ever, Skyfall. 

“We would have loved to have made the next film with him but completely respect his decision to focus on other projects and hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with him again.”

The latest Bond instalment, Skyfall, was the most successful film ever at the UK box office raking in more than $150m and $1.1bn worldwide.